Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 2 Marlins 3
WP – Ricky Nolasco (3-2) LP – Randy Wells (3-2) Save – Leo Nunez (7)
Tuesday was a new day but the result was the same for the Chicago Cubs. Poor defense, bad baserunning, no clutch hitting and they wasted another quality start. The Cubs lost their fourth game in a row and slipped to six games under .500 for the first time this season. This team simply cannot hit right now, especially Aramis Ramirez … and Ramirez is taking his bad at bats to the field.
The Cubs committed two more errors Tuesday night. In the last six games they have made 12 errors and after another pitiful performance are tied with the Marlins for the most in errors in the Majors … 30 errors in 34 games.
Despite losing his second straight game, Randy Wells bounced back from his nightmare in Pittsburgh. Wells allowed three runs on just four hits in eight innings. Wells struck out eight and the only walk he surrendered scored on Cody Ross’ two-run homer in the second. All three Marlins’ runs came via the longball … the two-run shot by Ross and a solo homer by Gaby Sanchez in the third.
The Cubs chipped away at the Marlins lead and had a chance to tie or take the lead in the eighth. Derrek Lee doubled in Marlon Byrd in the sixth for the Cubs first run … his first RBI since May 2 and only third double of the season.
Marlon Byrd sacrificed Kosuke Fukudome in with the Cubs second run in the eighth, a fly out to right. Following a Derrek Lee double (his fourth of the year) that put Ryan Theriot on third, the Cubs had the tying and go ahead run in scoring position with two outs in the eighth.
Aramis Ramirez stepped in with a chance to put some of his struggles behind him. Ramirez worked the count to 2-2 then fouled off a couple of pitches before striking out to end the inning. Ramirez finished the night 0-for-3 with a walk, left three on base and committed an error in the field.
Leo Nunez retired the Cubs in order in the ninth on just 10 pitches to close it out.
The Cubs are not hitting the baseball, especially when it counts. They finished the game 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left six on base. Of the five hits Ricky Nolasco surrendered in seven innings, three were of the infield variety. Only Starlin Castro’s single in the fifth would be considered a clean hit for the Cubs off of Nolasco.
Lou Piniella said after the game, “I think I’m going to a casino in Indiana and play snake eyes. I don’t know what else to say to be honest with you.”
In games decided by one or two runs, the Cubs are 5-13 on the season … Randy Wells put together a good outing but was bitten by the longball. Wells had allowed only one home run in his first six starts. The Marlins hit a pair in the first three innings Tuesday night.
Dan Uggla worked a one-out walk in the second. After John Baker flied out to left, the Marlins’ first hit of the game left the park. Cody Ross parked a 1-2 pitch from Wells into the bleachers in left center …. 2-0 Marlins.
Unfortunately with the way the Cubs are not hitting, the two runs Wells allowed felt like the seven he surrendered in Pittsburgh.
Gaby Sanchez gave Ricky Nolasco a very comfortable lead in the third. Sanchez ripped a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center … 3-0 Marlins.
The Cubs finally scored a run in the sixth … with a little help from Cody Ross.
Kosuke Fukudome reached on the Cubs’ third infield hit. Ryan Theriot popped out to right on the first pitch. Marlon Byrd hit into a 1-4-6 fielder’s choice. Nolasco deflected the ball ticketed for centerfield to second and Fukudome was forced.
Derrek Lee then hit a deep fly to right on a 3-2 pitch. Cody Ross got turned around in the well, misplayed the ball and Byrd scored all the way from first. With Lee in scoring position and two outs, Aramis Ramirez popped out to shallow left to end the inning.
Nolasco retired the Cubs in order in the seventh on just seven pitches … but Kosuke Fukudome worked a one-out walk in the eighth.
After Fukudome walked, Ryan Theriot singled to right. Fukudome advanced to third and scored on Marlon Byrd’s sacrifice fly to right. Fukudome slid in safe just ahead of Ross’ throw … for some reason Ryan Theriot did not advance on the play.
Ross’ throw one-hopped the plate and was clearly over the cutoff man’s head. Theriot held at first and advanced to third on Derrek Lee’s double to left. Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging to end the inning.
As Ted Lilly said, one day the Cubs are going to get tired enough of losing they will do something about it.
Carlos Silva will try to end the Cubs’ four-game losing streak on Wednesday afternoon. Silva was the starting pitcher the last time the Cubs won a game. Chris Volstad is scheduled to make the start for the Marlins.