Game Seventy-Two – Cubs 0 White Sox 6
WP – John Danks (6-6) LP – Carlos Zambrano (4-3) Save – None
For all of the Cubs’ problems this year they had yet to fall two games under the .500 mark … until Sunday. The White Sox embarrassed the Cubs on the South Side and won the weekend series two games to one. The Cubs were shutout for the seventh time this season and twice in the last week. The woeful Cubs offense managed only four hits, one for extra bases, but walked four times. They had chances early on against John Danks and once again could not come up with a clutch hit. Lou Piniella’s crew finished the afternoon 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.
It was a long day for the Cubs after arguably one of their worst efforts of the year. Carlos Zambrano did not step up and give his team any stability. After saying before the game that Interleague games bore him because he cannot bat, Zambrano allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits with two walks, two hit batsmen and three strikeouts.
The White Sox pounded out 13 hits against Cubs’ pitching and received gifts from the Cubs sub-par defense.
After showing signs on Friday and Saturday of starting to put together a little consistency offensively, the Cubs took several steps back on Sunday with a horrible day at the plate against an above average pitcher. Sunday got so bad that the eternal optimist, Ron Santo, started singing “Kumbaya” during the eighth inning and said, “You’ve either got to laugh or cry and I’ve been doing too much crying lately.”
Following the game Lou Piniella said, “Not a good game for us at all. Not a good game. You don’t mind getting beat like the way we did on Saturday but this was not good. We are going to have to sure up some areas.”
The Cubs have lost 6 of 7 and finish the bulk of their Interleague schedule with a 6-8 record … with a game remaining in September. Lou Piniella’s crew will enter play Monday in fourth place in the division. The Cubs had plenty of chances early before the game turned very ugly. In the first inning following a single by Alfonso Soriano and a one-out walk by Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee grounded out to second base. The productive out put runners on second and third for Jake Fox … Fox struck out swinging.
Ryan Freel reached on a one-out bloop single in the second and advanced to second on a wild pick-off throw from John Danks. Freel stole third but Andres Blanco popped out to short on a 3-2 pitch.
The Cubs hit into double plays in the fourth and fifth innings before they loaded the bases in the sixth down 3-0.
Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with a double to left, their first and only extra base hit of the game. Theriot grounded out to second, advanced Soriano to third but Milton Bradley struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Derrek Lee and Jake Fox walked to load the bases. Geovany Soto hit a smash to the hole at short, Alexei Ramirez made a nice stop on the ball and threw out Lee at third to end the inning.
The Sox blew the game open in the seventh and four of the last six outs the Cubs made were strikeouts … basically they quit playing down by a score of 5-0. In two starts against the Cubs, John Danks allowed only one earned run (14 innings).
Carlos Zambrano could have really made a difference for his team … but once again when his team needed him he put together one of his worst outings of the year.
Zambrano retired the Sox in order in the first and pitched out of a first and second two-out jam in the second. Early on Zambrano looked good after he found a rhythm. But that all changed in the third …
Zambrano hit Scott Podsednik on a 1-0 pitch with one-out. Alexei Ramirez followed and lined a no doubter into the stands in left center. Ramirez’s third homer against the Cubs on the year (second against Zambrano) and second of the series gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. Zambrano was done at that point …
A.J. Pierzynski led off the fourth with a single to center. Chris Getz flied out on a hit and run for the first out. Gordon Beckham did not. Ozzie Guillen called for the hit and run again on a 2-2 pitch to Beckham, the rookie delivered a single to right … and the Sox had runners on first and third with one out.
Zambrano fell behind DeWayne Wise 2-0 before throwing a strike. On a 2-1 pitch, Guillen called for the third hit and run of the inning. Wise delivered an infield hit to Andres Blanco, who had broke to cover the bag. Blanco kept the ball in the infield with a diving stop but Pierzynski scored the Sox third run of the game.
Zambrano settled down long enough to pickoff Gordon Beckham from second and he retired Podsednik on a ground out to third … a nice pick and throw from Ryan Freel.
After working out of another jam in the fifth, Zambrano recorded just one out in the sixth before being lifted. Chris Getz doubled to right (ended a 0-for-23 skid) and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Beckham.
Ozzie Guillen called for the squeeze on a 0-1 pitch to DeWayne Wise. Zambrano recognized what was going on and threw the ball wide of the plate. Geovany Soto could not make the play and the wild pitch allowed the Getz to score from third without a play. Carlos Zambrano then hit Wise on the next pitch, fired up the Sox and a couple made their way onto the field. The umps, Lou Piniella and Guillen defused the situation and nothing happened … beside Ryan Freel getting hit by John Danks leading off the top of the seventh.
DeWayne Wise stole second with Podsednik at the dish … then Zambrano walked Podsednik to end his day.
David Patton replaced Zambrano and was the victim of the Cubs’ defense. Alfonso Soriano misplayed a ball hit by Alexei Ramirez into shallow left to load the bases. Jermaine Dye then hit a pop up into shallow left. The infield fly rule was called for the second out but Theriot lost the ball in the sun … and dropped the ball. Wise scored the Sox fifth run on another ugly play. David Patton struck out Jim Thome to end the inning.
David Patton gave up three hits and no runs in 1 1/3 innings. Patton threw strikes (27 pitches, 16 for strikes) and made the pitches to get out of the inning without allowing any more damage. Patton must either be used in these situations to see what he is made of or released. The Cubs have ‘hidden‘ him long enough this season …
The Sox’s sixth and final run came via a solo home run by Jermaine Dye off of Kevin Hart in the eighth inning … another two out mistake by Hart.
Sunday was a bad game that completed a weekend in which their only win came under a cloud of controversy. For the record … While Milton Bradley is not the only problem on the Cubs roster for the year they are eight games below .500 in games he’s played.
Rich Harden is slated to face Zach Duke on Monday night in Pittsburgh.