But first, I have to nitpick...
The handshake line was a little sloppy and out of sync. Need to work on that after all three games in the Cubs series.
Pretty basic formula: Great starting pitcher + Timely hitting.
We can back away from the ledge here. While Ubaldo wasn't exactly dominant or as efficient as you'd hope today, I think we would have had to be satisfied with any marginal improvement over the last start in Philadelphia.
This was more than marginal.
He stayed in control of himself. He didn't rattle. His mechanics were solid. Stamina was good. This was a very good first step back to the Ubaldo form we saw the first 2 1/2 months of the season.
He'll get yet another crack at the Giants in his next outing. In two previous outings this season, he's had a complete game shutout and a complete meltdown. I'm betting this one rests somewhere in between, but hopefully closer to the shutout.
All it takes is a couple well-timed basehits to give a scuffling offense a little of confidence.
It's not like the scoring chances haven't been coming, they just haven't been accompanied by those timely, confidence building hits. When you don't get those timely hits, you need a lot of home runs (or lucky breaks) to score your runs. Those haven't been coming either.
So those timely hits are essential in being successful. That's why they're called timely hits.
Dexter Fowler had the biggest one.
His bases loaded, 2-out, 2-run double in the second inning got that proverbial monkey off the offense's back. You could just feel the sigh of relief and the building of confidence all at once. Fowler had 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI in the game. His best in a long, long time.
Clint Barmes rode the wave started by Fowler, following immediately with a 2-run single. I know I joked about Clint Barmes hitting second today in the pregame. Credit where it's due, the move worked. Barmes had his best offensive day (2 hits, 3 RBI) in quite some time.
Later in the game, Miguel Olivo also had a 2-out, run scoring single that extended the lead to 6-1. Like Fowler and Barmes, Olivo is another guy that has been struggling of late, so I'm hopeful this is something he can build on as well.
Oh, and I couldn't conclude without mentioning CarGo's home run to left center. Absolutely gorgeous swing. When he's focused on driving the ball to the opposite field, he's deadly. The Rockies will need a deadly Carlos Gonzalez to have any prayer of making any type of run.
Cubs are in town. It's the battle of the Canadians! Ryan Dempster vs Jeff Francis.