Self Destruction Blues

Game Thirty-Five – Cubs 5 Padres 10
Updated – 9:55pm C.T.

On a very cold and rainy day in Chicago the Padres beat the Cubs on Friday for the 5th time in the last week. The Cubs and the Padres are going in different directions…the Padres have won their last 12 out of 13 after starting the year 8 and 15, while the Cubs have lost their last 12 out of 14 and are 6 and 15 since the loss of Derrek Lee. Angel Guzman had more control problems on Friday and threw 88 pitches in just 3 innings, he walked 5, and in what has become the norm for Guzman….a wild pitch and a hit batsman. The Padres collected 14 hits, but Guzman’s lack of control had little to do with the outcome of the ballgame on Friday afternoon.

Glendon Rusch pitched an inning and a third that included one of the worst innings of baseball you will ever see. For the second time in 2 games Cubs pitching allowed 10 batters to come to the plate and before the Cubs could record 3 outs the Padres had scored 5 runs and the Cubs committed 3 errors….one by Matt Murton, one by Neifi Perez and the other by Ronny Cedeno on an unexplainable mental mistake.

Dave Roberts led off the game by being hit by Angel Guzman and for the fourth game in a row Cubs pitching allowed the leadoff runner to reach base without a hit. Roberts quickly stole 2nd and scored on a single by Mike Piazza after a walk to Brian Giles. The Padres scored a run on only 1 hit….but two more free passes. Guzman pitched in trouble the entire afternoon and other than his first Major League hit and RBI in the 2nd inning, Guzman showed little if any reason the Cubs should allow him to start another game at the Major League level any time soon. Larry Rothschild has said he is not ready and on Friday Guzman showed why.

Glendon Rusch came in to relieve Guzman in the 4th inning. Rusch has done very well since being moved to the bullpen and until Friday he had not allowed a run in three outings. That all changed very quickly and the Glendon Rusch that had been demoted to the bullpen was the one that took the ball from Guzman. When Rusch came in the game it was tied 2-2 and while the lineup was questionable, it was providing results. Dave Roberts led off the 4th with a bunt single and moved to 2nd on a single by Mike Cameron. Brian Giles hit into a 4-6-3 double play and Piazza doubled to score Roberts from 3rd. After a quiet bottom of the 4th the Padres stepped to the plate again.

Vinny Castilla and Adrian Gonzalez singled to start the inning and after the Gonzalez single one of the strangest mental errors occurred that basically ended the afternoon for the Cubs. Ronny Cedeno apparently thought time had been called and he pitched a rain soaked ball toward 3rd base umpire Larry Poncino….time had not been called, the ball rolled away before Ramirez and Barrett could coral it….the runners advanced and the Cubs never recovered. Josh Barfield popped out to John Mabry then Rusch walked Eric Young to load the bases. At that point Rusch had faced 9 Padres and had given up 5 hits and a walk. Dave Roberts hit a slow grounder to Cedeno, Cedeno flipped it to Neifi Perez, Perez tried to turn the double play, Mabry could not make the scoop….they had no shot at Roberts, the ball skipped past Mabry….2 more runs scored and Dave Roberts went to 2nd. Neifi Perez should have known not to throw that ball, that play is very indicative of this team….trying to make plays that are not there. Roberts quickly stole 3rd and scored on a double by Mike Cameron.

After Roberts scored, he and Michael Barrett exchanged some heated words, the benches started to empty and both teams were warned. Brian Giles singled to center to score Mike Cameron and Dusty went to the bullpen for Scott Williamson. Williamson could not stop the bleeding, Mike Piazza singled and Khalil Greene hit what looked like an inning ending fly out to left….the ball bounced out of Matt Murton’s glove….Brian Giles scored the fifth and final run of the inning before Vinny Castilla grounded out to end the inning.

Glendon Rusch on the day allowed 6 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits and walked one in 1 1/3 innings of work. So while Guzman’s line was nothing to write home about, the rookie pitched better that the ‘crafty veteran’…and that is not saying much. Guzman gave up 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 5 and struck out 4. Bobby Howry gave up a 2-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the 8th inning and on the day Cubs pitching allowed 7 walks.

The Cubs offense did score 5 runs on 11 hits, but the lack of patience at the plate only yielded two walks on the day and countless numbers of pop-up outs. The Cubs got on the board in the 1st inning on a double to right by Aramis Ramirez to score Ronny Cedeno. Angel Guzman picked up his first Major League hit and RBI in the 2nd inning on a double that scored Matt Murton. Guzman tied the game and helped his cause, but he was unable to build on his success at the plate.

Juan Pierre led off the 5th with an infield single, stole his 12th base of the year and scored on a double to right by Neifi Perez. With one out in the 6th, Matt Murton singled, Jerry Hairston doubled and Murton scored on a sacrifice fly by Todd Walker. The Cubs kept nibbling but could not score more than a run at a time and added another in the 9th. The Cubs left 8 on base and the second walk of the game was by Ryan Theriot….he came around to score their 5th run of the ballgame. Once the Cubs realize that walks are as good as hits and that those runs count as well, they will start to win a few games.

The Cubs look to Greg Maddux to rebound on Saturday and give the Cubs a much needed win and a jolt of confidence.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver