A Pitcher’s Best Friend

Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven – Cubs 2 Dodgers 6
WP – Brad Penny (15-4) LP – Steve Trachsel (6-9) Save – None

Lou Piniella’s crew had plenty of opportunities to give Steve Trachsel his first win in a Cubs’ uniform since September of 1999 but they could not string together any hits and the struggling offense hit into 5 double plays. The Cubs came away empty in the 1st inning after loading the bases and left runners in scoring position in 3 of the first 4 innings. They managed only 2 runs on 7 hits with 3 walks against Brad Penny in 7 innings.

Steve Trachsel did his part, he kept his team in the game and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings. Brad Penny started the Dodgers 2-run rally in the 5th with a 2-out double. The Dodgers scored 3 more runs in the 7th and 8th innings off of Kerry Wood and Will Ohman and for the second day in a row every Dodger starter had at least one hit. Alfonso Soriano recorded his 12th and 13th outfield assists of the year when he threw out Juan Pierre at the plate in the 5th and Russell Martin in the 8th. Kevin Hart made his big league debut in the 8th and after walking Ramon Martinez to force in a run, he settled down and struck out 3 of the 7 batters he faced.

The Cubs dropped their second game in a row and are 4-4 on the 10-game homestand but remain a half game ahead of the Brewers and a game up on the Cardinals in the division race.

When the season started no one felt the Cubs’ offense would have trouble scoring runs on a regular basis. Sure there would be slumps but no one could have predicted the inconsistency Lou Piniella’s club has had this year. The Cubs are hitting the ball, that is not the problem, only Jacque Jones and Jason Kendall were held hitless on Tuesday night and the Cubs walked 4 times. The entire team appears to be tight right now and they are trying to do too much, the end result is what happened again on Tuesday.

Alfonso Soriano led off the game with an infield single. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to right and the Cubs had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Derrek Lee stepped in and grounded into his third double play in two games….6-4-3. Brad Penny then walked Aramis Ramirez and Daryle Ward on 8 pitches to load the bases. Mark DeRosa stepped in and flied out to right on the first pitch he saw.

Penny retired the Cubs in order in the 2nd and worked around a 2-out double to Derrek Lee in the 3rd. Daryle Ward led off the 4th with a single to center. On a 3-2 pitch to DeRosa, Piniella started Ward from 1st and he ended up at 3rd on a single to left. Jacque Jones followed with a grounder to 2nd, Ward scored, DeRosa was forced and Jones was safe at 1st. Jason Kendall followed with the second double play of the game….6-3 to end the inning.

Penny shut the Cubs down in the 5th but Aramis Ramirez reached on an error by Andy LaRoche with 1-out in the 6th. Ward followed with a double over Pierre’s head in center and Ramirez scored from 1st with the Cubs second and last run of the game….Ramirez made a good head first slide to avoid the tag by Russell Martin. DeRosa singled to right but Mike Quade held Ward at 3rd. Jacque Jones stepped in with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out and hit into the Cubs third double play of the game….4-6-3 to end the inning and the Cubs’ last scoring chance of the night.

Steve Trachsel worked around an error by Aramis Ramirez in the 1st inning, he picked off Matt Kemp to erase the mistake. Jeff Kent led off the 2nd with a single, Luis Gonzalez walked and Russell Martin blooped a single into right. Daryle Ward could not make the catch but forced Gonzalez at 2nd for the out….a 9-6 fielder’s choice. James Loney followed and ended the inning with a 6-3 double play.

Trachsel retired the Dodgers in order in the 3rd but Matt Kemp reached on an infield single in the 4th with 1-out. Trachsel retired Kent for the second out. Luis Gonzalez followed with a single to right to plate Kemp with the 1st run of the game….Kemp stole 2nd earlier in the at bat.

The Cubs problems with the opposing pitchers at the plate continued on Tuesday. Trachsel struck out both James Loney and Andy LaRoche to start the inning but Brad Penny doubled to left….with 2-outs. Rafael Furcal followed with a single to center, Penny was held at 3rd….1st and 3rd with 2 outs for Juan Pierre. Pierre singled to right, Penny scored and Pierre stole 2nd with Matt Kemp at bat. Kemp singled to left, Furcal scored but Soriano threw out Pierre at home to end the inning.

Trachsel retired the Dodgers in order in the 6th….

Kerry Wood took the mound in the 7th. James Loney singled to left and scored on a double to right by Andy LaRoche. Wood struck out Penny and Furcal grounded out to short, LaRoche advanced to 3rd. Juan Pierre reached on a bunt single to Derrek Lee, LaRoche scored the second run of the inning.

Will Ohman took the mound to start the 8th. Luis Gonzalez (lefty) singled to center. Russell Martin (righty) followed with a double to center. Ohman was left in to face James Loney (lefty). Ohman quickly fell behind 2-0 and then Piniella asked for the other 2 to be thrown intentionally wide as he stood at the top of the dugout stairs. Piniella lifted Ohman for Kevin Hart. Will Ohman should have made his last appearance of the season on Tuesday, the look on Piniella’s face said it all….

Piniella threw Hart into the fire and after walking Ramon Martinez to force in the Dodgers’ 6th run, the rookie settled down. He struck out Mike Sweeney for his first big league “K”. Furcal followed with a fly out to left and Soriano threw out Russell Martin at the plate to end the inning. Hart worked around a 1-out triple by Matt Kemp in the 9th and did not allow another run. Hart was very impressive….

Wednesday is a new day….

Ted Lilly is scheduled to face fellow southpaw, Eric Stults on Wednesday night. The rookie will face the Cubs for the first time.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein