Greene is the Color of Victory….Cubs Drop 6th in a Row

Game Thirty – Cubs 3 Padres 6

The Cubs offense finally put a crooked number on the board on Sunday in San Diego, but the pitching staff could not continue their string of good outings and the Cubs dropped their 6th game in a row. Khalil Greene was the main Cub killer on Sunday with a great day at the plate and in the field. Greene finished the day 4 for 4 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI’s. Greene made several good defensive plays, including robbing Juan Pierre of an infield single in the top of the 3rd.

Angel Guzman could not get on track and faced seven Padres in the 1st inning, throwing 36 pitches and giving up 2 runs. The Cubs looked a little more relaxed on Sunday and played a lot better until the 5th inning. After the 5th inning, the Cubs looked lost again and were unable to scratch back and score any more runs.

Angel Guzman had control problems again on Sunday and could not make it past the 5th inning, throwing 100 pitches in 4 1/3 innings of work. At times Guzman looked very good, but most of the game he was behind Padre batters and had too many full counts and not enough first pitch strikes….of Guzman’s 100 pitches only 52 were for strikes. Guzman allowed 3 runs on 5 hits while he was on the mound but it was his back-to-back walks in the 5th that came into score that hurt Guzman the most and cost the Cubs the game. Roberto Novoa was unable to do his job, for the second time this season in relief of Guzman, and allowed a double and a single to Rob Bowen and Khalil Greene. Guzman’s line for the day: 5 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. Guzman has good stuff but in his third Major League outing he has yet to show it on a consistent basis.

Roberto Novoa could not shut down the Padres offense and had trouble recording an out. Novoa gave up a run scoring double to Rob Bowen and a two RBI single to right off the bat of Khalil Greene. Novoa then loaded the bases on the second back-to-back walks of the inning to Adrian Gonzalez and Ben Johnson. Novoa struck out Woody Williams and Dusty made the call to the pen for Glendon Rusch. Rusch got Roberts to ground out to end the inning. Rusch had another good outing on Sunday allowing only a walk and striking out two in 1 1/3 innings of work. Novoa finished the afternoon giving up a run on 2 hits and walking 2 in only a 1/3 of an inning of work. Novoa could not provide a much needed stop for the Cubs and give them a chance to win the ballgame.

Cubs’ pitching allowed 9 hits and 7 walks on the afternoon.

The mental mistakes were involved in several of the scoring plays that the Padres had on Sunday. In the 1st inning, after a leadoff single to Dave Roberts, Josh Barfield singled to right and went to 2nd after Jacque Jones missed the cut off man and threw a ‘rainbow’ all the way to the plate, Barfield advance to second and kept the Padres out of a double play possibility. Roberts did not score until the sacrifice fly off the bat of Brian Giles. Michael Barrett then fumbled a ball that allowed Barfield to advance and he scored on the double by Khalil Greene. Barfield should have never scored in that inning.

The offense did show life on Sunday and scored 3 runs….one via the home run and the other two were manufactured. The Cubs looked more relaxed at the plate until the wheels came off in the 5th. After a Barrett fly out to start the 2nd inning, Aramis Ramirez singled to right and scored on a single by Jacque Jones. Murton advanced to 2nd after being hit by a pitch earlier in the inning and Jerry Hairston singled to center to load the bases. Angel Guzman stepped to the plate and swung at the first pitch and grounded back to Williams for a 1-6-3 double play….one pitch , two outs.

The second Cubs’ run of the day traveled 372 feet off the bat of Aramis Ramirez in the 4th. Ramirez drilled a solo shot to left and finished the day 2 for 4 and in the last 2 games Ramirez is 4 for 9 with 2 home runs. After the Ramirez home run, Murton had an infield single (a weak grounder that never went foul) and Jacque Jones walked. Jerry Hairston then singled to right to score Murton from 2nd. Guzman laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd and Pierre struck out to end the inning.

Juan Pierre could not get a hit on Sunday and is now 0 for 13 in the series. Pierre has left a lot of runners in scoring position during this road trip and Sunday was no exception. Pierre is struggling but he will work himself out of this slump.

The offense did play a lot better and only left 6 runners on base and 4 in scoring position. If this was not their 6th loss in a row, little would be made of the defeat….but that is not the case. The Cubs were just beaten by a better team that won their 8th ballgame in a row after being counted out a week ago….things turn around quickly and Greg Maddux is just the one to get the Cubs winning streak started.

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe