If you wish to commiserate with me, feel free to do so in the comments below.
Here's the breakdown:
1) Brandon Webb is the best pitcher in the NL. I didn't want to believe it, but it's true. We ran into a buzzsaw for 7 innings yesterday, and couldn't get any offensive momentum.
1b) This is not to say our lack of hitting is excusable. If we want to get anywhere in the playoffs, we need to be able to hit against good pitching. There are better pitchers in the junior circuit who we could end up facing if we get to the dance. (Hello, Josh Beckett? Can I tell you how sick I am of that guy?)
2) Zambrano pitched six brilliant innings of 1-run, 4-hit baseball. Seriously, only 1 walk and 8 strike-outs. He was a stud last night.
3) However, Lou's thinking long-term and decided to pull Z after 85 pitches, because he was expecting a Game 4 and wanted to put Z out there on short-rest. This is the much-debated moment of the game, at least on this morning's talk radio. I would posit that, had it worked out, Lou would have been hailed for his managerial genius and machismo. (Okay, maybe not machismo, but definitely the managerial thing.)
4) Carlos Marmol has been automatic all year long, with an absolutely sick 1.43 ERA during the season. There is no reason that Lou should have doubted Marmol last night. And had he pitched as well as he has been all season, it would also have been hailed as a great move.
5) I have to say it again. We needed clutch hitting and got none. The Riot was the most clutch player, and even then, not much.
5b) We will not win playoff games if we keep stranding baserunners.
So there it is. I knew there was a chance we could lose this one, and I don't feel too bad, considering how Webb threw. But there's no reason not to pick up at least the next two, and with authority. Arizona's rotation is pretty much one-deep, and we've got Lilly (the Stopper) up tonight. I'm hoping the bats wake up.
Side-note: I had to turn off the audio last night around the 7th inning. I'm used to hearing dismissive game commentary on non-WGN stations (ESPN, i'm looking at you), but the absolute sloppy lovefest the TBS announcers were giving the D-backs just about turned my stomach. At the same time, everything the Cubs did was second-guessed or dismissed (all the more reason I wish some hitting could have shut them up). I know it sounds simpering, but I really wish the Cubs could be taken seriously by SOMEONE in broadcasting not named Len and Bob.
Anyway, that's it. I'm not devastated, because I went in cautious. I do feel my ulcers starting to kick in, so a win tonight before the day off would be really helpful.
Go, Lou. I'm still behind ya. Go, Marmol. You'll be amazing next time, I promise.
Go Cubbies. Cut off the heads of the snakes. So to speak.