Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Monday, April 05, 2004
One Down, One Hundred Sixty-One To Go
So much for the "new and improved" Kerry Wood. It was a prototypical "Bad Kerry" Sundae, with 5 innings of 95 pitch flavored ice cream, 4 earned runs of hot fudge, and a wild pitch third strike for a cherry on top. In past years, the rest of the team would dig into this culinary abomination with the zest of Cartman's fat farm flunkies, gorging themselves into sedentary oblivion while their opponents ran unmolested around the bases.
That was then, but this time around, the Cubs sent the sundae back and got a nice lean bullpen steak with a side of run support, overcoming Wood's subpar outing to beat the Reds 7-4. Here are some things I noticed or enjoyed in handy bullet point format:
Corey Patterson shows power and patience...in the same game! I've said it before, and I will say it over and over until even I want me to shut up: Patterson is the key to this offense. Obviously, everyone else - particularly Sosa, Alou, Ramirez, and Lee - have to contribute, but those guys are relatively known quantities. We've yet to see what Corey will do over a full season, and if he can put it all together, he has the talent to lift the offense to a higher level. The question, of course, is whether he has the skills. So on a day like today when he puts it all together, you'll forgive me if my enthusiasm is unseemly.
I know it's early and Wood was supposed to be on a pitch count, but the fact that Dusty went to the bullpen after five innings and got four solid performances is very encouraging. Here's to hoping the positive reinforcement will last all season.
I didn't get to witness all of his at bats (stupid work!), but in the two I did see, Derrek Lee looked completely out of sorts today. I don't see reason for concern, just a man who wants very much to impress his new employers.
Do you remember I Dream of Jeannie? Every week there would be a problem, and Barbara Eden would want to help Larry Hagman solve it. Except, she would try so hard to make it better that she'd actually make things worse. Then Larry Hagman would yell at her, and she would cry and beg forgiveness, but Hagman would be stern and tell her to get back in her bottle, which I never thought was very nice, I mean, after all, she was only trying to help. But then she'd figure out a way to help anyway, everything would work out, and they'd do whatever it is they did when they weren't on camera (I'll let you handle your own image).
Well, after three lousy at bats, including two strikeouts, Lee got a walk in the eighth to keep the inning alive, and scored one of two insurance runs. He was lousy at the plate for nearly the entire game, but in the end, despite it all, he found a way to help. Just like Jeannie.
I'll take a win any way I can get it, even if there's a little luck involved (by the way, thanks Adam Dunn!). However, what really interests me is a good ol' fashioned country butt kicking. Come Wednesday, I'm done with luck. I want to see the Cubs wield their whoopin' sticks.