Another Long Ball Afternoon

Game One Hundred Twenty-One – Cubs 3 Cardinals 11

The Jekyll and Hyde season continues….the Cardinals improved their season series record at Wrigley to 1-7 thanks to horrible pitching, atrocious defense and 6 home runs. Does anyone remember the “lollygagger” scene in Bull Durham? Hopefully Dusty threw a couple of bats in the clubhouse after this one. The good news is Carlos Marmol did not walk a single batter, the bad news is he did not make it past the 3rd inning and gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 6 hits and threw 60 pitches, 36 for strikes. His lack of control cost both teams a warning when he hit Scott Rolen in the 3rd inning and his short outing caused Dusty to go to the pen early and that move backfired as the typically strong pen was shelled by the Cardinals.

The 3rd inning was one of the Cubs worst of the season….and that is saying a lot. The Cardinals scored 3 runs on 4 hits with a little help….3 errors by the Cubs and 2 by Carlos Marmol alone. Cubs’ pitching has allowed a ton of home runs this year at Wrigley and Friday just added to the inflated total. The Cubs scored all 3 of their runs via the long ball and they awoke a sleeping giant in Albert Pujols who had been relatively quiet this season against the Cubs.

Aramis Ramirez hit his 29th home run in the 4th to cut the Cardinals lead to 4-3 but that was as close as the Cubs could get on the afternoon. They managed just 7 hits, Michael Barrett went 2-3 with a double and his 15th home run of the year to run his average to .328 and now has enough at bats to be listed among the league leaders. Juan Pierre added a triple and extended his hit streak to 10 games but when a starting pitcher lasts only 3 innings, it is going to be a long afternoon and for the Cubs it was.

Carlos Marmol has a ton of talent but it needs to be refined. He was shaky at best and in an effort to not walk a ton lost what had made him effective to this point. Marmol might be better served to pitch out of the pen, especially if Wade Miller is ready to make his Cub debut as has been reported. The bullpen of Roberto Novoa and David Aardsma added to the frustration. Aardsma allowed 5 runs on 5 hits that included 3 home runs in an inning of work. The pen totaled 7 runs on 9 hits, 5 home runs and just 2 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Preston Wilson made his Cardinal debut and continued killing Cub pitching and even without Jim Edmonds the Cardinals were able to score 11 runs on 15 hits. The Cubs offense did not take advantage of Jason Marquis, recorded just 3 hits and a walk against a very inconsistent pitcher. As become the norm this season, the Cubs made a mediocre pitcher look like a 20-game winner.

Carlos Zambrano will face Jeff Suppan in game 2 on Saturday afternoon on Fox….hopefully they will be ready to face a team that was struggling before Friday.

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth