Nyjer Morgan wonders what the hell is going on with the bullpen, too. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
W: Shaun Marcum (1-0)
L: Shawn Camp (0-1)
S: John Axford (1)
HR: Weeks (2), Barney (1), LaHair (1)
Of course, I wrote that before the ninth inning of doom, so maybe you'll be on board my "OHGODTHISBULLPEN" bandwagon after Manny Parra, Tim Dillard and John Axford all struggled to close out the game.
Well it looked like it might be a home run showdown early on, but the story of the night is probably Shaun Marcum.
The Brewers had a four-run lead in the ninth and had to use four relievers to finish out the game. Axford came in with one out and the tying run on deck as the came became a save situation. The first batter faced, Marlon Byrd, bounced one to Aramis Ramiez at third that could have led to a game-ending DP, but the ball ate up Ramirez and everyone was safe. The next batter blooped to right, making it 7-5. Axford then struck out David DeJesus but walked Darwin Barney, putting the winning run on first.
However, Axford made Starlin Castro look silly, striking him out on three pitches - one swinging strike and two looking.
Before the needless drama, though, Marcum pitched a great game. Pulled after six innings at 89 pitches, he allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six. I'm not sure Brewers fans can ask more out of Marcum, especially on a day when the wind was blowing out.
The more pessimistic of Brewer fans got nervous when noted home run giver-upper Marcum had one launched by Barney in just the Cubs second at-bat of the game. In the second, Bryan LaHair's home run left Wrigley Field all together and landed somewhere on Sheffield. But Marcum settled in and had a solid quality start.
Rickie Weeks answered with a laser home run that hugged right inside the left field foul pole that literally took just three seconds to leave the park.
Marcum further proved his usefulness by laying down a perfect bunt to bring Alex Gonzalez home on a suicide squeeze. But RRR wasn't done, as the team scored on a safety squeeze later in the game. Carlos Gomez laid down a perfect bunt and was only out at first because of brilliant play by LaHair. Apparently this was the first time since 1974 that the Brewers have had two successful (run-scoring) squeeze bunts in one game.
Morgan had a decent night at the plate, but lost a ball in the lights, giving (the incredibly slow) Geovany Soto a triple that led to a Cubs run and also got picked off during a double steal attempt.
Ryan Braun was, predictably booed, though not as loudly or near as long as I imagined he would be. Aramis Ramirez, didn't really receive any raspberries from the crowd. The crowd at Wrigley, however, was rather sparse tonight. I imagine the early start in April wasn't too appealing. Expect the booze-soaked bleacher masses to make it worse later in the season.
The quick hook Roenicke had for both Manny Parra and Tim Dillard is a new look from last season, but the use of so many arms in a game that didn't require it could take its toll on an already not-so-strong bullpen. Axford's velocity was up from the long outing yesterday, but still had trouble locating all his pitches.