D-Less and D-Flated….Early

Game Fifteen – Cubs 3 Cardinals 9

The Cubs got off to a rough start tonight in the new Busch Stadium. Do the Cubs feel like the fans….lost and unsure of what the future holds without Derrek Lee? I don’t think so; the Cubs did not get a quality start tonight from Jerome Williams….when your starter accounts for only 4 outs and lasts an inning and a third you are not going to win against the worst team in the league, let alone the Cardinals.

The game started with the Cubs going down 1-2-3, in about as many pitches. Eckstein grounded out to Cedeno to start the Cardinals half of the inning and Rodriguez singled to center with Albert Pujols on deck, I am sorry but this guy is hitting the ball as if he is in a Grant Park 16″ softball league. Pujols came to the plate and hit a rocket in the Cubs bullpen making the score 2-0. Rolen flied out to right and Edmonds flied out to center to end the inning. The way Mulder was pitching the game already looked out reach for our “new look” lineup.

In the top of second the only Cub to reach base was Michael Barrett…he reached on a double to deep center and was one the few bright spots on Friday night. Barrett was left stranded at second as Jacque Jones K’d and Murton grounded to short. Then the wheels came off and this game was, how do you say it, dunzo.

Juan Encarnacion singled to left, Yadier Molina singled to left and Aaron Miles walked to load the bases. The eight spot walked and then Williams walked Mulder to force home a run….Cardinals 3 Cubs 0, the bases were still loaded and nobody out. Eckstein singled to right and Molina scored….Miles to third, Mulder to second and Eck at first, bases still loaded and again…nobody out. John Rodriguez hit a sac fly to left, deep enough for Miles to tag and score easily. Another run in and with one out….the Dominican Robot came stomping to the plate.

Pujos doubled to left and both Mulder and Eckstein scored….and to make matters worse, Pujols advanced to third on the errant throw to the plate and the only thing that kept Pujols from scoring was that Williams was backing up Michael Barrett. He almost ran over A-Ram and received a scolding from the 3rd base umpire.

Williams did not have it at all on Friday night, he looked as bad as he did good last Saturday. Williams was leaving pitched out over the plate and the Cardinals were treating them like batting practice….when they were strikes. Williams had little if any control at all and at that point, Dusty thought it would be a good time to take out Williams, after he allowed 7 runs and managed to retire only four batters in 1 1/3 innings.

Dusty brought in Novoa to replace Williams and Novoa retired both Rolen and Edmonds….without allowing Pujols to score from 3rd. And after 2 innings….the Cards were up 7-0.

The Cubs got on the board in the 4th, with Hairston and Aramis on the bags, Barrett homered over the right field wall and closed the gap (or saved some face) to 7-3. The Bullpen looked great again, for the most part and Novoa did not allow a run in 2 1/3 innings of work. Aardsma struggled in the bottom of the 5th….he walked Scott Rolen and then threw a wild pitch…one Barrett should have kept in front of him. Not to soon after, Aardsma gave up a 2 run shot to Edmonds to pretty much put the game out of reach. David Aardsma has not looked good at all in the two appearances he has made…in the last 2 games. Aardsma did not allow a walk at Iowa and in 2 games with the Cubs he has walked 5.

Ohman looked more like his old self in the bottom of the 7th with a 1-2-3 inning. but he got a little shaky in the 8th and he allowed a walk and gave up a single. Dusty pulled a double switch and put Mabry at 1st and brought Williamson in to face Pujos. Williamson did a great job on Pujos and got him to strike out swinging on a very bad pitch….Pujols look fooled the entire at bat.

In the top of the 9th with Barrett on 2nd and Freddie Bynum on 1st, Murton poped up to Rolen and Barrett apparently thought there was 2 outs and was doubled off at 2nd. It was obvious that Barrett thought there were two outs…but the mental games and lack on concentration was back in the Cubs dugout on Friday.

The game started with bad pitching and ended with bad base running. Barrett did his part on Friday and had 3 of the Cubs 7 hits…the rest of lineup needs to step up to the plate and hit the ball. Jacque Jones needs to realize he does not need to make up ALL of the runs by himself, this is a team sport. He was swinging for the fences on every at bat tonight.

With two more games left in the series, the Cubs need to forget Friday night and regroup for Saturday. The Cubs lost the first game of the season without Derrek Lee 9-3 and if they cannot play any better than this without him….it is going to be a long hot summer on the Northside of Chicago.

Jerome Williams forgot how to pitch on Friday night and his performance was plain horrible….he did not even make it 2 full innings…while Mark Mulder lasted eight innings and look like a professional the entire game. Ladies and Gentlemen that was the game, if you want to call it that.

This loss had nothing to do with the absence of Derrek Lee….nothing at all. Even with Derrek Lee at first base if your starter allows 7 runs on 6 hits and does not make it through the 2nd inning….you are going to lose….and especially if your opponent is the St. Louis Cardinals.

My advice to the Cubs Faithful is do yourself a favor turn off the AM radio this weekend…give your self a break from the ‘Talking Heads’. I can hear them now….the Cubs get worked by the Cards…..is this what’s to come? Your calls next on The Score….Home of the World Champions….you know where I am going.

Until Next time….but always GO CUBBIES!!

PS. If one expresses so much hatred of those from the other side of town try your best and don’t sound like one when times are tough….to all of the Cubs’ Faithful and Cubs’ Fans out there….take Brian’s advice and ‘Stay Classy’!!!

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne