The two games played by the Cubs in Cincinnati have shown what most of all fans already know. Winning baseball is primarily controlled by the pitcher.
In game one, it didn't matter that Zambrano was the Cubs ace when he's not in command of his emotions. To get fired up for the season opener is fine, everyone likes to see that. To lose your cool is not good. Yes he was squeezed by Home Plate umpire Randy Marsh, but Marsh's strike zone wasn't any different for Aaron Heurang. Big Z's loss of control had more to do with his temper than his arm not being in the right slot.
The Cub hitters further compounded the teams demise by failing to understand that Marsh was calling a tight strike zone and not demonstrating the patience needed at the plate. When Heurang had near 90 pitches thrown thru 5 innings and is able to go through 7 innings, you know the Cub hitters were clueless.
In game two, we saw the #2 pitchers for both teams that had great control. This again is where we see the positive effects of a pitcher staying cool and keeping his emotions in check. I'm sure that every pitcher wants to perform well, and maybe we'd see a different outcome in game #2 if Randy Marsh was behind the plate for that game instead of the opener. Still when your Ace's emotions get in the way of him adjusting his game plan and the hitters being clueless as to the advantage they have with a guy like Marsh calling balls and strikes, you have a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully Uncle Lou seems to understand this an will not put up with it. Last night's game illustrated this in spades. First Murton wasn't in the lineup. Yes I know Arroyo is tough on righties but Murton's performance on Monday made Piniella's decision automatic. Secondly, when Dempster went into his Farnsworth impersonation, Piniella didn't send Rothschild out to the mound, Uncle Lou went out there himself. I sure the only word spoken by Piniella that wasn't X rated was the word ball.
Baseball is more than any other sport, a game played between your ears. Let's hope Sweet Lou, can get this point through these hard heads or we'll be in store for some fireworks.