Marquis Good….Bullpen Bad

Game Three – Cubs 2 Reds 5
WP – Victor Santos (1-0) LP – Bobby Howry (0-1, BS 1) Save – David Weathers (1)

Jason Marquis made his Cub debut on Thursday afternoon in Cincinnati and followed Ted Lilly’s outstanding performance with one of his own. Marquis held the Reds to just 1 run on 4 hits in 6 strong innings of work. Marquis left the game in the 7th with the Cubs ahead 2 to 1 but Bobby Howry, Will Ohman and Scott Eyre could not find the strike zone and spoiled Marquis’ debut. Howry was charged with 2 runs and the loss but a wild pitch by Ohman and a passed ball by Michael Barrett was the difference in the game.

The Cubs offense continued its slow start and left 10 on base on Thursday for a total of 27 for the 3-game series. The Cubs had runners on base every inning except for the 9th. Last season’s base running mishaps continued on Thursday as well as the Cubs ran themselves out of a big inning.

Lou Piniella cannot be pleased after the effort the Cubs gave on Thursday. After the “little pep talk” with Ryan Dempster on Wednesday one can only imagine the “motivational speech” Piniella gave his team after Thursday’s very sloppy and poor played game.

Jason Marquis threw strikes and walked only 2 batters on the day and both came in the 5th in between a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Lohse. After a visit from Larry Rothschild, Marquis recovered and struck out Adam Dunn, swinging, to end the 5th inning. The aggressive Reds’ offense did help a little, Marquis threw just 35 pitches in the first 3 innings and on the day he threw 82, 51 for strikes. He threw first pitch strikes to 12 of the 23 batters he faced. The Reds only run of the day against Marquis came in the 4th. With 1 out Brandon Phillips singled to right center, stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a ground out by Ken Griffey Jr. Edwin Encarnacion singled to left to score Phillips. All 4 hits Marquis surrendered were singles.

Bobby Howry relieved Marquis in the 7th, could not hold the lead and allowed a lead off single to Scott Hatteberg to right. Alex Gonzalez sacrificed him to 2nd and Javier Valentin advanced him to 3rd on a ground out to Mark DeRosa. Jeff Conine pinch hit for Victor Santos and blooped a single to center. Howry walked Ryan Freel on four pitches and Piniella went to the pen. Will Ohman got behind Adam Dunn 2-1 and then uncorked a wild pitch to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. On the next pitch, Ohman threw another ball in the dirt, Dunn chased but Barrett was able to keep the ball in front of him. On a 3-2 pitch, Ohman uncorked another wild pitch that Michael Barrett could not handle and it was later scored a passed ball. On the play Barrett held the ball and Dunn advanced to 2nd, a smart play by Barrett with Freel at 3rd. Piniella went to the pen….again, this time for Angel Guzman who was able to end the inning with a fly ball to left off the bat of Brandon Phillips….the 2 runs the Reds scored came with 2 outs.

The Reds put the game out of reach in the 8th off of Scott Eyre, who like Howry and Ohman before, could not find the strike zone. He struck out Griffey swinging on a 3-2 pitch but walked Encarnacion. Scott Hatteberg hit a 2-run homer to right to finish the scoring on the day for the Reds.

The bullpen gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, walked 3 and struck out 2.

The first home run of the new season was hit by Mark DeRosa in the 2nd. He hit the first pitch by Kyle Lohse over the left center field wall. As mentioned, the Cubs had plenty of opportunities to score on the afternoon. In the 1st, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back singles before Jacque Jones ended the inning with a fly out. After the DeRosa homer in the 2nd, Cesar Izturis hit his first of two doubles on the day but was stranded at 2nd. In the 3rd, Ramirez singled with 2 outs but, again, Jones ended the inning.

In the 4th, Izturis hit a ball off the top of the fence that was thought to be a home run but was ruled a double and he was left stranded at 2nd….again. In the 5th, Matt Murton walked with 1 out and scored on a double to right by Ramirez, who actually ended up at 3rd when Griffey could not get a handle on the ball. Jones ended the inning with a ground out to 1st. In the 7th is when the base running adventures continued.

Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a single to left and with Murton at the plate, he was picked off by Kyle Lohse. Murton followed with a single to right center to chase Lohse from the game. Victor Santos took the hill and Ryan Theriot took over at 1st for Murton. Theriot stole 2nd but was called out when he ran out of the baseline when he attempted to advance to 3rd on a grounder to 3rd off the bat of Derrek Lee….Ramirez ended the inning.

In the 8th with the Cubs down 3-2, DeRosa walked with 2 outs and ended up at 3rd when Adam Dunn misplayed a ball in left off the bat of Izturis. Piniella announced Cliff Floyd as the pinch hitter for Angel Guzman, Jerry Narron went to the pen for Mike Stanton and Piniella pulled Floyd for Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno worked the count to 2-0 before popping out to 3rd to end the inning.

The Cubs had plenty of opportunities to win the first series of the season in the Queen City….they have to learn how to cash them in.

The Cubs head to Milwaukee to start a 3-game series with the Brewers on Friday night. Rich Hill will make his first start of the season against Dave Bush.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver