A Wild, Long, Delayed Loss

Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 9 Rockies 11 – 14 innings

As much as everyone is ready for this season to end and move on to “Next Year”, it is always a sad day when the 27th out is recorded on the last game of the season and as bad as this season has been….the feeling is still there. Baseball is fun, just ask Ron Santo. The Cubs finish their season on Sunday but Saturday’s game, after a horrible start, was a good game to see despite the loss. The Cubs were down 8-0 in the 3rd inning before they recorded their first hit in the 4th. The young Cubs battled back and made a game of it, at this point of the season that hardly ever happens.

Jeff Baker singled up the middle with 2 outs to score the winning runs off of Jae Kuk Ryu. Ryu flirted with the loss in the 13th but pitched around a lead off triple by Kaz Matsui. He was unable to pitch around a lead off double by Todd Helton and eventually gave up the single to Baker.

The Cubs used 26 players, 10 pitchers, Derrek Lee and Carlos Zambrano both had a pinch-hit appearance, there was a 38-minute rain delay, 20 total runs scored, 26 base hits and the final out was recorded by the right fielder, Brad Hawpe, who fell down and caught the ball while sitting on the ground….Saturday ended up being the last night game of the year.

The Cubs scored 9 runs between the 6th and 9th innings. Matt Murton scored the tying run after he walked with 2 outs, advanced all the way to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a single off the glove of Todd Helton by Jacque Jones. Ryan Theriot had another good day….2 for 6 with 3 RBI’s, a walk and a run scored. The Cubs scored their first run of the day in the 6th. Pierre led off with a single, Theriot walked and they were successful with a double steal. Pierre scored on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez to right on a very good slide at home. The game became even more interesting in the 7th.

Henry Blanco and Ronny Cedeno both singled to start the inning and with 1 out Angel Pagan reached on a fielder’s choice when Garrett Atkins tried to throw out Cedeno at 2nd. Pierre singled to score Blanco and Theriot cleared the bases with a double. Michael Wuertz gave up a solo home run to Chris Iannetta in the top of the 8th and it looked like the Cubs had lost their momentum.

Henry Blanco singled with 1-out to start the rally in the 8th and with 2 outs went to 2nd on a single by John Mabry. Both scored on a triple by Freddie Bynum. The Cubs could manage only 3 hits and 3 walks over the last 5 innings of the game….like the entire season they had opportunities but could not cash them in.

To say Juan Mateo had a horrible outing, well, would be an understatement. Mateo could not make it out of the 2nd inning, threw 65 pitches (37 strikes) and gave up 7 runs on 4 hits. Mateo could not get into a rhythm and all 4 of the walks he allowed came around to score. Of the 4 hits he gave up, 2 were home runs, 1 was a double and the other was a triple. When a pitcher gives up as many walks as he did and then allowing 4 hits, all for extra bases, Saturday is usually the result that happens. Mateo has a lot of promise he just did not have “it” on Saturday. The Cubs needed to find out where Mateo was at this point of the season….they should have gotten the answer….loud and clear.

The Cubs bullpen did a fine job and gave them a chance to win the game. Other than the 2 runs Ryu surrendered in the 14th they allowed just 2 other runs on 4 hits. Saturday was a very good day for a bunch of guys that are tired and have had a long season. With Mateo not pitching past the 2nd inning….12 1/3 innings, 4 runs on 7 hits….not bad at all.

Cubs’ pitching surrendered a total of 11 hits and 10 walks….22 base runners, while the Cubs offense pounded out 15 hits and 5 walks….20 base runners, the Rockies won by 2 runs….coincidence?

Sunday is the last game of the regular season and while most of the Faithful will be very happy….not everyone is glad the season will be over. Wade Miller against a rookie making his first career start, it would be great to see the Cubs finish the season the way they started it.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon