Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 1 Cardinals 7
WP – Chris Carpenter (6-1) LP – Randy Wells (3-3) Save – None
Friday afternoon’s game was over before the Cubs could record an out. The Cardinals came out swinging and made a statement in the first match-up of the year against the Cubs. The first six hitters in Tony LaRussa’s lineup reached and they scored five runs on six hits on 16 pitches. Randy Wells became the first Cubs’ starter since 1998 to be lifted in the first inning without recording an out.
With Chris Carpenter on the mound, the likelihood of the Cubs making a comeback was slim to none. The Cubs offense had plenty of opportunities but Friday afternoon was a microcosm of the season.
The Cubs only run came on a solo homer by Tyler Colvin in the fifth. Colvin’s first career pinch-hit home run cut the Cardinals lead to 5-1. The Cubs pounded out eight hits but finished a miserable 0-for-9 with RISP and left nine on base.
Other than John Grabow, the bullpen did their job in “relief” of Randy Wells.
James Russell replaced Wells and put out the fire in the first inning. Russell went on to throw four innings of shutout ball. The rookie southpaw allowed only two hits and a walk on 56 pitches. Russell also struck out a batter.
Bobby Howry, Jeff Stevens and Carlos Zambrano also kept the Cardinals off the board. Stevens tossed two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts while Howry and Zambrano each allowed a base runner but no runs.
John Grabow continued to make his case for the worst signing of the off-season. Grabow, in his first season of a two-year contract, gave up two more runs on a two-run shot by Ryan Ludwick in his inning of work. Grabow’s ERA ballooned to an even 9.00 with a 2.17 WHIP. Grabow has allowed 18 earned runs in 18 innings this season … in May, Grabow is 0-1 with an 11.57 ERA and a 2.47 WHIP.
Even with little to no rest, the Cardinals showed the Cubs how to play ball once again.
With the embarrassing loss, the Cubs slipped back to three games under .500 with a 23-26 record … The Cardinals teed up Randy Wells like they knew what he was going to throw. Felipe Lopez started the first with a single to left center on a 2-1 pitch. Ryan Ludwick followed with a double to left on a 0-1 pitch. Wells got ahead of Albert Pujols 0-2 before giving up a single to center. Lopez and Ludwick scored … 2-0 Cardinals.
Matt Holliday singled to right on a 3-1 pitch. Pujols advanced to third as James Russell began to warm in the pen.
Colby Rasmus single to right on the first pitch. Pujols scored … 3-0 Cardinals. Yadier Molina completed Wells’ outing with a double to right. Holliday and Rasmus scored … 5-0 Cardinals.
After 16 pitches and no outs, Randy Wells was done.
James Russell retired the bottom of the Cardinals’ lineup in order to end the inning.
Randy Wells described his outing as “embarrassing” and Lou Piniella said he would be available out of the pen on Sunday.
The Cubs offense had a chance to get back in the game in the home half of the first. Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot reached on back-to-back singles off of Chris Carpenter. Derrek Lee then ran the count to 3-2 but looked at strike three. The runners were going on the pitch and Fukudome was thrown out at third. Lee must swing the bat and at least protect the runners in that situation.
Aramis Ramirez walked but Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to end the inning.
While James Russell was busy retiring the Cardinals, the offense continued to put runners on base … but could not drive them in.
Tyler Colvin provided the Cubs lone offensive highlight. Colvin hit a 3-2 offering from Carpenter over the wall in left. Colvin has driven in the Cubs’ last two runs.
Saturday is a new day …
Carlos Silva will face Adam Ottavino Saturday afternoon … Ottavino will be making his big league debut.