Game Sixty-One – Cubs 1 White Sox 4
WP – John Danks (5-5) LP – Ryan Dempster (4-4) Save – Bobby Jenks (15)
Lou Piniella’s crew lost their fourth straight game to the White Sox due to the same old and tired offense that cannot produce. The Cubs avoided their sixth shutout of the season with a run in the eighth on a weak ground out to short by Alfonso Soriano that plated Aaron Miles. The Cubs offense managed only five hits all afternoon, one extra base hit, and did not manage a single walk while striking out 11 times.
Ryan Dempster struggled with his command and walked a season-high six batters but he allowed only three runs in six plus innings … his ninth quality start of the year. Dempster did his part and kept his team in the game. Dempster pitched good enough to win but did not receive any support from his offense whatsoever.
Lou Piniella addressed his team’s pathetic offense following the game. Piniella said, “It’s coming to a point where I’m going to have to make some tough decisions and make changes. I’ve tried to be patient.” After a few pauses due to frustration, Piniella added, “We’ll see. We’ll see. What can I say? Sooner or later you’ve got to start hitting or there will be changes.”
The Cubs blew two chances to score runs in the second and in the fourth down by only two runs (2-0). The Cubs finished the afternoon 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left four on base. The hardest hit balls all afternoon ended up being two outs … Ryan Theriot’s lineout in the sixth and Jake Fox’s fly out to deep left center in the eighth that would have been a home run on any other day.
The Sox played the game right on Wednesday afternoon. After Alexei Ramirez gave them a 1-0 lead with his sixth longball of the year in the first inning, Brian Anderson reached on a bloop single and scored on a broken bat triple by Chris Getz in the second.
The Sox third run came in the seventh on a suicide squeeze by Scott Podsednik … and a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski in the eighth plated their fourth run. While the Sox have their own issues with scoring runs, at least they can get runners in from third with less than two outs.
The entire roster is pressing right now, with the possible exception of Derrek Lee who extended his hitting streak to 14 games on Wednesday. The Cubs are not changing their approach at the plate with two strikes and they are refusing to hit the ball where it is pitched. Even ‘the little guys‘ are swinging for the fences during every at bat. One of the reasons the Cubs were so successful a year ago was due to the fact they made pitchers work, took walks and were patiently aggressive … this year they are striking themselves out.
For the fourth time this year the Cubs are looking up at the .500 mark…. The Cubs had two scoring chances in the first four innings that they could not capitalize on … and it set the tone for the rest of the game. Derrek Lee reached on a single past Gordon Beckham in the second. The Cubs then received a break when Beckham could not handle a would-be-double-play-ball off the bat of Geovany Soto.
With runners on first and second, and no outs, Reed Johnson grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Mike Fontenot grounded out to first on a 2-0 pitch from John Danks.
Ryan Theriot led off the fourth with the Cubs second hit of the game … an infield single off of Gordon Beckham’s glove. Milton Bradley (2-for-4, two bloop singles) fisted a single into left. Theriot advanced to third on the play. With runners on first and third, no outs and down by two, Derrek Lee flied out to shallow center. Brian Anderson made a nice running catch toward the infield for the first out of the inning. Geovany Soto then struck out on a 2-2 offering from John Danks … and Reed Johnson grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
Until the eighth inning, that was the Cubs offense for the entire afternoon. Danks retired the Cubs in order on eight pitches (two strikeouts) in the fifth. Milton Bradley reached on a two-out bloop single in the sixth, but Derrek Lee struck out swinging to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano was horrible once again, despite the RBI. Soriano was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is hitting .225 this season with a .292 OBP.
Lou Piniella must make changes. He can no longer run out the same lineup and expect different results. They are wasting very good to excellent pitching performances day in and day out.
And just for the record … John Danks tipped his cap when he was removed in the eighth inning.
Carlos Zambrano is slated to face Gavin Floyd in the finale of the rain shortened two-game series on Thursday afternoon … again, weather permitting.