Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cubs get slammed

Holy cow.

Back in the '90s, that phrase was uttered (get it? cuz cows have utters) by Harry Caray on the heels of something positive, with an exclamation point after it. But I use it today to express my dejection over yet another lackluster performance by the Cubs.

Where to begin? The Cubs lost 8-2 Saturday, with one of their runs resulting from an error on an easy grounder.

The three "power guys" in the lineup--Soriano, Lee and Soto--were a combined 0-10 with four strikeouts. The Cubs have not hit a home run since Tuesday.

Seldom used David Patton showed why he's seldom used, coming on in a 3-1 game and proceeding to give up a single, a walk, and another walk to load the bases for Albert Pujols. He then threw a giant meatball right over the plate on the first pitch, and Pujols launched a grand slam out to left to put the game out of reach. The cameras didn't show it, but I assume Patton took a tape recorder out of his back pocket and said, "Note to self: Don't walk the bases loaded to get to Albert Pujols." The grand slam gave Pujols over 1,000 RBI in his career.

I'm not out on the ledge or anything, but it's worth noting that this four-game losing streak has pushed the Cubs four games back of the Cardinals and into fourth place in the Central.

With Ramirez, Bradley and Marmol sidelined, Lou Piniella is essentially operating with a 22-man roster. Even when Bradley does step into pinch-hit (as he did Friday), he has to be replaced with a pinch-runner when he reaches base (as was the case Friday). Why on Earth did we not DL Bradley earlier? He has started once since incurring his injury April 12, and there seems to be no timetable whatsoever for his return.

Joey Gathright, who seems to have one role on this team--pinch-hit rarely and pinch-run slightly less rarely--got picked off Saturday. While it's still early, Gathright seems to be a completely pointless offseason addition.

There's no question that the Cubs' recent struggles can be partly blamed on injuries. But it's also clear that this roster has some serious question marks. Bradley seems destined to spend significant time out with injury, and that leaves us with the apparently useless Gathright and Micah Hoffpauir--who may as well not bring his glove with him to the outfield--as backups. When Ramirez gets hurt, we're forced to use either Miles or Fontenot at third, and while they're serviceable at that position, the infield defense becomes highly suspect in that scenario.

Al Yellon over at Bleed Cubbie Blue made a very interesting suggestion today: release Gathright and pick up Jim Edmonds. Despite his 19 HR and 45 RBI in 85 games with the Cubs last year, Edmonds was not picked up by anyone in the offseason. Granted, Edmonds will turn 39 this year, but if Gathright is really going to be limited (due to Piniella's preference of Gathright's own ineptitude) to such trivial duty with the Cubs, picking up Edmonds couldn't hurt.

Let's find a silver lining in this mess:

Fukudome had two more hits and is batting .345.

Sean Marshall pitched a real solid game. He had one bad inning in which he gave up three runs, but he had a quality start with six innings pitched, three runs, one walk and five strikeouts.

The Cajun Connection reconnected with a combined 4-8, and both Cubs runs were driven in by Theriot.

So, we move forward. Harden will take the ball Sunday against former Cub Todd Wellemeyer, who has had one good start sandwiched between two bad ones this season. The Cubs need a win to avoid falling under .500 for the first time.

MLB notes
We can all agree that sometimes the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is overhyped and that their games are overly ubiquitous on national broadcasts. However, you have to admit that the matchups live up to the hype more often than not.

Friday, the Yankees took a two-run lead into the bottom of the 9th at Fenway, but Mariano Rivera blew yet another save against the Sox when Jason Bay hit a two-out home run over the Monster to tie it. Kevin Youkilis later won it for Bahstin with a solo shot in the 11th.

Saturday's game featured A.J. Burnett against Josh Beckett, but you wouldn't know it by the 16-11 final score in favor of the Red Sox. Stay with me here: the Yankees went up 6-0 early, but the Sox put up five in the 4th to climb to within one. The Sox added three more in the next inning to go up 8-6, but the Yankees responded by tying it up in the 6th. Boston promptly took the lead in the bottom of the inning, but the Yankees took the lead right back in the 7th, going up 10-9. But the Sox would have none of it--Mike Lowell hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to make it 12-10. Robinson Cano hit a home run in the 8th, but the Sox tacked on four more in the 8th to win it 16-11.

In case you weren't counting, that's five total lead changes. The game, which took 4 hr 21 min to complete, featured six home runs and 28 total hits. At least one run was scored in nine of the final eleven half innings. Already this season, the Yankees have allowed run totals of 10, 15, 16 and 22.

Did you know ...
The Red Sox have won nine straight.

The Cardinals and Dodgers are tied for the best record in baseball (13-5).

No comments:

Post a Comment