Second verse, same as the first--starting pitcher goes seven strong, offense looks offensive. At least the Cubs put one run on the board in the ninth to avoid being shutout in back-to-back games for the first time since September, 2004.
Unfortunately, Chris Carpenter looked very strong in his return. He had good speed on his fastball, and had good location through the five innings he pitched. Unlike Tuesday, the Cardinals needed five pitchers instead of one to hold the Cubs in check (though Carpenter only had 67 pitches through five; the only reason he left is because it was his first start since coming off the DL). And though the Cubs broke through with the one run against Ryan Franklin, they couldn't avoid losing their third in a row to fall into third place, three games back of the Brewers (who finally lost).
- Carlos Marmol threw a perfect inning.
- Micah Hoffpauir continues to impress--he had a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth, raising his average to .314.
Sean Marshall will take on Adam Wainwright tonight, and hopefully the Cubs can give themselves a chance to have a winning road trip by salvaging the final game before heading to San Diego. Speaking of the Padres, did you hear that Peavy may not be on the team by the time we face them?
Jake Peavy--who has a full no-trade clause--has apparently delayed a decision regarding his potential trade to the White Sox. Barry Rozner has the scoop. Peavy will pitch against the Cubs Friday.
Tuesday: Cardinals 3, Cubs 0
Well, momma said there'll be days like this. After a loss like the Cubs suffered Tuesday, you just have to tip your cap and move forward.
The Cubs had singles in the first and second innings, and both of those baserunners were eliminated (one on a pickoff, one on a double play). Fontenot doubled in the fifth, and that was all she wrote for the Cubs offense. Joel Pineiro faced just one more than the minimum and needed only 92 pitches to dust the Cubs 3-0. If you looked away for a minute to check out the score of the Blackhawks game, you probably missed the entire Cubs game, which took just 2 hours, 5 minutes to complete; that's the fastest game in the majors so far this season.
The Cubs are now 0-13 when scoring fewer than four runs, though Ted Lilly did his best to keep the Cubs in it. He took the loss despite pitching seven innings and allowing three runs on just four hits.
Milwaukee beat Houston for their seventh straight victory, pushing the Cubs three games out. Interestingly, the NL Central has five teams with a positive run differential (meaning they've scored more runs than they've allowed this season); no other division has more than three.
Minor (league) matters
-Jake Fox leads the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.431), home runs (17), RBI (50), runs (39), total bases (124), on-base percentage (.513), slugging percentage (.954) and OPS (1.467). There's at least one person who thinks the Cubs should call him up (the reason they haven't is because he apparently plays defense like a rock. I don't mean he's solid like a rock, I mean he plays defense like he's an actual rock.)
-Jeff Samardzija is slowly getting stretched out again. He's made three starts since going back to the minors, pitching three, four and five innings, respectively. He allowed two, two and one run in those starts, and struck out one, three and then six. In 24 total innings at Triple-A, Samardzija has struck out 21 and walked just six; his ERA is 3.75. Control was his biggest problem with the big club, but he's walked just two in 12 innings since going back down.
-Josh Vitters, the third overall pick in 2007, has homered in four straight games for Single-A Peoria and has five consecutive three-hit games. His .371 overall average is second in the Midwest League.
-Victor Martinez of the Indians now leads the majors in batting. He's hitting a cool .400.
-Chris Davis of the Rangers has already struck out 56 times (and walked just eight). If he keeps up this pace, he'll strike out 254 times and shatter Mark Reynolds's record of 204, set last year.
Quote of the Day
Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy, after Orlando beat Cleveland in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals despite allowing LeBron to rack up 49 points:
“LeBron just made it so difficult. The one thing I don’t leave this game with is any idea whatsoever what to do with him. As a coach you’re supposed to have some idea — I don’t have a clue. I don’t. When we double-teamed him, he made the right play every time and they made shots. When we didn’t double-team him, he made every jumpshot he took, it seemed like. He gets the ball to the basket and draws fouls. You would like to come out of Game 1 and say ‘at least we found a game plan we think will work’ I can’t say I’ve done that. He’s unbelievable and he was incredible tonight.”