The Bad and the Ugly

Game One Hundred Fourteen – Cubs 6 Brewers 8

Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee could have possibly been played better, if the Nashville Sounds and Iowa Cubs had taken the field. The Cubs and Brewers combined for 5 errors, 10 walks, a wild pitch and two hit batsmen. The ball was thrown around by both teams, balls fell between outfielders, again on both teams and there was even a collision in the outfield by the Brewers….vintage Bad News Bears. It would be a toss up as to which defense was worse. The Cubs were credited with only 2 errors but in reality it was more like 6.

Mark Prior was horrible, could not find the strike zone and was lifted in the 4th inning for a pinch hitter, Prior threw 27 pitches in the 1st inning alone and 58 in the 3 innings he worked. He threw a wild pitch, hit a batter, walked 4 and struck out only ONE batter. Prior has not put together back-to-back wins in over a year and the Cubs have to be questioning, at this point, what the future holds for the one-time Cy Young Award Candidate.

The bullpen did their job….again and held the Brewers in check over the last 3 innings of the game and gave the offense a chance to come back. The 2 runs that the Brewers scored on Juan Mateo were both unearned due to an error by “Mr. Everything”, Neifi Perez. With Mateo pitching on Thursday it is doubtful he will start on Saturday in Colorado.

Prior’s outing was his shortest of the season. He allowed 6 runs, 5 earned, on 4 hits in 3 innings of work to go along with 4 walks and the lone strikeout. Prior simply cannot throw strikes anymore and when he does they are average fastballs with little to no movement that Major League hitters just sit on and hit hard. When a pitcher gives up more runs than hits….there is a problem. The defense did not help either, basically 3 errors by Angel Pagan in the 1st inning opened the floodgate and the Brewers got out to an 8-1 lead in the 4th.

The Cubs did not give up, which on a day like Thursday, would have been understandable. Ryan Theriot started at 2nd base and responded with an excellent day at the plate….3 for 3, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. Aramis Ramirez hit another 2-run homer in the 5th and Hank White….a.k.a. Henry Blanco hit a 2-run blast in the 8th. The Cubs had chances in the 8th and 9th to tie or win the game but were unable to plate those runs. Jacque Jones and Phil Nevin had horrendous days at the plate. Jones left 6 on base and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game with 2 runners on. Phil Nevin struck out his first two times on the day, and after the “golden sombrero” on Wednesday; he actually struck out in 6 straight plate appearances and finished the day 1 for 4 with an RBI.

The comeback fell short and they dropped back to 18 games under .500 but most importantly the one-time Golden Child had another bad outing, the Cubs have to turn the page on Prior….but will they be able to do so?

Rich Hill will take the mound in the thin air of Denver on Friday night. The Cubs will face the Rockies for the first time this season. Can Hill make it 3 in a row?

Quote of the Day

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