Filed:April 28th, 2009
The Cubs are slowly getting back to health, and to basics, for that matter.
Much of their promise was on display Tuesday, as they battered the Diamondbacks 11-3 at Chase Field.
You have to enjoy games like these, as they have a little something for everyone.
Start with a Milton Bradley sighting.
Bradley, in the lineup for the first time in a week, went 2-4, and didn't look too bad doing it; at least at the plate. I thought his eye and timing looked good, but he seemed to be in absolute slow-motion while cruising the outfield and running the basessmooth, but it looked obvious that he wasn't going to strain himself to make plays.
At this point, that's fine with me if it helps him stay in the lineup. It will be really interesting though to see whether he sits or plays in the afternoon rubber match Wednesday. That will probably tell you more about his current health than anything.
And if you're on the health watch, both Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee sat, with Lee expected to be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday. Ramirez has reportedly had trouble running, and as I've suggested here already, I wouldn't hold my breath on seeing him on the field sooner than the tail-end of the next homestand.
But hey, back to the game, where the Cubs turned this into a laugher. This game actually had the makings of a pitcher's duel for the first few innings, with starters Carlos Zambrano and Yusmeiro Petit cruising along into the third.
Zambrano would continue with the solid performance, going seven innings in the win, and actually finishing shy a triple fof the cycle at the plate. He'd turn the game over to Angel Guzman from there, who worked the last two innings of scoreless relief.
Petit wasn't going to get that lucky.
He was flinging a very sub-par fastball, and when the Cubs saw enough in his first pass through the lineup, they just starting going down and getting those low fastballs that he was getting strikes on.
First, Alfonso Soriano whacked a three-run blast in the third, to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Then things really got good, when the Cubs would bat around in a four-run fourth, highlighted by a Mike Fontenot homer with Milton Bradley on.
Petit was run in favor of Jon Rauch, who has completely fell off a cliff since leaving the Nationals last year. I couldn't even recognize him, given the way his fastball has left him. The Cubs didn't care though, squeezing an extra four runs out of he and his bullpen mate Esmerling Vasquez.
Well, the Cubs will conclude this series and road trip Wednesday with a rubber match, and then back to Chicago for a six-game set.
Slowly but surely, the Cubs are working themselves into shape for the 2009 season. And if we're lucky, we may even see the team as constructed by the conclusion of the Marlins series.
Even that Milton person.