Lefties

Game One Hundred Four – Cubs 1 Phillies 4
WP – Cole Hamels (12-5) LP – Ted Lilly (11-5) Save – Brett Myers (7)

Lou Piniella’s crew continued their struggles against left-handed starters on Monday night and dropped to 9-16 on the season against southpaws. Cole Hamels dominated the Cubs lineup and allowed just 3 hits in 8 strong innings of work. The lone run of the game came off of Ryan Theriot’s 3rd home run of the year in the 6th inning. Hamels and Brett Myers combined to retire the last 12 batters in a row, after the Theriot homer, to end the game. The Cubs offense had the leadoff runner on in 4 of the first 6 innings but could not string together any hits against Cole Hamels.

Ted Lilly lost for the first time since June 3rd and while he had problems with his command, he made only two mistakes. Lilly gave up a 3-run home run to Aaron Rowand in the 3rd and a solo home run by Tadahito Iguchi in the 5th. The two home runs by the former southsiders were the first long balls allowed by Lilly since July 19th and it was the first time Lilly had allowed multiple home runs in the same game since June 21st in Texas.

Cole Hamels simply out pitched Ted Lilly on Monday night. Hamels had his devastating changeup working and he kept the Cubs offense off balance all night long. While Hamels is an All-Star and is quickly becoming one of the best in the league, the clock is ticking on Jim Hendry to make a deal before the deadline on Tuesday. The Cubs need a bat that can hit left handed pitching on a consistent basis and unfortunately both Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno proved once again on Monday they are not the answer to the very puzzling question.

Ted Lilly just did not have it on Monday and lost for the first time in over seven weeks. Lilly found himself in hitter’s counts all night and threw 97 pitches in 5 innings with only 59 being strikes. Lilly retired the first two batters he faced on the night but gave up a double to Jimmy Rollins that came within inches of being a home run. The ball hit off the top of the basket in left and Alfonso Soriano made a good play on the ball to hold the speedy Rollins to a double. Lilly struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning.

The Phillies did not score any runs in the 2nd inning but they made Lilly work. Pat Burrell and Wes Helms reached on a single and a walk but Lilly went deep in the count to 3 of the 5 batters he faced in the inning. Lilly struck out Cole Hamels on his 29th pitch of the inning.

In the 3rd Lilly walked Tadahito Iguchi with 1-out. An excellent catch by Derrek Lee retired Jimmy Rollins….Lee made a running catch down the right field line with his back to the infield in foul territory. Ryan Howard followed with a double to right. Matt Murton did a good job with getting the ball back into the infield and holding Iguchi at 3rd. Aaron Rowand followed with his first career home run at Wrigley Field….a shot just to the right of straight away center. Lilly walked Pat Burrell….ball 4 was Lilly’s 65th pitch of the night. Wes Helms flied out to center to end the inning.

Lilly retired the Phillies in order in the 4th but hung a curve to Iguchi in the 5th and he hit his 5th career home run against Cubs’ pitching. Lilly gave up a single to Rowand with 2 outs in the inning but did not allow another run. He was pulled in the bottom of the 5th for pinch hitter, Ronny Cedeno. Lilly gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Piniella’s bullpen did not allow the Phillies to add to their lead. Michael Wuertz pitched a perfect 6th but made it very interesting in the 7th. Wuertz walked Greg Dobbs to lead off the inning (Dobbs replaced Michael Bourn in right field when he left the game after tripping over the bullpen mound in right in the 5th. Bourn replaced Shane Victorino who left in the 4th with a strained right calf). Dobbs moved to 2nd on a wild pitch but Iguchi grounded back to the mound and Wuertz threw out Dobbs at 2nd….he was caught in no-man’s land. Wuertz walked Rollins but struck out Ryan Howard and Rowand grounded out to short to end the inning.

Rocky Cherry threw the ball a lot better than he did on Friday night….he threw strikes. He struck out Pat Burrell and Wes Helms grounded out to 3rd but Carlos Ruiz singled to left with 2 outs. Cherry retired Hamels on a pop out to Aramis Ramirez in foul ground to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th and once again struggled. While the Cubs are expecting Kerry Wood back by the weekend and his presence (if he can stay healthy) will be a welcomed addition to the bullpen, they have to get Ryan Dempster back on track. Dempster gave up a 1-out walk to Iguchi and a single to right by Jimmy Rollins. Dempster uncorked a wild pitch with Howard at the plate but a good play by Jason Kendall kept the ball from rolling to far away from the plate. He tossed to Dempster who blocked the plate and tagged out Iguchi. Dempster struck out Howard to end the inning.

The Cubs managed just 3 hits off of Cole Hamels. A single by Aramis Ramirez leading off the 2nd inning….an infield single by Ryan Theriot off of Hamels’ leg to lead off the 4th and Theriot’s home run in the 6th. The other two baserunners came via the walk in the 5th. Matt Murton walked to lead off the inning and Jason Kendall walked a batter later. But Ronny Cedeno swung at the first pitch and popped out to Ryan Howard and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.

Lou Piniella has to figure out a way to put his crew’s left handed struggles behind them….and soon. There are still three more scheduled on this homestand.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday night against Adam Eaton. The Cubs could finish the month with a 17-9 record depending on which Jason Marquis takes the hill.

Quote of the Day

"Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
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