Northside For Life

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

D-Lee to the rescue....again

The Cubs played their typical game last night in Pittsburgh: Good pitching performance from Mark Prior and batters consistently getting on base only to be stranded there because nobody could drive them in. Going into the 9th inning, the Cubs were down 3-2 and had to face Jose Mesa who had converted his last 23 save opportunities. It looked like yet another excruciating Cub loss until Jerry Hairston turned on Mesa's first pitch fastball and drove it into left for a double. Then came D-Lee. He already had driven in the Cubs two runs for the night. The next thing he drove was a Mesa pitch out of the ballpark. 4-3 Cubs as Lee comes through again in the clutch.

Hairston and Lee celebrate after Lee's 9th inning homer.

Where would this team be without this guy? Seriously?

Ryan Dempster came in and closed out the Pirates with an easy 1-2-3 inning. When was the last time that happened?

It was a good win, and possibly a turning point game. This could easily give the Cubs some positive momentum going into this weekend's series against the Sox and beyond.

But why am I so concerned with this team still? Lee is going above and beyond what anyone expected him to do. Without question he has carried this team so far this year. He's been the only one that consistently steps up in the clutch. Aramis (a.k.a The Musketeer) got the big contract at the begining of the season and has subsequently disappeared. He hasn't gotten into the groove with the bat and he's had to deal with some nagging injuries (groin and hamstrings). Corey has been Corey, great one night, abysmal the next three, Burnitz has done about as well as was expected-if anything he's been a pleasant surprise so far this year. And that's about it.

This team has some real problems driving in runs, worse than last year. For instance, last night before the 9th inning, the top four batters in the order had reached base 8 times. only 2 scored. Come on. That's why you have Prior telling the media he feels as if he has to pitch a perfect game because the run support isn't there. The same goes for all the starters on the staff. Sure they'll go out there and pitch great most of the time, but now they have the added pressure of having to pitch a shutout or near a shutout everytime because the bats won't be there to back them up. It sucks. Last night Lee put the team on his back and did everything, but you can't possibly expect him to do it all year. Someone else has to step up. Someone else is going to have to bring all those runners home. Hopefully this is just a funk that the team will get out of.

Unfortunately as I write this, the Cubs are down 2-0 in the 7th to Kip Wells and the Pirates. Kip Wells!



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