Game Fifty-One – Cubs 0 Marlins 9
WP – Randy Messenger (1-1) LP – Ted Lilly (4-3) Save – None
Is this rock bottom for Lou Piniella’s crew? When the word spread that the Cubs had a players only meeting before Wednesday night’s game and that is was Derrek Lee’s idea, it gave hope for this group of players to once and for all gel into a team….well that was not the case. If Piniella thought Tuesday’s game was the worst of the season, what will he say about this one? Nothing, absolutely nothing went the Cubs way….bad pitching, no hitting and poor defense, what is the line from Bull Durham again? And to add insult to injury, the Marlins hit 4 home runs and the Cubs high-powered offense managed just 5 singles.
The Cubs were shutout for the second time this season, the Marlins swept a 3-game series at Wrigley for the first time and with the loss the Cubs fell to a season low 7 games under .500. There are 111 games left in the 2007 season, how much longer can Lou Piniella and Jim Hendry just allow this to continue?
No runs on 5 hits, while allowing 9 runs on 12 hits pretty much sums up the evening. Dan Uggla, a Rule 5 draft pick, hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 while Sergio Mitre showed Jim Hendry exactly what he let go. Mitre gave up just 3 hits in 4 innings of work while striking out 7 before he left the game in the top of the 5th with a leg injury after trying to beat out a sacrifice bunt. Mitre kept the ball down and the ultra aggressive Cubs made it very easy for him. The Cubs had only one scoring opportunity on the night and did not record a hit or a base runner in the last 3 innings of the game until Lee Gardner plunked Mark DeRosa with 2 outs in the 9th in obvious retaliation for Ted Lilly hitting Aaron Boone and Angel Guzman hitting Reggie Abercrombie.
The Marlins scored in all but 4 innings and were retired in order in the 3rd and 4th innings. Ted Lilly had control problems early in the game but settled down and threw strikes. Lilly gave up only 1 hit after the 2nd inning (the 4th run of the game in the 5th came after Lilly hit Boone, an error and a sacrifice fly) until a 2-out single by Jeremy Hermida in the 6th. Lilly pitched around the 2 out base runner but could not in the 7th.
Aaron Boone singled to center to start the 7th and after striking out the next two batters he faced, Lilly gave up a wind blown 2-run homer to center by Dan Uggla. Angel Guzman was horrible in the 8th and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits with the big blow coming courtesy of Josh Willingham. The four hits Guzman gave up….two singles, a double and a home run, and unfortunately all of them were hit hard.
The Cubs offense scattered 5 hits, two by Cliff Floyd and one by Ted Lilly. Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot were a combined 0-8. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez accounted for the other two hits on the night.
Lou Piniella has a day off to figure out what is next.
The Cubs open a 3-game series at Wrigley on Friday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the hill against Kyle Davies.