Denied….The Cubs and Bonds Come Up Empty

Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 1 Giants 6
With an Injury Update on Derrek Lee

On a very cool night in San Francisco with all eyes on Barry Bonds, the Cubs dropped their 8th game in a row and are now 2-8 on the season against the Wes.. Rich Hill pitched a good game on Tuesday and if were not for the performance of Jason Schmidt, he might have picked up his first victory of the season. Schmidt was tremendous and after Tuesday’s performance he has won 6 straight against the Cubs. Schmidt only gave up one hit until the 7th inning and that was a solo home run to Michael Barrett….Schmidt only allowed 5 hits on the evening, no walks and did not pitch out of the stretch until the 7th….bottom line is he threw a gem.

Rich Hill at one point retired 8 in a row, but he had trouble recording the third out in two different innings and that cost him and the Cubs the game. For those of you that missed the game, try to catch the highlights….Juan Pierre robbed Barry Bonds of number 714 on a great catch over the center field wall, that catch was worth the price of admission.

Jason Schmidt held the Cubs offense at bay all evening and as mentioned did not pitch from the stretch until the 7th inning. The Giants ace just beat the Cubs….period. They played a better game than the score indicates, mentally….Schmidt was in full control the entire evening. The fly ball pitcher recorded five fly ball outs out of the first six he recorded….the Cubs did not have a ground out until the 5th inning. Schmidt won his third in a row giving up only 3 runs in those three games and Tuesday was Jason Schmidt’s second complete game in a row and the 19th of his career.

Rich Hill dug himself an early hole but settled down and pitched into the 7th but was unable to record an out. The Giants got on the board in the 1st inning after a double to Randy Winn to leadoff the ballgame; Omar Vizquel bunted Winn to 3rd and with the infield in, Lance Niekro singled past a diving Ronny Cedeno to score Winn. Bonds was issued a 5-pitch walk and Rich Hill retired the next two Giants to end the inning.

Hill retired the Giants in order in the 2nd and 3rd inning and after 2 outs in the 4th, Hill gave up a double to Steve Finley and Mike Matheny singled him home. Again in the 5th with 2 outs, Omar Vizquel singled to center and Hill issued a 5-pitch walk to Lance Niekro and that brought Bonds to the plate. Hill pitched him well, but left one out over the plate and Bonds hit a 399-foot fly out to a leaping Juan Pierre in straight away center to end the inning. It was a tremendous catch, one that you hoped would spark the Cubs offensively….but it did not.

The Giants added one in the 6th on an infield single by Mike Matheny that should have been an out, Rich Hill grabbed the ball that pulled Walker out of position, Neifi could not make it to the bag and Hill would have recorded the out if he had just run through the bag….a rookie mistake….Steve Finley scored on that play after he had tripled with 1 out. Randy Winn led off the 7th with a home run and Rich Hill walked Omar Vizquel. Dusty went to the pen for Scott Eyre and Eyre gave up the 2-run homer to Lance Niekro.

Rich Hill finished the night going 6+ innings. He allowed 5 runs on 8 hits, struck out 4 and walked 3 on 100 pitches….not bad for a guy that threw 25 pitches in the 1st inning. Scott Eyre gave up a run on 3 hits in an inning of work and Will Ohman pitched the 8th, allowing a hit and Ohman struck out 2. Cubs pitching did hold Barry Bonds to a 1-4 evening….just a bloop single over Ronny Cedeno, thanks to the catch by Juan Pierre.

The Cubs cannot seem to catch a break during this losing streak, after showing signs of life in San Diego the Cubs drew the misfortune of facing Jason Schmidt and other than Michael Barrett’s home run in the 2nd inning the Cubs did not hit the ball hard all night and the impatience at the plate was even more evident. Schmidt only threw 95 pitches and did not allow a walk. The Cubs are refusing to allow a pitcher to beat himself….they are apparently more than willing to do that themselves. Juan Pierre continued his skid and is now 1 for his last 22 and his average is down to .231. Michael Barrett had 2 of the 5 Cubs’ hits….Cedeno, Walker and Perez accounted for the other 3….all singles up the middle. Jason Schmidt showed the Cubs how dominant a good pitcher can be.

The Cubs now look to Carlos Zambrano to put an end to this streak on Wednesday night against Matt Cain. Cain had a very good outing last year against Mark Prior and beat the Cubs….let’s hope history does not repeat. The Cubs are now 4 games under .500 with 2 games left on this road trip before heading back to Wrigley Field and another weekend series with the Padres….a 2-game winning streak would sure be nice on that long flight back to Illinois….Go get that win Z!!

Derrek Lee Update – According to several reports out of Chicago, including the telecast during Tuesday night’s game, Derrek Lee will have the long cast removed on Friday and will be put in a short cast for the next three weeks. Friday marks the third week since Lee went down with the fractures in his wrist. The short cast will provide Lee with use of his elbow. The Cubs are now 5-13 since Lee’s injury.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney