A Blanks Outlook for the Cubs – Cubs 1 Padres 4

Game One Hundred-Sixteen – Cubs 1 Padres 4
WP – Heath Bell (5-2) LP – Kevin Gregg (4-5, BS 6) Save – None

The Padres were down to their final strike in the ninth inning. The Cubs had not won a 1-0 game all season and the Cardinals had posted a win in Los Angeles. With one pitch from Kevin Gregg, the Cubs season took another turn for the worst.

After issuing a one-out walk to David Eckstein, Gregg retired Adrian Gonzalez on one pitch with a fly out to left. Chase Headley stepped in and Gregg fell behind in the count 3-0 before throwing a strike. On a 3-2 pitch Headley tied the game at one with a double to left center. With Eckstein running on the pitch, he scored easily from first.

Kevin Gregg blew his sixth save of the year … the exact number of games the Cubs trail the Cardinals after Monday night’s predictable ending.

Lou Piniella made the slow walk and talked to Gregg before Kevin Kouzmanoff stepped to the plate. Piniella decided to intentionally walk the Padres’ third baseman to get to Kyle Blanks.

Gregg threw strike one to Blanks but the rookie was able to check his swing on Gregg’s next offering. Blanks did not miss Gregg’s third pitch … he deposited the fastball, that was located right down main street, over the wall in left center for a 4-1 Padres win. Gregg allowed all four runs with two outs, on just two hits. Blanks’ home run was his seventh of the year and the 12th longball served up by Kevin Gregg this season, the fifth in August alone.

Kevin Gregg has allowed three game ending home runs this season … most in baseball.

Ted Lilly was excellent in his return from the DL. ‘The Bulldog‘ threw six innings of shutout ball, posted another quality start and scattered just four hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

The Cubs’ offense was non-existent until the eighth inning. They had a couple of chances but failed to come up with the big hit when they needed it. Kevin Correia did not allow the Cubs first hit until the fourth inning and they managed only three hits in six innings against the Padres’ starter.

Derrek Lee led off the eighth with a triple to left center. Aramis Ramirez then delivered a single to left with the infield in to drive in Lee with the first run of the game. The Cubs’ run was the first allowed by Mike Adams in 24 games.

John Grabow was inline for his first win after a solid inning and a third of relief. Carlos Marmol did his job for the last two outs in the eighth … but Kevin Gregg served it up again.

There are no two ways to cut it, Monday night was a bad loss for a team in need of a positive start to the long week on the left coast. Kevin Gregg must no longer be allowed to pitch in the ninth, unless in mop-up duty … that is if the Cubs want to make a run at the Cardinals in the division.

The Cubs’ offense struggled once again in San Diego. In 36 innings this season in PETCO, the Cubs have managed a grand total of four runs … and Monday was their fourth loss of the year against the Friars in their home park.

The Cubs finished the night 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

While the offense must do their job, the Cubs must figure out a way to win games when they score three runs or less.

Tuesday is a new day … hopefully with a different ending.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Cesar Carrillo on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne