Z End of the Streak

Game Ten – Cubs 3 Phillies 5
WP – Brett Myers (1-1) LP – Carlos Zambrano (1-1) Save – Brad Lidge (2)

The Cubs’ 5-game winning streak came to an end on Friday night in Philadelphia at the hands of Brett Myers. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in the 1st inning but the Cubs offense managed only 6 hits on the night against the Phillies’ top pitcher. Alfonso Soriano added his second home run of the season in the 6th. For the first time this year the ‘Big Three‘ each hit home runs in the same game. Kosuke Fukudome’s streak of reaching base in every game came to an end….he was 0-for-4 hitting behind Soriano in the lineup.

Carlos Zambrano struggled with his command and pitched from behind in the count most of the night. The Cubs’ ace surrendered 5 runs on 9 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings. Pat Burrell stayed hot and drove in 3 of the Phillies 5 runs. Burrell tied the game in the 4th with a 2-run home run and drove in the eventual winning run with a double in the 6th. Zambrano simply did not have it on Friday night.

Brett Myers once again dominated the Cubs as their struggles in Philadelphia continued. Last season the Cubs lost 2 of 3 and after a promising start on Friday, this year’s 3-game series picked up where it ended last May. The Cubs offense totaled 6 hits, 3 were home runs and the only other ‘clean’ hit was a single up the middle by Derrek Lee. Mark DeRosa reached on an infield single that should have been an out and So Taguchi could not hold onto the double in the 9th by Aramis Ramirez.

Lou Piniella’s crew looked tired and made it very easy on Brett Meyers with a lot of first pitch swings and not even Fukudome worked the count….for example, Myers retired the Cubs in order in the 5th inning on just 9 pitches.

Carlos Zambrano escaped trouble in the 1st inning after the Phillies put the first two runners on base. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Zambrano struck out Chase Utley on a 3-2 pitch and Geovany Soto threw out Greg Dobbs at 2nd….strike ’em out, throw ’em out. Zambrano then struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning.

Zambrano appeared to settle down and was quite effective. He retired 7 batters in a row after Soto threw out Dobbs. Shane Victorino reached on an infield single with 2 outs in the 3rd inning but Zambrano recovered and retired Dobbs on a ground out to 2nd to end the inning.

In the 4th inning, Zambrano gave up a leadoff single to Chase Utley. The Cubs shifted for Ryan Howard and the defensive shift had a big impact on the final outcome of the game. Howard grounded to Derrek Lee, Lee turned and threw to Aramis Ramirez covering 2nd. Utley went in hard, disrupted the play and Aramis’ return throw was off the mark….Howard was safe.

Pat Burrell stepped in and took Zambrano’s first pitch of the at bat over the left field wall. It was a no doubter and the game was tied at 2.

Zambrano retired the first two batters to start the 5th with a lot of help from two solid defensive plays by Ryan Theriot….but Zambrano issued his only walk to the next batter, Shane Victorino. Greg Dobbs followed with a double to left center that was caught by Kosuke Fukudome….and yes, you read that right.

Fukudome made the catch on the ball in left center but right after he bumped into Alfonso Soriano and the ball came free. Replays showed Fukudome caught the ball, took a few steps and then lost the ball. The speedy Victorino scored easily from 1st base.

The Phillies broke the 3-3 tie in the 6th with back-to-back doubles by Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell and a 1-out RBI single by Carlos Ruiz.

Every game is important, but this was one of those a team loses in the span of 162 games, nothing more or nothing less.

Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Cole Hamels in the second game of the series on Saturday night. The Cubs need Lilly to have a good outing and Lou Piniella needs his offense to put up runs against one of the best left handers in the National League.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt