Every once in awhile, I get to be truly impressed, and well, even surprised.
That might be how I'd best describe my impression of the performance of Tom Gorzelanny on Tuesday, as the Cubs used a solid performance by him to beat the Reds 6-3 at Great American Ballpark. Seven plus innings of one-run ball, to be exact.
I figured when the Cubs picked him that he'd be someone useful; no issues there. But after seeing Gorzelanny three times in person this season alone, I didn't think there was much to see right now.
He needed work as recently as a few weeks ago, and I suspected that AAA for another month was about the best way to go.
Maybe Larry Rothschild really was able to fix him. Keeping the fastball down was a big help, to be sure. However, he used the breaking ball early and often to get hitters out, throwing the changeup even on the rare occasions when he was behind in the count.
Tom would fan six, and more important, produce a ton of weak ground balls, which are very reflective of a lefty sinker pitcher going right.
The Cubs gave him plenty of support though; with a Kosuke Fukudome solo homer in the first, then batting around the lineup in the sixth inning to break the game open. They'd pick up four runs off of Reds starter Johnny Cueto, highlighted by a Koyie Hill two-run double that just missed clearing the fence.
Derrek Lee would add to it in the eighth with a solo shot of his own off Nick Masset.
This would have been an even greater story with a 6-1 win, but the bullpen proved to be problematic again late as Angel Guzman ran into plenty of trouble in the ninth.
He'd hit Jonny Gomes to start the inning, then serve up a Wladimir Balatien two-run homer to make things interesting. A Craig Tatum double would bring Carlos Marmol up in the pen, but for the second night in a row, it was Willy Taveras to the rescue, grounding out almost to the same spot as on Monday to again end the game.
Great job by Gorzelanny. And see—we've forgotten Kevin Hart already.