Southpaw Struggles and Defensive Woes

Game One Hundred Nine – Cubs 0 Pirates 6

For the 12th time this season the Cubs were unable to plate a run and another lefty from Pittsburgh held them to just 2 hits on the day. Carlos Zambrano lost his first game since May 31st. Z was not sharp but his defense let him down, as well as the refusal of this team to take pitches and make a pitcher work, especially against a rookie with questionable control.

Tom Gorzelanny, an Illinois native that grew up as a Sox fan, threw 8 innings of shutout ball, walked 3, struck out a career high 7 and hit two batters….and was backed by some very good to great defense. While the Pirates were catching just about anything hit in their general direction, including a great play by Chris Duffy in the 8th, the Cubs defense led by Ronny Cedeno and Cesar Izturis gave the Pirates all the extra opportunities they needed to end Zambrano’s winning streak.

The Cubs, after Friday’s loss, are 14-22 against lefties this season. The Cubs have not figured out how to hit left handed pitching but most importantly they continue to be embarrassed by rookies or pitchers they have little or no history against. Gorzelanny threw only 111 pitches (68 for strikes) in 8 innings of work while Zambrano threw 117 in 6 innings….see the difference? How can you learn how to hit a pitcher if you do not see all of his pitches? Just a little under 14 pitches per inning….and he walked 2, on an average of the 3 outs he retired per inning. with ease. that is 4.66 pitches per out….he struck out 7, get the point? The aggressiveness of this team has to change. They continue to get beat and they wonder why.

Xavier Nady, one of the newest Pirates, had a huge game against Zambrano and the Cubs, he finished the day 4-5 with 3 doubles but Zambrano was not the problem on Friday, the defense was the issue. Zambrano threw 6 innings, gave up 5 runs on 9 hits, walked 3 and struck out 6 but 3 to 4 of those runs were allowed on extra opportunities created by the defense.

Ronny Cedeno made his first start at 2nd base and his lack of experience cost the Cubs at least 2 runs. He could not start the possible inning ending double play in the 2nd and forgot to cover 2nd on a single by Jason Bay in the 3rd, that the alert Bay stretched into a double. Cesar Izturis throwing error in the 5th cost the Cubs a run as well. He attempted to make the throw but it was bad and the run scored, granted it was not a routine play but he has enough experience to know when to hold onto a ball and not give away bases.

The Cubs had 3 hits on the day, total….Jacque Jones, Ronny Cedeno and Aramis Ramirez….there is the offensive recap….that sums up the afternoon.

Mark Prior is scheduled to throw on Saturday afternoon against Zach Duke. The Cubs have never beaten Duke and he is 2-0 this year against the Cubs….he has allowed just 1 run in 16 innings this season against the Cubbies.

Quote of the Day

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