Three Losses for the Price of One – Cubs 3 Cardinals 4

Game Fifteen – Cubs 3 Cardinals 4
WP – Kyle McClellan (1-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (0-1) Save – Ryan Franklin (5)

Updated 11:36pm C.T. with Info on Carlos Marmol’s injury

Lou Piniella’s crew lost their third game in a row on Friday night…and to say they are stuck in a funk right now would be an understatement. They simply are not hitting, especially with runners on base.

More important than the game, or the loss to the Cardinals, is the fact that two of the players Lou Piniella and Jim Hendry are depending on this season left the game with injuries.

Aramis Ramirez led off the second inning with a double. He apparently strained his left calf legging out the extra base hit. Ramirez stayed in the game but was lifted in the bottom of the fifth. Ramirez is listed as day-to-day.

Carlos Marmol started the eighth and retired Rick Ankiel on a fly out to center. Albert Pujols followed with a single and stole second with Ryan Ludwick at the plate. Pujols scored the winning run on a single up the middle by Ludwick that Ryan Theriot could not keep in the infield. Marmol then hit Brian Barden on the very next pitch.

Yadier Molina took strike one from Marmol but he appeared to land awkwardly on his foot. After a visit from the trainer and Larry Rothschild, Marmol looked like he was going to remain in the game but Lou Piniella decided against it and replaced Marmol with Angel Guzman. No official word on the extent or type of injury was made but it appeared to be something with either his foot or his ankle.

The Cubs offense is not hitting right now and Lou Piniella’s lineup tinkering did not help. Ryan Theriot came to the plate at three crucial times in the game in the spot typically occupied by Alfonso Soriano. Theriot was unable to deliver but he was not the only one.

The Cubs scratched back to tie the game in the seventh inning with a big double by Mike Fontenot and a huge error by Skip Schumaker. The Cubs loaded the bases once again with no outs and managed to let the Cardinals off the hook.

With the game tied at three, Alfonso Soriano led off the eighth with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Miles. Derrek Lee was unable to elevate the ball and lined out to third for the second out…Fontenot struck out to end the inning. The Cubs put the leadoff man on in three different innings, two times with extra base hits and plated that run only once.

After a report on Thursday indicated Milton Bradley was sidelined indefinitely, he pinch hit on Friday night, drew a two-out walk in the ninth and Joey Gathright pinch ran for him.

Ryan Dempster pitched a decent game but had another bad inning…which is becoming a concerning trend. Dempster kept his team in the game and allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. All three runs Dempster surrendered came in the fifth inning after the Cubs failed to score in the top half.

The Cubs dropped their seventh of the season, and third in a row but depending on how long Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Marmol are sidelined, Friday night in St. Louis could cost them more down the road.

The entire team looks out of sync right now and is pretty much in a collective slump. Only four players are consistently producing at the plate and one of them left the game with a strained calf.

Ryan Dempster and Adam Wainwright were locked in a pitcher’s duel until the fifth inning. After Mike Fontenot struck out to start the fifth, Geovany Soto and Reed Johnson reached on back-to-back singles.

Ryan Dempster attempted a sacrifice bunt but did not get the ball far enough away from Yadier Molina. Molina picked up the ball, tagged Dempster and almost doubled off Soto at third. Soto beat the throw and the Cubs had runners on second and third with two outs in a scoreless game.

Ryan Theriot followed with a grounder to Albert Pujols in the hole between first and second. Pujols made a good pick to end the inning.

The Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the inning after Dempster walked Yadier Molina to start the frame. Khalil Greene followed with a single to left and both scored on a double to right center by Joe Thurston. Thurston advanced to third on the throw to the plate and scored on a single to left by Skip Schumaker.

Ryan Dempster worked around a ground rule double by Molina in the sixth and did not allow the Cardinals to tack on.

Derrek Lee started the three-run seventh with a single to center. Mike Fontenot ripped a double into left center that allowed Lee to score from first…their first earned run since the sixth inning on Tuesday night. Geovany Soto worked the Cubs first walk of the night and Reed Johnson blooped a single into center that loaded the bases.

Micah Hoffpauir pinch-hit for Ryan Dempster and hit a routine pop up into shallow left center on a 1-1 pitch. Skip Schumaker dropped the ball, which allowed Fontenot to score the Cubs second run. With the bases loaded and no outs, Ryan Theriot grounded into a 6-3 double play, Soto scored to tie the game…but it was a clear victory for the Cardinals. Kosuke Fukudome flied out to left with Johnson on third to end the inning.

The Cardinals won their eighth straight home game and the Cubs must get back to work on Saturday…and just relax and play the game.

Sean Marshall is scheduled to face Mitchell Boggs Saturday afternoon on FOX.

UpdateAccording to a report from Carrie Muskat, Carlos Marmol strained a muscle on the inside of his left knee when he tried to field Albert Pujols’ line drive single in the eighth inning.Marmol and Ramirez will be re-examined on Saturday.

Muskat reported that “Marmol scoffed at the idea of going on the DL.

Quote of the Day

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