Game One Hundred Forty – Cubs 0 Astros 4
WP – Randy Wolf (9-11) LP – Ryan Dempster (15-6) Save – None
After posting seven consecutive wins a week ago, the Cubs lost their fifth in a row for the first time this season and completed a miserable week on the North Side of Chicago. Not only did the Cubs lose, but they were shutout for the second time in the series and the fifth time at Wrigley this year. The Cubs offense scattered 6 hits, all singles, against the veteran southpaw….with no runs. Randy Wolf recorded his first complete game shutout since April 24, 2004 in Montreal with pinpoint command and a very liberal strike zone by the home plate umpire.
The Cubs offense tried to lift the ball against Wolf and with the wind blowing in they simply did not hit the ball hard enough to do any damage.
Ryan Dempster did not bring his A-game, but deserved a better result than he received. Dempster only made a few mistakes but the Astros did all of their damage with 2 outs. Hunter Pence reached on a 2-out hustle double to left center in the 2nd and scored on a single by Humberto Quintero. In the 5th inning the Astros put the game away after a 2-out single by Michael Bourn and the first hit of the series by Ty Wigginton….a 2-run homer to left center that the wind did not hold in the park.
The Cubs offense made Randy Wolf look like Cy Young. Wolf struck out 8 on a night the Cubs appeared very lifeless in the field and at the plate.
The Cubs were swept at home for the first time this season and will have a long off day and a trip to Cincinnati to think about the last week.
With the Brewers struggling just as bad as the Cubs, the standings in the Central Division between the top two teams remain the same as they were on Sunday afternoon. After looking like a first place team for the seven games leading up to Saturday afternoon’s match up against the Phillies, the Cubs looked equally as bad in the last five games. Poor fundamentals, little to no patience at the plate, poor defense and every other way a team can play poorly on a diamond.
Following the game Lou Piniella said they were beaten. No excuses. They were out played and will have to find a way to get out of their slump. Piniella added every team will deal with adversity and right now the Cubs are dealing with it.
The Cubs only scoring chance came in the 5th after Ronny Cedeno led off the inning with a walk. Ryan Dempster sacrificed him to 2nd base (Dempster’s second of the night and 18th of the season, a new franchise record). Alfonso Soriano followed with a single to left but Ty Wigginton threw out Ronny Cedeno at the plate….Alfonso Soriano remained at 1st base as the throw went home. Soriano must run hard out of the box, he could have drawn a throw that allowed Cedeno to score. But instead he looked at the throw when he should have at least been at 2nd base with 2 outs for Ryan Theriot….
For the second time this week, this will be a short recap for obvious reasons….nothing to report.
Here is one interesting stat….before tonight only five teams in both leagues had not lost five games in a row this season. The Marlins, the Rays, the Angels, the Yankees and the Cubs.
The Cubs are off on Thursday and will try to get back on track on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. Ted Lilly versus Bronson Arroyo….