Out of Control?

Game One Hundred Nineteen – Cubs 9 Reds 11
WP – Bill Bray (1-0) LP – Bobby Howry (5-7) Save – David Weathers (24)

The Reds continued their dominance of the Cubs at Wrigley with their 4th win of the season in 5 games after a 91-minute rain delay. The Reds hit 4 home runs, two off of Ted Lilly and the difference in the game was a 2-run homer by Josh Hamilton in the 8th off of Bobby Howry. The two teams combined for 20 runs on 23 hits with 6 home runs and the lead changed hand five times. The Cubs scored all 9 of their runs between the 2nd and 5th innings and managed just two baserunners against the Reds’ bullpen in the final 4 innings of the game.

Ted Lilly had a rough outing and gave up 6 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. He settled down and retired the last 7 batters he faced, left with a 9-6 lead and was in line for his 14th win of the season. Michael Wuertz gave up 3 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits while retiring only 1 batter in the 6th. Carlos Marmol allowed his second inherited run of the season to tie the game and was credited with his first blown save of the year. The Cubs bullpen allowed 5 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks in 4 innings while the Reds’ bullpen did not allow a run and gave up only 1 hit in their final 4 1/3 innings of relief.

The Cubs have lost 8 of their last 10 and are just a game above .500.

The Cubs offense finally figured out left handed pitching but unfortunately they have yet to figure out how to beat the Reds. The Reds always seem to play their best when they face the Cubs and Wednesday night was no exception. A day after pounding out 16 hits, the Reds recorded 12 more and just out slugged the Cubs.

The Cubs hit 5 doubles, 2 home runs that included Jason Kendall’s first as a Cub and showed a lot of patience at the plate….they walked 8 times. While the offense has struggled of late, it was the bullpen that blew another game. The Cubs play over the past two weeks is very reminiscent of what took place back in April and May.

After falling behind 2-0, the Cubs hit 4 doubles in the 2nd inning and scored 3 runs. Jake Fox started the inning with his first career big league hit, a double to left. Matt Murton followed with a double to center to score Fox and Jacque Jones doubled down the 3rd base line with one of the ugliest swings you will ever see….but it was effective and that is all that counts. With 2 outs, Jason Kendall doubled to left and was called safe at 2nd. The throw beat Kendall to the bag but Brandon Phillips did not tag Kendall apply the tag. Derrek Lee walked but Aramis Ramirez flied out to right on a 3-2 pitch.

The Cubs scored 3 runs in the 3rd inning on only 1 hit. Phil Dumatrait walked the first two batters he faced, Mark DeRosa and Jake Fox, before being lifted for Victor Santos. Santos walked Murton and Jones to force in a run….4 straight walks. Ted Lilly struck out then Ryan Theriot singled to left to plate Fox and Murton. Kendall popped out and Lee struck out to end the inning.

Aramis Ramirez led off the 4th with a solo home run to left. His 18th of the season gave the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Jason Kendall then went yard (well, it ended up in the basket) to left for a 2-run shot that gave the Cubs a 9-6 lead in the 5th.

While the Cubs scored 9 runs, they left 10 on base and when you cannot shut your opponent down, those left on base always comes back to haunt you….and that is exactly what happened on Wednesday.

Ted Lilly pitched his way out of trouble in the 1st inning. He allowed a bunt single to Norris Hopper and a bloop single to Jeff Keppinger but did not allow a run. In the 2nd inning a leadoff walk to Adam Dunn cost Lilly a run. Ryan Jorgensen (he was in the Cubs farm system and was a part of the Dontrelle Willis trade in 2002) recorded his first big league hit with 2 outs in the 2nd….a home run into the bleachers in left.

In the 3rd, Hopper led off the inning with a single to center. Keppinger sacrificed him to 2nd and Griffey singled to left center with the shift on to score Hopper and tie the game. Phillips lined out, Dunn was walked on 4 pitches, Lilly fell behind Jeff Conine and on a 3-2 pitch, Conine hit a 3-run homer to left. Lilly retired the next 7 batters he faced to complete his outing.

Michael Wuertz was just horrible. The Cubs built in a 3-run lead after 5 innings and Wuertz gave it up very quickly. Adam Dunn tattooed the first pitch of the inning from Wuertz over the right field wall. Conine reached on an infield single (Lee made a good play to stop the ball but Conine beat out his throw to Wuertz). Encarnacion followed with a double to left….Conine scored all the way from 1st base. Wuertz then threw a ball in the dirt that was ruled a wild pitch and Encarnacion advanced to 3rd. Wuertz retired Jorgensen on a pop out to center. Wuertz exited and Carlos Marmol came in.

Scott Hatteberg greeted Marmol with a sacrifice fly to center….it was only the second inherited run of the season Marmol has allowed, game tied. Bobby Howry pitched the 8th and struggled. Jorgensen singled with 1 out ahead of Josh Hamilton’s 2-run, pinch-hit homer. On a side note, hopefully the Cubs will not help out any more teams in their division in the upcoming Rule 5 draft….

The Cubs let another one slip away and maybe on Thursday afternoon they can play with the same intensity the Reds do when the two teams face one another.

Jason Marquis will look to salvage the last game of the series and help keep his team above the .500 mark. The Cubs will face another rookie left hander for the first time, Bobby Livingston.

Quote of the Day

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

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