Just When You Thought….

Game Thirty-Seven – Cubs 0 Padres 9

For the first time in Chicago Cubs history, the Cubs have gone winless in a season series against a National League opponent. The Padres second series sweep over the Cubs capped a 0-7 record against the Friars on the season. The Cubs have lost 14 of their last 17 being outscored 94 to 38 and Sunday’s shutout was the fourth time the Cubs have allowed that outcome over the same stretch….and here’s one that will blow your mind, Sunday was the third time the Cubs had allowed the opposing pitcher to record his first career shutout and complete game (Chris Capuano, Zach Duke and Clay Hensley) over the past 17 games. The Cubs were 0-3 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and only managed 2 hits (one each by Todd Walker and Michael Barrett, both doubles), plus to add insult to injury only one walk to Neifi Perez and it was intentional.

Rich Hill was the least of the Cubs’ pitching problems and as a staff they allowed 10 free passes, two wild pitches (that resulted in 2 runs) and a hit batsman.

Rich Hill pitched himself in and out of trouble on Sunday, mostly due to the 5 walks he allowed and he had help on a bad call on a tagup from 3rd by Brian Giles. Hill allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and struck out 4 to go with the 5 walks and if not for the wild pitch by Scott Williamson, Piazza would have not scored the 3 run that Hill was responsible for. When Rich Hill left the game in the 6th with 1 out, the Cubs were down 2-0 with Mike Piazza on 2nd base. Williamson walked Vinny Castilla and gave up a single to right to load the bases. Adrian Gonzalez stepped to the plate and without swinging the bat the Padres scored 2 runs.

Williamson uncorked a wild pitch that was way inside, Barrett could not handle it, Piazza scored….runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. One pitch later, Williamson threw the same pitch with the same result, this time Barrett got a glove on it, but could not stop it and Castilla scored. Williamson then settled down and struck out Gonzalez and Hensley to end the inning….4-0 going into the bottom of the 6th.

The Cubs went quickly in the 6th, 3 outs on 7 pitches and Roberto Novoa took over in the 7th and that was when the game was put out of reach. Novoa gave up a leadoff walk to Eric Young, he stole 2nd before Mike Cameron struck out. Novoa then intentionally walked Brian Giles, who tied a Major League record with 5 walks in a 9 inning game (Barry Bonds, 2004), Eric Young scored on the first error of the year by Aramis Ramirez off the bat of Mike Piazza. The newest Cub killer, Kahlil Greene stepped to the plate and hit a 3-run homer into the basket in left field.

Jae Kuk Ryu made his Major League debut in the 8th inning and much of the same result happened. Ryu gave up a leadoff single to Gonzalez, settled down and struck out Clay Hensley and Eric Young….he then proceeded to hit Mike Cameron and walked Brian Giles to load the bases. Then on 5 pitches he walked Josh Bard to score Gonzalez from third the last run of the game for the Padres.

The bullpen of Williamson, Novoa, Ryu and Howry allowed 7 runs on 5 hits, walked 5, struck out 7, hit a batter and threw 2 wild pitches in just 3 2/3 innings of work. What was once the strength of the Cubs, due to overwork and under performance of the offense, is starting to blend right in with the rest of the “team”.

The Cubs made Clay Hensley throw only 91 pitches over a complete 9 innings of work. The impatience of this ball club is almost unbearable to watch, they just will not take pitches and make the opposition work. In the 6th inning down 4-0, the Padres recorded 3 outs on just 7 pitches, including a one pitch-one out at bat by Aramis Ramirez. In the 9th inning it took just 4 pitches to end the ballgame and the final 3 outs were Juan Pierre, Ronny Cedeno and Todd Walker.

Juan Pierre was 0-4 on the day and 2 for 13 with a walk and a run scored in the 3 game series. Aramis Ramirez was 0-3 on the day and 2 for 11 with a walk, RBI and a run scored in the 3-game series. A team cannot win with these type of results from their leadoff and clean up hitters.

Carlos Zambrano goes for the Cubs on Tuesday night against Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals, hopefully a different “team” will show up on Tuesday. The Cubs get a much-needed scheduled day off on Monday, although they have yet to play a game in over 3 weeks.

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
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