Too Many Singles

Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 3 Marlins 5
WP – Byung-Hyun Kim (3-2) LP – Sean Marshall (0-2) Save – Kevin Gregg (5)

The Cubs offense was a non-factor early in the game against the Marlins’ pitching staff and the rally in the 9th was a case of too little too late. They managed just 8 hits on the afternoon to go along with 5 walks and could not come up with the clutch 2-out hits they needed with runners in scoring position. Byung-Hyun Kim threw 6 shutout innings, gave up 3 hits, walked 3, struck out 5 and recorded his first career victory against the Cubs.

Sean Marshall was not as sharp as his first outing of the season but pitched well enough to keep his team in the ballgame. As has been the case in many of Marshall’s Major League starts, he did not receive any run support and deserved a better outcome….even with the loss, Marshall’s ERA on the season stands at 2.70. Ryan Theriot made several fine defensive plays at shortstop and continues to outshine Cesar Izturis in the field and at the plate. The Cubs continue to waste very good outings by their starting pitching.

Four of the Cubs eight hits came in the bottom of the 9th inning as they spoiled the Marlins’ bid at a shutout. Taylor Tankersley started the inning for the Marlins and gave up a 4-pitch walk to Jacque Jones. Mark DeRosa followed with a single to left and Ryan Theriot singled to center to drive in Jones for the first run of the day. Fredi Gonzalez went to the pen for his closer Kevin Gregg. Angel Pagan pinch hit for Scott Eyre and struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Alfonso Soriano followed with a swinging strikeout of his own. With Cliff Floyd at the plate, Ryan Theriot took 2nd base (it was not a stolen base) and Floyd broke his bat with a bloop single to center that scored DeRosa and Theriot. Derrek Lee followed with a single to right but Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging, with the tying runs on base, to end the inning.

Scott Eyre pitched the last two innings of the game and the two runs he allowed ended up being the difference in the game. Eyre has lost all confidence on the mound and his performance in the 9th inning has to be cause for concern for Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild. In the 2 innings Eyre pitched, he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 4.

Miguel Cabrera greeted Eyre with a double to right on his first offering of the game. Eyre appeared to recover and struck out the next two batters he faced (Willingham and Hermida) but then allowed a 2-out single to left by Jason Wood (Soriano dove to catch the ball, it was in his glove and popped out). Eyre gave up another single in the inning before retiring Aaron Boone on a fly out to center to end the inning.

Reggie Abercrombie led off the 9th with a walk and stole both 2nd and 3rd base….on consecutive pitches and Eyre appeared to forget about him after throwing over to 1st at the beginning of Uggla’s at bat. Dan Uggla followed with a sacrifice fly to left to score, as it turned out, a very important insurance run for the Marlins. Eyre walked Hanley Ramirez and gave up a single to left by Cabrera before striking out both Willingham and Hermida (again) to end the inning.

Sean Marshall made the first mistake of the game, not with a pitch, but with a dropped ball. Reggie Abercrombie bunted Marshall’s first pitch and he was unable to cleanly field the ball that was on the 1st base side of the mound. By the time Marshall picked up the ball the speedy Abercrombie had reached 1st base (the error was the first for the Cubs in 8 games and ended the longest stretch of errorless games since they went 9 straight from June 4 – June 17th in 2004). Dan Uggla grounded to 3rd and Abercrombie was forced at 2nd for the first out of the inning. With 2-outs, Cabrera singled to left and with runners at 1st and 3rd, Josh Willingham broke an 0-13 slump with a single to right to score Uggla from 3rd. Marshall struck out Jeremy Hermida to end the inning.

Sean Marshall gave up a walk to Matt Treanor in the 2nd but pitched around the free pass and retired the Marlins in order in the 3rd. The Marlins, however, added a run in the 4th after back-to-back singles to Willingham and Hermida to lead off the inning. Jason Wood was robbed on an extra base hit by Aramis Ramirez but Willingham scored on the play to make it 2-0. Ryan Theriot helped keep the Marlins off the board in the 5th and 6th innings but Reggie Abercrombie hit a home run with 1-out into the left field basket in the 7th to chase Marshall from the game. Carlos Marmol recorded the final 2 outs in the 7th before Eyre took over in the 8th.

Sean Marshall threw 111 pitches, 68 for strikes in 6 1/3 innings of work. He allowed 3 runs, 2 earned on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6….a very good outing for a team’s 5th starter.

Cliff Floyd had a very good day. He reached base 4 of the 5 times he went to the plate on Monday….2 singles, 2 walks and 2 RBI’s. The Cubs left 10 on base, including the tying runs in the 9th and four times they had runners in scoring position with two outs and were able to capitalize just once.

Lou Piniella has to figure out a way to jumpstart his high-powered offense and build consistency on the field. There is not a word to describe how badly this team is underachieving.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to take the mound against Dontrelle Willis on Tuesday night under the lights.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein