Game Three of Five – Cubs 1 Dodgers 3
WP – Hiroki Kuroda (1-0) LP – Rich Harden (0-1) Save – Jonathan Broxton (1)
Dodgers Win Series, 3-0
The magical season of 2008 turned into a nightmare as the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs for the second year in a row. Lou Piniella’s crew was outplayed in every aspect of the game in the series against the Dodgers. After giving away the first two games, they were beaten on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium….and were not very competitive the entire series against an obviously superior Dodger team.
Rich Harden pitched a good game but a 2-run, 2-out double by James Loney in the 1st inning proved to be the difference in the game. Harden left after 4 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. The Cubs bullpen did not allow the Dodgers to tack on after Harden’s departure. Carlos Marmol tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Sean Marshall and Neal Cotts struck out the side in the 8th.
The Cubs left nine on base and in four different innings left two on base. The Cubs were not able to make productive outs when they needed one and failed to execute the fundamentals of baseball. Jim Edmonds recorded the Cubs’ only productive out in the series in the 4th inning.
Derrek Lee came through with three of the Cubs’ eight hits but he led off three different innings. Lee scored the Cubs only run after a lead off double in the 8th and a 2-out bloop single by Daryle Ward. The Cubs simply did not hit throughout the series and Joe Torre’s staff exposed all of the holes in the Cubs’ offense.
The Cubs managed 6 runs in 3 games with RBI’s from Mark DeRosa, Jim Edmonds and Daryle Ward….for the second October in a row, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez were no shows. Soriano finished with one hit, a single, in14 trips to the plate and Ramirez was 2-for-11 in the three games. The offense did not display the patience and approach at the plate that led to a 97-win season.
No one could have predicted the Cubs incredibly poor performance in the NLDS. In a year full of firsts and since, the Cubs became only the second team in the history of the division series to finish the season with the best record in the National League just to be swept out of the playoffs in the first round.
Simply put, this one should make for a long winter at the corner of Clark and Addison…. It will be easy to point fingers as to what went wrong. From Soriano not hitting, to Ramirez not hitting, to Ryan Dempster’s seven walks, to the four infield errors, to Piniella’s questionable decisions, to Reed Johnson not seeing the field to Fukudome’s struggles at the plate….nothing went right and the entire team could not stop pressing long enough to play just play ball.
The Cubs next game is not until the first week of April in Houston, after an extended Spring Training because of the World Baseball Classic. Opening Day in 2009 seems a long time away, but time is exactly what this organizations needs. Jim Hendry has a lot of work to do, the sale of the team must be finalized and the Faithful needs time to heal….
Check back later on Sunday for a few final thoughts on the season.