Recurring Themes

Game Sixty-Three – Cubs 3 Mariners 5 – 13 innings
WP – Eric O’Flaherty (3-0) LP – Will Ohman (0-4) Save – J.J. Putz (19)

Loading the bases and failing to score, poor defense, mental errors both on the mound and on the bases, arguing in the dugout, wasting another quality start, giving up the winning runs after retiring the first two batters in the inning and losing another game decided by 2 runs or less. The Cubs dropped another extra inning game and like so many losses this year, one they should have won. The Cubs showed last week they are capable of playing fundamentally sound baseball but on Tuesday night they slipped back to the form that now finds them 7 games under .500.

Rich Hill pitched a good game but gave up a RBI single to Jarrod Washburn in the 4th inning that held up until the Cubs tied the game in the 8th. After failing to take the lead with the bases loaded and no outs in the 8th, the Cubs bullpen pitched extremely well, especially Bobby Howry, until the 13th inning. Jose Vidro doubled with 2-outs and scored the winning run on a single by Willie Bloomquist. While the Mariners posted their 5th straight victory with runs in their last at bat, they did everything they could to give the game away and yet the Cubs could not come away with the win.

The Cubs have to figure out a way to win games like Tuesday if they still have hopes at winning the division. It appears they abandoned the game plan early on against Jarrod Washburn that lead to two quick runs in the 1st inning and they could not get back on track….and then frustration set in. Once the Mariners took the lead, the base running blunders that have cost this organization so many games over the years reappeared and even the seemingly mild mannered Rich Hill had words for his catcher. Lou Piniella’s crew has too much talent, at least on paper, to continually play the way they do….

After the 2 runs in the first inning and failing to capitalize with the bases loaded, the Cubs scattered a couple of hits and walks but could not string together any hits against Washburn. In the 8th, Derrek Lee led off the inning with a double to right and scored on a single to center by Michael Barrett (the 400th RBI of his career)….the ball actually went off the glove of Betancourt at short. Mark DeRosa doubled to right center but Barrett had to make sure Ichiro could not make the catch and was unable to score from 1st. Cliff Floyd pinch hit for Matt Murton, but Hargrove walked him to load the bases. Brandon Morrow got Theriot to hit a chopper to Beltre at 3rd and he threw home to force Barrett for the 1st out. Hargrove then went to his pen again for a lefty….George Sherrill to face both Pie and Fontenot. Pie worked the count to 3-2 but looked at strike three and Fontenot struck out swinging to end the inning. The Cubs managed just 2 base runners until the 13th….1 hit and 1 walk.

Will Ohman gave up a 2-out, bases empty double to left by Jose Vidro that just missed landing in the basket. After a visit from Lou Piniella, Ohman intentionally walked Yuniesky Betancourt. Willie Bloomquist singled to right and Jacque Jones’ throw once again skipped in from the outfield but Vidro stopped running halfway to the plate and the ball beat him to the dish. Michael Barrett, however, could not hold on to the ball, lost it momentarily and allowed Vidro to score standing up on the second attempt. Ohman intentionally walked Ichiro and Jaime Burke pinch-hit for Eric O’Flaherty. Burke hit a liner down the 1st base line that Derrek Lee knocked down but Ohman did not cover 1st and Betancourt scored the 2nd run of the inning. Piniella went to the pen for Sean Gallagher. Jose Guillen hit a grounder in the hole at short and Ryan Theriot made a good play to force Burke at 2nd to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 13th, Jacque Jones struck out looking for the first out of the inning and Theriot and Pie both singled to put the tying runs on base. Mike Fontenot broke his bat and popped out to 2nd and Mike Hargrove pitched around Alfonso Soriano to load the bases. Koyie Hill grounded out to 1st to end the game.

Rich Hill pitched a good game but made several mental errors on the mound after the Mariners talked to the umpires about Hill committing a balk with his pick off move. Hill retired Ichiro on a ground out to 2nd to start the game but walked Jose Lopez (the only free pass on the night given up by Hill). Hill had Lopez leaning the wrong way but threw the pickoff throw away and Lopez advanced to 2nd. Jose Guillen single to left but Soriano came up throwing and kept Lopez from scoring. Hill then struck out Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson on fastballs to end the inning.

In between the 1st and 2nd inning, Mike Hargrove had multiple discussions with the umpires about Hill’s pick-off move and appeared to be claiming he was committing a balk. Hill appeared to lose a lot of confidence when the 2nd inning started after a conversation with one of the umpires. He gave up back-to-back hits to Kenji Johjima and Adrian Beltre to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. DeRosa made a good stop on a ball off the bat of Betancourt that he deflected to Izturis. The runners held and Betancourt was called out at 1st. However, Hill was called for a balk with Washburn at the plate….the first of Hill’s big league career.

After the 2nd, Hill appeared to settle down. Despite a solo home run by Jose Guillen in the 3rd, it only took 8 pitches for Hill to retire the Mariners in the inning. In the 4th, Johjima led off with a double and 2 outs later scored on the 9th career hit and 4th career RBI by Jarrod Washburn.

The Cubs had every opportunity, now they must learn how to win a ballgame.

Sean Marshall is scheduled to take the mound against Miguel Batista in the second game of the series on Wednesday night.

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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