10/15/2003 7:19 PM ET
Matchup: Cubs vs. Redman
CHICAGO -- It started out so well for the Cubs. They did exactly what they had to do against Mark Redman. They made him come in the zone, and when he did, they made him pay.
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
But Redman was gone after three innings, and Chicago's hitters couldn't keep it up against Josh Beckett.
Redman, a soft-tossing lefty, has been compared to Tom Glavine. It's a bit of a stretch to put him in the same class as the Mets' potential Hall of Famer, but the strategy is the same. He works the corners and lives on making hitters swing at pitches on the black or off the plate. If you swing at his pitches, you're not going to get a lot of hard hits. If you make him come over the plate, you have a good chance to pummel his relatively pedestrian stuff.
That made the Cubs a strange matchup for him. On one hand, they hit lefties. Hard. The power bats in the middle of Chicago's lineup -- Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez -- all bat right-handed, and part-time first baseman Eric Karros kills southpaws too.
But if there's one main weakness for the Cubs offensively, it's overaggressiveness. This is a team that likes to swing the bat. Loves to swing the bat, make that. The Cubs don't work counts well. Nibbling pitchers have a tendency to eat them alive.
But Redman just didn't have it on Wednesday. He needed 69 pitches to get through three innings, and he was tagged for five runs on five hits. Even Kerry Wood took him deep.
It's a testament to a typically free-swinging Cubs team that they hit so well against Redman, though it's also an indictment of a pitcher who had a bad night.
They needed to do the same against Beckett, however. And they didn't. Pitching on two days' rest after pitching a shutout in Game 5, Beckett roared through four innings on 45 pitches. If the Cubs had made him work -- even just fouling off some balls, never mind laying off some pitches -- maybe he would have been out earlier.
And maybe they would have had a better shot at that elusive trip to the World Series.
"The innings were pretty quick for him," Mike Lowell said of Beckett. "I think he had a couple 10-pitch innings. I know that fourth inning was a grind, but he was still pumping hard. He was 96, 97."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.