Another Grand Collapse

Game Ninety-One – Cubs 7 Mets 13

Two Bloops, Two Slams and Two Errors….On a night the Cubs scored 7 runs the Faithful would expect to see the “W” flag flying high at top the Wrigley Field scoreboard but not on Sunday night. The Cubs got out to a 5-0 lead led by the good pitching of Sean Marshall, he even hit his first career home run but like Saturday’s game it was a tale of two halves.

The Mets scored an unbelievable 11 runs in the 6th inning off of two Grand Slams and a 2-run homer by David Wright. The Mets sent 16 batters to the plate and were aided by 2 errors by Todd Walker and 3 walks by Cubs’ pitching. The Mets received at least 5 extra outs in the inning and took advantage of every opportunity. The Mets scored 12 of their 13 runs off of 5 home runs.

The Cubs lack of fundamentals cost them another game and the team with the worst reputation in all of baseball for executing the basics of the game proved, again, they are incapable of doing so on a daily basis.

What has become common place for the Cubs is what is the most frustrating….this team for years has moments of brilliance when all the stars align and they play very good baseball, but those games seem to be very few and far between. On most occasions they play the type of ball they did on Sunday where one bad play leads to another and so on, no one on this team is capable of “picking-up” the team, calming them down and to not allow the negative momentum to continue to mount.

Sean Marshall pitched a very good 5 innings, had good command and threw strikes. At one point Marshall threw 21 strikes out of 23 pitches….he was in control and the only real damage was the home runs by Chris Woodward and Cliff Floyd. He even added a single to go with his first career home run but the Cubs left 8 on base in the first 5 innings and the question became would that come back to haunt them later. The Cubs looked very sharp against Orlando Hernandez as he left the game in the 2nd with 2 outs after the Cubs had tallied 5 runs against him.

When Marshall took the mound in the 6th, he did not look as sharp as he had but he retired Chris Woodward and that is when the collapse started. Carlos Beltran hit a routine grounder to Todd Walker, Walker bobbled it and the always-hustling Beltran beat out the throw. Carlos Delgado then blooped a single in front of Juan Pierre, Pierre dove but came up empty and David Wright joined the parade and blooped another single into right in front of Jacque Jones. Cliff Floyd then stepped to the plate and hit a 1-2 ball on the outer part of the plate into the basket into left field for an opposite field grand slam. Marshall then walked Xavier Nady to end his evening, Dusty went to the pen and Roberto Novoa took the hill. Novoa, aided by a very good defensive play by Aramis Ramirez, got the ground ball the Cubs needed, Ramirez went to 2nd and Todd Walker dropped the ball, the routine double play was not turned and the “Misadventure of the Cubs” continued.

Endy Chavez then singled to right to score Nady, Chavez then stole 2nd and the infield came in. Jose Valentin hit a ground ball off the glove of Ramirez, safe at first, bases loaded and still only 1-out. Nova again got the ground ball he needed, Ramirez made a good stop but decided to go home instead of around the horn and Barrett could not get the out at 1st, bases still loaded and 2-outs. Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate and hit another opposite field grand slam into the basket in left field. And just when you thought you had seen it all this season something like that happens. It was the first time since April 23, 1999 that a team had hit two grand slams in a game. Roberto Novoa was left in the game, gave up a double to Delgado and a 2-run homer to David Wright, again to the opposite field.

How will the Cubs spin this one? The lack of trust on this team was never as evident than when Ramirez went home to attempt the double play than around the horn, his momentum was going that way, that was the easier play. This group of Cubs do not trust one another and the finger pointing that has come out as of late is a prime example of why.

The Cubs out hit the Mets, 15 to 14 but left 11 on base. The 11 run 6th inning set a franchise record for the Mets and wasted a 4-hit, 2 stolen base night for Juan Pierre. The Cubs had 7 extra base hits, including two home runs. The offense did their job but like so many times this season the Cubs could not play a complete game.

This one will hurt for the next 48 hours, the Cubs have Monday off and open a 3-game series against the Astros on Tuesday. Can Carlos Marmol provide another quality start for the Cubs? We will have to wait and see. Who will still be in Cubbie blue by then….that is the other question that must be answered.

Quote of the Day

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