Game Twenty – Cubs 5 Marlins 7
Updated – 9:55pm C.T.
By no means does a regular season game compare to a playoff game but why does it seem like the 8th innings of games between the Marlins and the Cubs are always the make-it or break-it inning of the ballgame. On Monday night the Cubs’ offense was quiet until the 8th inning and on Wednesday the Marlins broke a 3-3 tie in the 8th inning to eventually win the ball game 7 to 5. The bullpen, other than Roberto Novoa, had its worst collective outing of the year and the offense was non-existent on Wednesday. But the major impact on the game was the amount of walks, extra bases and extra outs the Marlins were given.
The Cubs pitching staff as a whole allowed 8 walks and 6 of those free passes scored and the pitching staff had 2 wild pitches, a balk and a hit batsman. The Cubs offense could not manage but 4 hits and only totaled 13 for the series. Juan Pierre only had one hit in the series against his former team and the Cubs were not able to capitalize on a quality start in the Major League debut of Angel Guzman. Angel Guzman allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. Guzman threw 87 pitches, walked 4 and struck out 5. Guzman battled some control issues, probably nerves, and if not for a great play by Ronny Cedeno in the 1st inning, he possibly could have allowed more. Guzman allowed 2 hits and a hit Josh Willingham in the head….it was a curve ball and hit him on the top of the helmet, he was not hurt….in the 1st inning, but did not allow a run. Guzman pitched well on Wednesday and other than the 4th inning; the Marlins did not score against Guzman.
In the 4th inning Guzman allowed a leadoff walk to Miguel Cabrera and Josh Willingham hit a 2-run home run….Matt Treanor knocked in a run with a single to put the Marlins up 3-1. Guzman did a fine job and if the offense could have supplied a few more hits, he could have won his first Major League game….instead it was a former teammate of Guzman, Ricky Nolasco that picked up the win on Wednesday….the first of his career. Guzman pitched his way out of trouble on Wednesday and his performance was similar to the debut of Sean Marshall, the Cubs have something to build on with Guzman.
The other runs scored by the Marlins were in the 8th and 9th innings off of Scott Williamson, Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre. Williamson got the loss on Wednesday and at one point threw 8 straight balls, he walked the bases loaded and this was after a wild pitch and a balk to put the leadoff runner on 3rd base….with only 1 out. Bobby Howry came in and gave up a double, that John Mabry lost in the sun, on a bloop single. Williamson was credited with 3 earned runs, but Howry should have gotten a double play and gotten out of the inning….or John Mabry, who had been brought in on a weird double switch, would have caught the ball….can you see where this is going? The Cubs had a lot of miscues and mental errors on Wednesday and guys not doing their job.
Although the offense had not performed in the first 2 games of the series, the Cubs were playing smart and not trying to do too much….on Wednesday all was forgotten. There was even a ball that fell in between Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones….rolled to the wall….triple….no one called it….unbelievable!!!
The bullpen gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits, walked 4 and struck out 6. Roberto Novoa only gave up 1 hit and struck out 3….the other damage was done off of Williamson, Howry and Eyre, who gave up his first earned run as a Cub.
Before Wednesday’s game, the top of the Cubs lineup was 1 for 26 and the only hit was Juan Pierre’s double that started the rally on Monday night. On Wednesday, Aramis Ramirez added 2 hits, including his 4th home run of the season in the 1st inning. Juan Pierre, Ronny Cedeno, Todd Walker and Aramis Ramirez finished the series 3 for 38. Walker was robbed on Monday of 3 hits but he and Cedeno were 0 for the Marlins. Matt Murton had another good day and collected 1 of the 4 hits the Cubs had on Wednesday. Murton drove in 2 runs in the 8th to bring the Cubs within one run. Murton had a very good series and as bad as the Cubs offense was on Wednesday, they were still in a position to win the game. The Cubs hit the ball hard again on Wednesday….just right at a Marlin.
A former Cub won the game, Ricky Nolasco and a former Cub saved the game, Joe Borowski….on Wednesday it was better to be former than current.
The Cubs have Thursday off, their last off day until May 15th and open a 3-game series on Friday against the Brewers….Greg Maddux will be on the mound for the Cubs.