Ugly, Uglier and Ugliest? – Cubs 2 D’Backs 9

Game One Hundred – Cubs 2 Diamondbacks 9
WP – Yusmeiro Petit (1-1) LP – Jason Marquis (6-6) Save – None

Did the Chicago Cubs just hit rock bottom for the 2008 season? After scoring a total of two runs in the first three losses of the road trip, the Cubs offense continued to struggle on Tuesday night in the desert. The team wide slump jumped from concerning to alarming in the worst played game of the year for Lou Piniella’s crew. The Cubs managed only 2 runs in a game that was actually closer than the final score. The Diamondbacks scored 6 of their 9 runs in the 7th and 8th innings off of Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart….but the last two innings was a total team collapse.

Sean Marshall uncorked two wild pitches in the 7th that allowed the D’Backs fourth run of the game to score before serving up a home run to Orlando Hudson. Kevin Hart walked 3, hit a batter and gave up 4 runs, 2 earned, on 2 doubles in 2/3 of an inning. Micah Hoffpauir and Derrek Lee both committed errors in the 8th as the Cubs did not in any way resemble the team that had such a solid first half of the season.

Jason Marquis turned in a quality start. He allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. Conor Jackson gave Arizona a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on his 10th long ball of the year. The D’Backs added a run in the 3rd on 2 hits and a walk. Marquis hit Alex Romero on a 1-2 pitch with 1 out in the 4th and he scored on a 2-out double by Stephen Drew on another 1-2 pitch from Marquis.

Mike Fontenot and Daryle Ward drove in the Cubs two runs. Fontenot tripled home Mark DeRosa with 2 outs in the 4th and cut the Diamondbacks’ lead to 2-1. Daryle Ward hit his first pinch-hit home run of the year in the 8th and made it a 5-2 game at the time. Ryan Theriot recorded two more hits and leads the National League with 40 multi hit games.

The Cubs were given every opportunity to win the game on Tuesday. Aramis Ramirez continued his slump. Ramirez was 0-for-3 with a walk and is 0-for-20 with a walk since the break. Derrek Lee grounded into his 21st double play of the year to go along with his 0-for-4 night. Lee stranded 5 runners in his 4 at bats.

The Cubs are simply trying to do too much. Before the 7th inning, it was just at the plate, but the offensive struggles carried over into the field in the last two innings.

With the loss the Cubs are 1-10 in their last 11 games at Chase Field and 13-27 all-time. For the year, the Cubs hit a season low 9 games under .500 on the road at 21-30.

Even with the loss on Tuesday the Cubs are 22-10 against the west with one game left…but changes should be coming from Lou Piniella. The Cubs’ skipper appeared emotionless in the dugout during the game, and a quiet Lou should be a good sign of things to come. To have been a fly on the wall in the clubhouse following the game….

The Cubs had chances but could simply not come up with a hit with runners on base while the game was still in question.

After a 10-pitch 1st inning, Yusmeiro Petit walked two batters in the 2nd inning. With runners on 1st and 2nd and down by only 1 run, Geovany Soto fouled out to Chad Tracy and Mike Fontenot flied out to center.

In the 3rd, Ryan Theriot reached on a 1-out ground rule double to left center. Theriot’s ball bounced off the barrier in the deepest part of the park and cost Theriot a triple. Kosuke Fukudome walked….but Derrek Lee flied out to the warning track in right and Aramis Ramirez flied out to the track in left.

The Cubs lone run off Petit came in the 4th inning. Mark DeRosa worked a 1-out walk and scored on a 2-out triple to right center by Mike Fontenot….the first triple of the season by Little Fontenot. Jason Marquis struck out swinging with the tying run on 3rd.

Kosuke Fukudome reached on a 1-out single to center in the 5th but Derrek Lee swung at a 2-0 pitch and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

After Mark DeRosa was stranded at 2nd following a 2-out double in the 6th, Ryan Theriot worked a 2-out walk in the 7th. Fukudome followed with a single to left past a diving Stephen Drew but Derrek Lee grounded out to Hudson up the middle to end the inning….the score was 3-1 at the time.

The Cubs added a run in the 8th on Ward’s solo home run but they would not get any closer than the 2-run deficit in the 7th….the Diamondbacks took advantage of all the mistakes and bad pitching in the last two innings. The three errors committed by the Cubs defense were their first mistakes in the last 5 games.

Forget the records, forget the standings….the Cubs need to win a ballgame. And it is up to Lou Piniella to pull the right strings to get his team playing like a first place ball club again.

Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Doug Davis in the finale on Wednesday.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon