Game One Hundred Forty-One – Cubs 2 Reds 10
WP – Bronson Arroyo (14-10) LP – Ted Lilly (13-9) Save – None
Call it a slump, call it a swoon but one thing is for certain, after the Cubs sixth straight loss it is up to Lou Piniella to find solutions to the problems. The Cubs have not looked like the same team over the past week that took the field for the first 5 months of the season. They have forgotten how to play winning ball and a majority of the roster is pressing and trying to do too much. At the same time the Cubs are not doing the little things it takes to win ballgames and are making mental error after mental error. Are they feeling the pressure of 100 years?
Ted Lilly and Jon Lieber were rocked and allowed the game to get out of reach by the 4th inning. Joey Votto hit his 8th home run of the season off of Cubs pitching in the 1st inning after Brandon Phillips beat out a throw from Ryan Theriot on an attempted inning ending double play. Lilly barely made it out of the 1st inning and surrendered 3 more runs in the 2nd inning. A double by Jeff Keppinger, a bases loaded walk to Joey Votto and a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion were the run scoring plays. Lilly left after only 2 innings and gave up 5 runs, all earned, on 4 hits with 3 walks, a hit batsman and a strikeout.
Jon Lieber made his first appearance since July 10th against the Reds and after facing the minimum in the 3rd, he surrendered another home run in the 4th inning…..this time a grand slam to Jay Bruce that gave the Reds a 9-0 lead.
The Reds added their tenth run in the 7th off of Kevin Hart after a double by Jay Bruce on a 0-2 pitch and a single to center by Ryan Hanigan.
The only positive on the evening for the Cubs, other than Lou Piniella finding his way to the park, was Koyie Hill. Hill made his first appearance of the season and was responsible for both of the Cubs’ runs. One on his first hit, a double in the 7th that plated Jim Edmonds, and a single in the 8th that scored Mike Fontenot after Jay Bruce over ran the ball in right. The rest of the Cubs offensive attack managed only 4 hits, all singles, and all four never left the infield.
The Cubs are flat and struggling and despite the Brewers winning in extra innings on Friday night will go to the ballpark on Saturday with a 4-game lead in the division.
For the past two seasons Lou Piniella has proven how good of a manager he is….well, it is time for a reminder. The Reds offense once again pummeled Cubs’ pitching. Joey Votto hit another longball and added a double. Is the staff tipping their pitches or does Dusty Baker actually know something? Could the old relationship between Dusty and Larry Rothschild be costing the Cubs now? All of the home runs the Reds have hit this season off of Cubs pitching sure makes one wonder….
Bronson Arroyo dominated the Cubs offense. After being shutout on Wednesday night against Randy Wolf, the Cubs did not manage their first run until the 7th inning….and it was driven in by Koyie Hill in his first big league at bat of the year. Arroyo mowed down the impatient Cubs offense in the 1st inning, Arroyo struck out the side on just 10 pitches. It was that kind of night for the Chicago Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez were 1-for-9 with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts….three by Soriano, swinging.
Piniella emptied his bench in the bottom of the 6th. Ronny Cedeno (3B), Mike Fontenot (2B), Daryle Ward (1B) and Koyie Hill (C) received time in the field and in Hill’s case, took advantage of the opportunity.
Great American Ball Park was once again full with the Cubs Faithful. Not even the 25-minute rain delay and periods of showers throughout the game could keep them away. However the crowd was much smaller than the announced number of 31,213….with much more blue than red. The classy Reds organization went out of their way to make sure the Cubs fans enjoyed their night at the park….one of the Reds mascots held up a sign that read, “Got Goat?” and after the game the scoreboard flew a white flag with a red ‘W‘ on it.
For the sixth game in a row the Cubs played badly and hopefully will find a way, soon, to post a victory.
Jason Marquis is scheduled to face Johnny Cueto on Saturday night in game two of the series….