Friday, May 21, 2010

Grabow, wasted opportunity in ninth do Cubs in

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum / May 20, 2010)

I'm not mad that the Cubs lost yesterday, but I'm definitely frustrated about the way they lost. One out of two in Philly ain't bad--heck, I'll usually settle for one out of three in Cheese Steak Land. But the Cubs could have had that one. They came back from three runs down only to see John Grabow fire up his Evil Machine of Suckiness, and then failed to score the tying run in the ninth despite putting runners at first and third with nobody out against 77-year-old (it's true, look it up ... never mind, don't look it up) Jose Contreras.

Castro had a solid day at the plate with two hits and an RBI, but he looked bad striking out on three pitches in the ninth. Aramis Ramirez worked a 3-2 count but then swung at a pitch that may have been in a different time zone, and then Soto fouled out to end the threat and the game. It was just the second save of Contreras' career.

But even though I don't want to, let's go back to Grabow. The game-winning hit was a single to right by Raul Ibanez, but the real problem was the two walks that came before it. Grabow's never been a control guy--he actually walked more men per nine innings last year than he has this year, if you can believe it. But he's also allowed 23 hits in 15.1 innings this season, resulting in an 8.44 ERA and a crazy-bad 2.08 WHIP. He has allowed at least one run in five of his eight appearances in May. (Side note: I don't blame Piniella for not going to Sean Marshall given that he pitched Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. He's been great, but we can't use him 90 times.) This is a tough situation--if Grabow can't pitch effectively, the Cubs are screwed anyways. But when we keep trotting him out there and runners keep trotting around the bases against him, it's not fun to watch.

Speaking of trotting around the bases, Dempster pitched decently but was hurt yet again by the long ball. Chase Utley hit one early and Jimmy Rollins's three-run blast, which came on a 3-0 pitch, was the eighth home run Demp has allowed this year. He allowed 22 last year and only 14 in 2008.

Two starts ago: Three-run shot by Joey Votto, Reds go up 5-3
Three starts ago: Two-run shot by Ryan Church, Pirates go up 2-1
Four starts ago: Home runs by Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn account for two of the Nationals' runs in a 3-2 Cubs loss

So, it's safe to say that it's becoming a trend. Dempster has pitched solidly this year, but he's now lost five straight starts. He's going to have to keep the ball in the park more often if he wants to get into the win column more often.

Fukudome and Lee had home runs of their own yesterday. Lee's was especially nice to see as it was his first since April 25. Pat Hughes told listeners they could "get out the tape measure" on Lee's blast, which was nice to hear given that the only distance Lee's been covering lately is that from home plate to the dugout.

The Cubs are still 3-1 on the week and split a road series with the best team in the National League. They'll have to shake off this tough loss as they prepare for an early interleague series in Texas. The Cubs last played in Arlington in 2007, losing two of three (hey, look who lost the last game of that series!).

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it was a frustrating loss, but wasn't it cool to see them come back from 4-1? The offense has had a pretty good week.

    I'm a fan of interleague play, but wish they wouldn't start this early.