A Nothing Night

Game Eleven – Cubs 1 Phillies 7
WP – Cole Hamels (2-1) LP – Ted Lilly (0-2) Save – None

After winning the first three games of the road trip, the Cubs dropped their second in row and were dominated once again by Cole Hamels. Lou Piniella’s offense managed only 1 hit and 2 walks in the first 7 innings against Hamels and his tremendous straight changeup. When they did make contact, several Cubs hit the ball hard, but only a double by Derrek Lee in the 4th inning found green. Ryan Theriot reached on a fielder’s choice in the 8th and scored on a single to right by Alfonso Soriano that accounted for the Cubs only run. The Cubs offense totaled 6 base runners, 3 hits and 3 walks in 9 innings.

For the third time in as many starts Ted Lilly could not complete 5 innings. Lilly once again struggled with his command, threw a lot of pitches and gave up 5 runs on 7 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Lilly surrendered two more home runs, one to Pedro Feliz in the 2nd inning and the other was a 2-run bomb to right center by Ryan Howard in the 5th that ended his night.

Ted Lilly’s struggles have gone from concerning to alarming as the Cubs number two pitcher failed to complete 5 innings of work. For as good as Lilly was a year ago, he has been the exact opposite to this point of the young season. Lilly is elevating pitches, missing his spots badly and has not shown anywhere near the composure and poise on the mound that he did in his first season with the Cubs.

Lilly gave up only a single in the 1st inning to Jayson Werth and struck out both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard….and for one brief inning he appeared to be ready to put his first two starts behind him.

Pat Burrell walked to start the 2nd inning and on a 1-0 pitch, Pedro Feliz quickly gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Lilly made a mistake and Feliz made him pay for it. After retiring the next two batters, Cole Hamels doubled to right center. Shane Victorino followed with a single to left….Hamels held at 3rd as Alfonso Soriano came up throwing to the plate. Lilly walked Werth to load the bases but retired Utley on a pop out to Ronny Cedeno behind the bag at second.

Lilly retired the next six he faced before the wheels came off in the 5th inning. Victorino singled up the middle of Ryan Theriot’s glove to start the inning. Chase Utley doubled to right and the Phillies had runners on 2nd and 3rd with only one out. With Ryan Howard at the plate, Lilly uncorked a wild pitch, Victorino scored easily from 3rd….3-0, Phillies.

With first base open and Pat Burrell on deck, Lilly elevated a 3-2 pitch to Ryan Howard….and the ball ended up in the stands in right center. Lou Piniella made the slow walk and Lilly was lifted for Kevin Hart.

Hart did a fine job out of the pen, nothing spectacular, just his job. Hart kept his team in the game and did not allow a run in 2 2/3 innings (1 hit, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts). Bobby Howry allowed the other 2 runs in the 8th on 3 hits….the Cubs really need Howry to start recording outs instead of giving up multiple runs every time he takes the mound.

All three phrases of the Cubs’ performance on Saturday night, to put it politely, was less than stellar. The lackadaisical play of this bunch of guys can be more than frustrating to watch….one can only imagine how challenging it is for Lou Piniella. This ‘team‘ has a ton of talent, and on paper, should be a very good team but until they all realize that baseball is that, a team sport, games like the one on Saturday night will continue to happen.

The Cubs will try to salvage the last game of the series on Sunday afternoon. Jason Marquis is scheduled to face Jamie Moyer.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver