Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 2 Marlins 4
WP – Nate Robertson (3-3) LP – Ted Lilly (1-3) Save – Leo Nunez (6)
The Cubs reached a new season low Monday night. For the first time this season the Cubs are five games under .500 in large part due Lou Piniella’s offense. The Cubs managed only two runs off of Nate Robertson and once again they were stifled by at best a mediocre pitcher.
Ted Lilly was in full control until the sixth inning. Lilly was sharp and had a no-hitter going for 5 1/3 innings. After Starlin Castro’s second error of the game allowed Brett Carroll to reach to start the sixth, Chris Coghlan tied the game with a double to left … the Marlins’ first hit of the game and Coghlan’s first extra base hit of the season.
Alfonso Soriano did all he could Monday night. Soriano finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, drove in both of the Cubs’ runs and threw out Hanley Ramirez at the plate in the eighth. Soriano gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead in the sixth after he singled in Aramis Ramirez.
Lilly had allowed only one unearned run on one hit in six innings but the Marlins scored three in the top of the seventh … and put the game away. The big hit, a two-run homer by Ronny Paulino that landed in the basket in left … just the third hit allowed by Ted Lilly.
Cody Ross reached on a questionable call following Paulino’s home run. After Brett Carroll advanced him to third with a ground out to second, Cameron Maybin beat out Castro’s throw from the hole at short. Ross advanced to third then the Marlins executed the double-steal to perfection.
Cody Ross broke from third as Lilly threw to first. Lilly saw Maybin taking off for second and thought he had caught him stealing second. Derrek Lee threw home as Ross slid in safe with Florida’s fourth run.
With the way the offense is not performing, the two-run deficit felt like ten. The Cubs went down in order in the eighth and ninth … game over.
Lou Piniella and Ted Lilly’s frustration could be heard in their short post-game press conferences. Lilly said, “Hopefully losing will bother us enough to start doing something about it.”
The Cubs have dropped six of their last seven and have slipped to 14-19 on the season … No excuses can be made for the way the Chicago Cubs continue to under perform. Teams with post-season aspirations do not lose games at home against pitchers like Nate Robertson when their starting pitcher does not allow a hit until the sixth inning. The Cubs had a horrible approach at the plate and paid the price with another loss.
Nate Robertson retired the Cubs in order in the first inning on five pitches … and again in the third on seven pitches. Six outs on 13 pitches, that is inexcusable. PERIOD.
Derrek Lee (1-for-4) and Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4) continued to struggle as the Cubs left eight on base and finished the night 2-for-9 with RISP.
Xavier Nady led off the second with a double to right center on a 1-0 pitch from Robertson. After Aramis Ramirez tapped back to the mound on a 2-0 pitch, Alfonso Soriano singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Nady scored and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Ted Lilly made the precarious 1-0 lead hold up until the sixth.
Brett Carroll reached on Starlin Castro’s second of three errors on the night to start the sixth. Nate Robertson sacrificed him to second and Carroll scored on Chris Coghlan’s first extra base hit of the year … a double to left. Coghlan stole third but Gaby Sanchez popped out to short for the second out. Hanley Ramirez flied out to right on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez reached on an infield pop up. The ball fell in between Dan Uggla, Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez untouched. Ramirez took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left by Alfonso Soriano. Soriano took second on the throw to the plate.
Geovany Soto struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Starlin Castro (0-for-2 with two walks in his Wrigley Field debut) was intentionally walked. Ted Lilly, who came to the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth, struck out to end the sixth.
Starlin Castro had a rough Wrigley Field debut. Castro committed three errors and a couple of mental ones while going hitless at the plate. Castro showed both his talent as well as his age and inexperience. Unfortunately Castro heard from the boo birds when he failed to hustle after his third error of the night. Hanley Ramirez took advantage of the mistake and advanced to second on Castro’s miscue.
Monday night was another frustrating game for Lou Piniella’s crew.
Weather permitting … Randy Wells will face Ricky Nolasco Tuesday night.