Dodgers Hit the Cubs with a Knuckle Sandwich – Cubs 0 Dodgers 2

Game One Hundred Twenty-One – Cubs 0 Dodgers 2
WP – Charlie Haeger (1-1) LP – Ted Lilly (9-8) Save – George Sherrill (21)

Lou Piniella said the Cubs’ performance on Friday night was painful, if that is the case then Saturday’s game can be summed up with one word … excruciating. The Cubs offense was incredibly bad again. They put runners on base in every inning but could not come up with a clutch hit when they needed one. Lou Piniella’s crew finished the game 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left ten … in the series, the Cubs are a miserable 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position.

Ted Lilly was on the wrong end of a shutout for the fourth time this season. Lilly made only two mistakes in six innings of work … a solo home run by Matt Kemp in the second and a solo shot by Casey Blake in the fourth. In Lilly’s four losses in which the Cubs have been shutout, Lilly has allowed a total of nine runs, seven of them earned.

Ted Lilly’s line on Saturday: two runs on three hits in six innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

The Cubs had chances in the eighth and ninth inning to tie the game. Sam Fuld led off the eight with a walk against Jonathan Broxton. After Milton Bradley struck out swinging, Derrek Lee was credited with the Cubs’ lone extra base hit of the day, a double to right. Matt Kemp lost the ball in the sun and the Cubs had the tying runs in scoring position for Aramis Ramirezwith only one out.

Aramis Ramirez ripped a 0-1 pitch right to Mark Loretta at first for the second out. Kosuke Fukudome then struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. During Fukudome’s at bat, Broxton uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering but the ball hit the foot of the homeplate umpire, Wally Bell, and Fuld was not able to advance.

Geovany Soto reached on a one-out single in the ninth. After Jake Fox pinch hit for Aaron Miles and struck out, Alfonso Soriano hit for John Grabow and walked with two outs. Ryan Theriot was sent up for Sam Fuld and grounded out to third to end the game.

Sam Fuld turned in yet another highlight reel catch in the third inningpossibly the best catch of the season. Brad Ausmus ripped a 0-1 pitch from Lilly into left. Fuld made a diving catch going head first into the wall, only the bill of his cap kept his face from hitting the fence of the short-wall in left. Sam Fuld finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, two stolen bases and reached on an error by Rafael Furcal in the third. Sam Fuld wants to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs

Charlie Haeger picked up his second big league win, and first as a Dodger, as his knuckleball mystified the Cubs free-swinging, undisciplined lineup all afternoon. Haeger allowed just three hits, walked four (Sam Fuld twice) and struck out seven in seven innings of work.

George Sherrill labored through a long ninth inning to pick up his first save in a Dodgers’ uniform.

With the loss, the Cubs fell for the fifth time in six games and they have lost 12 of their last 16. The Cubs are just a single game over the .500 mark on the season …

Many will point to the two home runs Ted Lilly gave up (number 20 and 21 on the year against Lilly) as the reason the Cubs lost the game, but that could not be further from the problems that continue to plague the 2009 version of the Chicago Cubs. This team can simply not hit with runners on base. They refuse to change their approach at the plate, much less shorten their swings with two strikes. Day in and day out it is painful to watch this team, as Lou Piniella accurately described the performance of his team on Friday.

The pitching did their job. Ted Lilly, Aaron Heilman and John Grabow allowed just five hits and one walk … and struck out six, they did their job. The offense on the other hand …

  • First inning: Sam Fuld walked, stole second and was stranded
  • Second Inning: Jeff Baker walked and was doubled off when Geovany Soto lined out to Orlando Hudson
  • Third Inning: Sam Fuld reached on a two-out error by Rafael Furcal, stole second but Milton Bradley grounded out to short
  • Fourth Inning: Derrek Lee recorded the Cubs’ first hit, then Ramirez, Fukudome and Baker all struck out swinging
  • Fifth Inning: Aaron Miles walked with one-out. Lilly sacrificed Miles to second but Fuld grounded out to Hudson to end the inning
  • Sixth Inning: Aramis Ramirez reached on a two-out single, the Cubs’ second hit of the game. Fukudome grounded out to second for the third out
  • Seventh Inning: Jeff Baker led off the inning with a single to right center, the Cubs’ third hit. Soto flied out, Miles struck out and Mike Fontenot, hitting for Ted Lilly, flied out to left on the second pitch of the at bat

Lastly, for the record Aaron Miles is now hitting .178 on the year after his 0-for-2 with a walk performance on Saturday. The 2009 Chicago Cubs media guide lists Miles weight at the beginning of the year at 180 pounds …

Sunday is a new day, and hopefully the Cubs will remember how to hit and score multiple runs in a nine-inning game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Chad Billingsley in the final game of the year in Los Angeles.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver