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Dana DeMuth Didn't Squeeze Anyone During Game 1

Over at Bleed Cubbie Blue, there was an offhand comment about the strike zone during the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Nationals on Opening Day.

Kerry Wood didn't perform well in his first outing, so the natural reaction is to blame the umpires, because the Sainted No. 34 couldn't have just been bad.

Wood was bad today. He issued three walks, forcing in the tying run, before finally ending the inning on a groundout. It did appear that he had strike three on at least two of the hitters he walked; plate umpire Dana DeMuth was squeezing just about everyone this afternoon, and Wood couldn't adjust.

Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But before we all rush the field to tackle the umpires (Don't rush the field to tackle the umpires), maybe we should look at what the cameras that Major League Baseball installed to track pitching tell us.

The Zimmerman Effect: How Ryan Dempster Got Lucky

Kerry Wood's performance wasn't the only problem with Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals.

No, another problem lurked below the surface, one that you wouldn't necessarily notice because of the results.

That cryptic explanation points to Ryan Dempster's performance.

The veteran pitcher struck out 10 Nats on Thursday. He threw 108 pitches and his arm didn't fall off. He even retired 15 in a row at one point.

The ugly truth is that he got lucky, in ways that he wasn't so lucky last season.

Game 1: Failure To Prepare for Season Dooms Cubs

Friday morning you will probably read how not much has changed with the Cubs after a 2-1 opening day loss to the Washington Nationals.

Surprise, surprise. It takes longer than a few months to turn around the franchise that had sunk to lows that even the die-hard fans couldn't believe over the last couple of seasons. Yes, the Cubs have been bad before, but this sustained period of bad baseball -- not just losing, but playing dumb baseball -- is not normal, not even on the North side of Chicago.

You will read about more bullpen collapses. You just won't read about the reasons for bullpen collapses.

I am not even talking about Carlos Marmol. Marmol is his own issue. His trade value, because the team fails to work on the issues with his delivery and pitch selection, declines day by day.

This is about Kerry Wood. Wood was held back during spring training, with the idea that he would be needed later in the season. That made March less important.

But why was later in the season important to this Cubs team? Why this year? What did they they think were saving Wood for?

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