Lackadaisical Baseball

Game Forty-Eight – Cubs 1 Braves 2
With Roster Moves, Derrek Lee and Wade Miller Updates, plus Mark Prior moved to the 60-Day DL

The game on Saturday afternoon at the Friendly Confines came down to who wanted it more and the Braves proved why they are still the team to beat after 14 straight Division titles, they know how to win day in and day out and the Cubs just hope to do so. For the second day in a row the Cubs out hit the Braves (10-7), but were outscored, out hustled and ultimately beaten by former-Cub Mike Remlinger.

The Cubs cannot put together a complete game….Sean Marshall, Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre held the Braves to just 2 runs on 7 hits and only allowed 2 walks but the offense went 0-11 with runners in scoring position on the day and only managed 1 run on 10 hits, left 7 on base, did not take a walk and grounded into 2 double plays all before the largest crowd of the season….41,526. Saturday’s attendance was the largest crowd for a regular season game since 1979….standing room only.

Sean Marshall started off the game by walking Marcus Giles and giving up a single on a 0-2 pitch that was left in the middle of the plate to Edgar Renteria. Marshall settled himself and retired Chipper Jones on a good pitch that broke his bat, jammed Andruw Jones and got him to pop up to 2nd and retired Jeff Francoeur to end the inning. Marshall threw a lot of pitches and fell behind 2 of the first 5 he faced but he made the pitches that he needed to get out of the inning. The 2nd inning would not be so kind to the young lefty.

After 2 outs Marshall walked Brayan Pena and gave up a single to Horacio Ramirez, the pitcher. Marshall seemed to try to pitch around the Pena and it cost him and the Cubs. Marcus Giles then doubled to left center and the Cubs allowed the pitcher, coming off the DL with a strained left hamstring, to score all the way from first base on a double. The Cubs did not hustle to get the ball in….Matt Murton’s throw short hopped Ronny Cedeno, Cedeno missed it and by the time he figured out what was going on Ramirez had scored. When Giles hit the ball, Ramirez was jogging to 2nd and looked content to make it to 3rd, when he saw the Cubs were out of position and not hustling to get the ball in he decided to try to score and he did….without a throw. The other thing that was interesting on that play was that Jerry Hairston, Jr. was maybe 10 feet behind Ronny Cedeno in short left field….no one was covering 2nd, what was Hairston doing? The lack of hustle, the “lob the ball in from left field” play with no one covering second base cost the Cubs the game, how long have they been playing organized ball?

The second walk of the game cost Sean Marshall and the Cubs the game. As a staff they have to start being more aggressive, go after the hitters, make them swing bat and allow the defense to make a play. The Cubs pitching staff is ranked first in the league in the least amount of hits allowed, but last in the league in walks allowed. Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre continued their great performances out of the pen and threw 3 innings of perfect baseball in relief.

The Cubs’ lone run of the game came in the 1st inning. After a infield single to start the game, Juan Pierre stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Jerry Hairston. Todd Walker then grounded out to Marcus Giles and Pierre scored. The Cubs were robbed by three great defensive plays by Horacio Ramirez at first base, including a bare handed catch, on a throw from Brian Jordan, to take a bunt single away from Jacque Jones in the 5th….again he covered 1st base after just coming off the DL with a hamstring injury. In the 8th newly acquired Tony Womack singled down the 3rd base line and a great cutoff from Ryan Langerhans prevented the ball from getting into the corner and allowing Womack to leadoff the inning with a double. That proved to be a big play in the ballgame as Womack was stranded at 3rd base. In the 4th and 9th innings the Cubs had two runners on base and could not plate any runs. In the 4th Aramis Ramirez grounded into a 3-6-1 double play (with Horacio Ramirez covering first)and in the 9th after a very good at bat, Ronny Cedeno grounded out to Remlinger to end the ball game.

Of the 10 hits on Saturday, only one was for extra bases and the Cubs left 6 runners in scoring position with 2-outs, entering Saturday’s game the Cubs were hitting .137 with RISP with 2 outs. Juan Pierre continued his struggles with runners in scoring position and after Saturday is 0-22 on the season and his .097 average with RISP is the worst in the Major Leagues. The “table-setters” for the Cubs were 1 for 6, with a run scored, a sacrifice bunt, a strikeout and 2 left on base.

This was another one that the Cubs gave to the Braves.

Rookie Jae Kuk-Ryu is scheduled to make his first Major League start on Sunday against John Smoltz….

Roster Moves and News – The Cubs have yet to announce who will be moved in order to create a spot for Jae Kuk-Ryu, as soon as the announcement is made this post will be updated, however the Cubs did move Mark Prior to the 60-day DL on Friday. Prior is scheduled to start in Peoria for the Chiefs on Monday against Kane County and threw on the side at Wrigley on Saturday, some with the towel and some without. Jim Hendry said on Saturday he expects Derrek Lee to be back in the line-up in two weeks and expects both Mark Prior and Wade Miller to be throwing for the Cubs within 3 weeks….

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax