Left Z’em Loaded – Cubs 2 Mets 6

Game One Hundred Thirty-Three – Cubs 2 Mets 6
WP – Brian Stokes (2-4, BS 2) LP – Kevin Gregg (5-6) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (29)

The Chicago Cubs have begun mailing in what is left of the season. So much for playing for pride, this team just looks like they want the year over as quickly as possible. A day after being shutout by Carlos Torres, the Cubs allowed Bobby Parnell to throw seven innings of shutout ball on Friday night … less than a week after they took bating practice against him at Wrigley Field.

Carlos Zambrano put together his best outing since July. Zambrano made just one mistake in six innings. Cory Sullivan hit his first home run of the season off of Zambrano in the second … and the Mets pitching almost made the solo shot hold up.

The Cubs tied the game in the top of the eighth on basically an unearned run. Milton Bradley reached on a bloop double to right center. The routine pop up fell in the middle of Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur and Luis Castillo. Bradley hustled out of the box and slid into second just ahead of Francoeur’s throw. Jeff Baker (3-for-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI) delivered a two-out RBI single to right.

The game was tied at one going into the bottom of the eighth.

After the Cubs finally scratched out a run, the bullpen gave it away in the next half inning … and it all started with an infield single by Luis Castillo on a routine grounder to Ryan Theriot.

The Mets batted around in the eighth, scored five runs on six hits, an error, an intentional walk and a wild pitch. Kevin Gregg took the loss but neither Gregg nor John Grabow could record an out. Grabow allowed his first runs as a Cub … all five batters he faced reached base on four hits and a walk. Justin Berg cleaned up the mess left by Gregg and Grabow but it was too late for the Cubs woeful offense to do anything on the road.

The Cubs loaded the bases for the third time in the ninth inning. Milton Bradley drove in the Cubs’ second run with a grounder to first that was bobbled by Fernando Tatis. Francisco Rodriguez came into face Aramis Ramirez with one out, the bases loaded and the Cubs down by four.

Aramis Ramirez popped out on a 2-0 pitch to Luis Castillo … then Jake Fox struck out swinging to end the game.

Lou Piniella’s offense loaded the bases in three different innings and managed only one run … and that was a gift. The Cubs continue to put together horrible at bats with each batter appearing to swing for the fences. The Cubs were a miserable 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Friday but only one of the hits drove in a run … they left a total of 12 runners on base.

Friday night’s performance by the Chicago Cubs summed up the season once again. No clutch hitting, poor defense and a bad bullpen …

Carlos Zambrano did his job on Friday night and actually pitched around an error by Aramis Ramirez in the sixth. Cory Sullivan’s monster home run in the second, as mentioned, was just about the only mistake by Zambrano on Friday night.

Zambrano allowed just one run on three hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in six innings.

Luis Castillo led off the sixth with the Mets third hit of the game. Zambrano struck out David Wright swinging for the third time. Daniel Murphy hit a tailor made double play ball to Ramirez but the ball ate him up and Castillo ended up at second on the error.

With Jeff Francoeur at the plate, Zambrano uncorked a wild pitch. Castillo and Murphy advanced ninety feet but Zambrano struck out Francoeur for the second out of the inning. Cory Sullivan was intentionally walked to load the bases. Omir Santos grounded out to second to end the inning.

After loading the bases with two outs in the second and coming away empty, Carlos Zambrano struck out to end the inning, the Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh with no outs.

Jeff Baker doubled to start the inning. Geovany Soto walked and Sam Fuld singled to right to load the bases. Lou Piniella, for some unknown reason, sent Mike Fontenot to the plate to hit for Carlos Zambrano.

While Lou should have pinch hit for Zambrano in that situation, Mike Fontenot was 2-for-16 as a pinch-hitter before he struck out on a 2-2 pitch from Bobby Parnell. Kosuke Fukudome struck out for the second out and Ryan Theriot lined back to the mound on the first pitch from Parnell. He knocked the ball down and threw out Theriot to end the inning.

Where was Jake Fox? Didn’t he hit a grand slam off of Bobby Parnell last Saturday? All the Cubs needed was contact to tie the game.

Angel Guzman retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the seventh.

Brian Stokes replaced Bobby Parnell in the eighth … and his defense let him down as well. Milton Bradley reached on a bloop double to right center, the ball should have been caught. Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging and Micah Hoffpauir flied out to right. Bradley tagged and advanced to third.

Stokes fell behind Jeff Baker, 3-1, before Baker singled to right and tied the game at one.

The eighth inning was just bad baseball. Luis Castillo started the inning with an infield single toward the hole at short. It appeared to be a routine grounder that Ryan Theriot took to long to throw to first. Castillo beat out the throw and advanced to third on a single to right center by David Wright Gregg’s fastball was once again right down the middle of the plate.

Lou Piniella brought in John Grabow and his scoreless innings streak came to an end.

Fernando Tatis hit for Daniel Murphy and delivered a single to right on a 3-2 pitch. Castillo scored, 2-1 Mets. A wild pitch advanced Wright and Tatis to second and third. Francoeur was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Cory Sullivan singled to left on the first pitch from Grabow. Wright scored, 3-1 Mets. With the infield in Omir Santos chopped a ball over Aramis Ramirez’s head. Tatis and Francoeur scored, 5-1 Mets. Anderson Hernandez followed with a single to left, Sullivan scored … 6-1 Mets and the end of John Grabow’s night.

Justin Berg retired Brian Stokes on a sacrifice bunt and struck out Angel Pagan looking for the second out. Luis Castillo grounded out to third to end the inning … on a nice play by Aramis Ramirez.

Down 6-1 going into the ninth, Sam Fuld walked to start the inning. Bobby Scales, in his first game back from Triple-A, blooped a single into left field. Fukudome popped out to shallow right then Theriot reached on a infield single to the hole at second. With the bases loaded, Milton Bradley hit a routine grounder to first. Tatis bobbled the ball, Fuld scored and the bases were re-loaded for Aramis Ramirez.

Francisco Rodriguez retired Ramirez and Jake Fox on seven pitches, four strikes, to end the game.

29 …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Rich Harden is slated to face Nelson Figueroa on Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." - Arthur Ashe
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