Swings and Misses

Game Fifty – Cubs 4 Marlins 9
WP – Dontrelle Willis (7-3) LP – Jason Marquis (5-2) Save – Kevin Gregg (6)

Ron Santo summed up the Cubs’ season very well, “They’re to anxious.” The Cubs built an early lead against Dontrelle Willis just to see it evaporate midway through the game due in large part to poor defense and bad base running. Jason Marquis could not recover from a 40-pitch 4th inning and ineffectiveness led to his departure after the 5th inning. Ryan Theriot’s pinch hit 2-run home run in 7th cut the Marlins lead to one but Michael Wuertz could not throw strikes in the 8th and the Marlins scored four more times to put the game out of reach.

The Cubs attempted another 9th inning comeback but after loading the bases with 1-out, Marlins’ closer, Kevin Gregg, struck out Cliff Floyd and Derrek Lee to end the game.

The Cubs managed a total of 13 base runners on the night, while the Marlins totaled 20 with 13 hits, 6 walks and an error by Aramis Ramirez. Jason Marquis was very sharp early in the game but a misplayed ball by Mark DeRosa opened the door to the 2-run 4th inning and the error by Ramirez in the 5th changed the inning. Extra chances typically lead to runs at the big league level and the Marlins took advantage of every opportunity the Cubs gave them.

After Jason Marquis retired the Marlins in order with ease to start the game, Derrek Lee hit his 4th home run of the season to left with 2-outs in the 1st inning….and it appeared the Cubs were going to have a break-out game. Mark DeRosa hit a ground rule double with 1-out in the 2nd (a fan interfered) but tried to advance on a groundout to Hanley Ramirez at short off the bat of Michael Barrett….Ramirez did not have to move, it was a routine grounder and DeRosa was out before he slid into 3rd. Angel Pagan worked a 2-out walk to flip the order but Michael Barrett wandered too far off 2nd base with Jason Marquis at the plate and Miguel Olivo picked him off….the misadventures in base running continued, they ran themselves out of the inning.

In the 3rd, Alfonso Soriano doubled to left with 1-out and advanced to 3rd on a groundout by Izturis (0-4 on the night). Derrek Lee followed with a double to right down the 1st base line to score Soriano but Aramis Ramirez swung at Willis’ first pitch and flied out to right. Jason Marquis was not able to help his own cause in the 4th; he struck out swinging to end the inning after DeRosa had singled and Barrett reached on an error. Willis settled in after the error by Jeremy Hermida in right. He retired the Cubs in order on 8 pitches in the 5th and 8 in a row before Barrett doubled to lead off the 7th. With 1-out, Lou Piniella pinch-hit for Carlos Marmol with Ryan Theriot and he homered to left on the first pitch from Willis.

Angel Pagan walked for the second time with 1-out in the 9th and Theriot reached on an error by Hanley Ramirez. Soriano followed with a single to right to load the bases and Fredi Gonzalez allowed Lee Gardner to throw just one pitch to Cliff Floyd. Kevin Gregg came in with a 1-0 count and Floyd worked the count to 3-2 before swinging at ball 4 for the second out of the inning. Derrek Lee ended the game after three pitches.

After a perfect 1st inning, Marquis pitched his way in and out of trouble in the 2nd. Miguel Cabrera led off with a single to center and advanced to 3rd on a double by Josh Willingham. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs, Marquis retired Hermida on an infield pop up, struck out Olivo and retired Aaron (Bleepin’) Boone on a ground out to 3rd to end the inning. Marquis threw first pitch strikes to 6 of the first 8 batters he faced.

Marquis gave up singles to Willis and Dan Uggla in the 3rd but a well-timed double play and a ground out by Ramirez allowed Marquis to keep the Marlins off the board. Marquis gave up his first walk of the game to Willingham with 1-out in 4th and Jeremy Hermida hit a hard line drive that short hopped DeRosa at 2nd. Hermida was given an infield single and Willingham ended up at 3rd….very good base running. The ball was hit hard but playable and should have ended the inning. Olivio hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Willingham and with Boone at the plate, Hermida stole 2nd on Barrett and Boone walked. Dontrelle Willis followed with a single off of Lee’s glove to score Hermida and Marquis walked Alfredo Amezaga to load the bases….Dan Uggla flied out to center to end the inning, 40 pitches in one inning.

Hanley Ramirez reached on a throwing error by Aramis Ramirez to lead off the 5th and advanced to 3rd on a broken bat, bloop single to center by Cabrera. Willingham popped out but Jeremy Hermida hit a 3-2 offering from Marquis into the stands in right. Marquis finished the inning but that would be his last. In 5 innings, Marquis allowed 5 runs, 4 earned on 8 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Carlos Marmol pitched the 6th and 7th innings and despite throwing a lot of pitches (42) he kept the Marlins off the board and gave up one hit, one walk and struck out 4. While the bullpen has been horrible this season, Michael Wuertz has been very solid for Lou Piniella….well until Tuesday night.

Wuertz walked the first two batters he faced in the 8th before a single by Dan Uggla loaded the bases and a single to left by Hanley Ramirez scored Aaron Boone. With 2-outs, Josh Willingham doubled over the head of Pagan in center to clear the bases.

Bobby Howry gave up a hit and struck out one in the 9th.

The Cubs threw 188 pitches on the night, 120 for strikes while the Marlins threw 153 pitches, 89 for strikes. Lou Piniella promised his team would be fundamentally sound and hopefully that team will take the field sometime soon.

Ted Lilly is scheduled to face former Cub, Sergio Mitre in the series finale on Wednesday night.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney