Friday, June 11, 2010
Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Cubs had their share of hits and scoring opportunities, but with runners in scoring position--what, you're stopping me? Well, I'm going to finish anyways. With runners in scoring position, the Cubs were 1-for-10. They had a RISP in the 8th, 9th and 10th innings, but couldn't get a run across.
About the nicest thing I can say about the Cubs' lack of clutch hitting is that it wasn't the main reason they lost. They committed three errors that resulted in three unearned runs, including the game-winner in the 10th. Tracy, Castro and Nady spread some good will with gift runs, and the pitchers were in the giving mood as well as they issued nine walks.
It was unfortunate that Nady sailed a throw over Koyie Hill's head in extras, as it was his bat that kept the Cubs in the game until that point. He smashed his fourth home run of the season and added a sac fly and a walk filling in for Derrek Lee.
Speaking of the recently recalled Tracy, I haven't had a chance on this blog to express how happy I am that Aramis Ramirez was finally disabled. Obviously I'd rather see him healthy and productive, but it's been clear for weeks that something is wrong with A-Ram. Tracy was tearing up Triple-A, and if he can be even moderately productive with the Cubs, the move will be a good one. Unfortunately, Tracy did his best Ramirez impression yesterday, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, a failed bunt attempt and the aforementioned error on a freakin' rundown which your average 10-year-old could successfully execute.
Ryan Dempster, going for his third win over the Brew Crew this season, followed in Zambrano's footsteps by issuing five walks. He failed to go six innings for the first time this season (he easily leads the Cubs staff in innings pitched and is third in the majors in that category), though he did still manage to exit with the lead. Gorzelanny and Stevens kept the walks coming, however, after a two-out error by Castro, and the Brewers tied the game at four just after the Cubs had taken the lead.
So the Cubs lost two of three for the fourth consecutive series as they head into what will be a big series for both the North and South siders emotionally if not in the standings. The struggling Randy Wells will start things off, but he'll be followed by Carlos Silva and Ted Lilly. There hasn't been much to cheer about lately, but a series win against the crosstown rivals would be a sight for sore eyes.
By the way, I hope it's not true, but Bleed Cubbie Blue has some disturbing information about the Cubs clubhouse. As you'll read if you click the link, a source says that the Cubs clubhouse is a "disaster," with the Latin players having "completely walled themselves off from everyone else." This would be terrible news if true, and it would certainly lead me to believe that Piniella needs to go. It's one thing to have a lack of chemistry, it's quite another to have bad blood coursing through the clubhouse. I hope it's nothing but false speculation, but I feel it worthy of re-posting here given that BCB's typically reliable managing editor Al Yellon writes that he has no doubt this information is 100 percent correct.
Note: Marlon Byrd has 16 hits in his last seven games and now has the highest average in the National League at .329.