Lou Piniella’s Crew Swept by the Pirates – Cubs 1 Pirates 11

Game Twenty-Nine – Cubs 1 Pirates 11
WP – Brian Burres (2-1) LP – Randy Wells (3-1) Save – None

The headline says it all … and changes need to be made to the roster.

Just when it appeared the Cubs had hit rock bottom in Twenty-Ten, they showed up to PNC Park on Thursday night. The Cubs finished their worst three-game stretch under Lou Piniella by being swept by the Pirates. The pathetic offense was shutdown by Brian Burres and managed no runs and only three hits off of Ross Ohlendorf’s replacement.

The Cubs scored a total of five runs in the three games. Five runs in 27 innings against arguably the worst pitching staff in the majors is unacceptable … and should not be tolerated.

The Pirates completed the three-game sweep … the first against the Cubs since August of 2006.

Thursday was a concerning and another embarrassing loss. The offense was horrible, the defense was sloppy (three more errors) and many of the players look like they just don’t care.

The Cubs only run came in the eighth after a one-out double by Marlon Byrd and a two-out double by Xavier Nady.

Randy Wells picked a bad time to put together the worst start of his big league career. After not issuing a single walk in his last two starts, Wells walked the first two batters he faced on eight pitches and the game went downhill from there.

Wells lasted just two innings and gave up seven runs, six earned, on five hits with three walks and a strikeout. The defense did not help Jeff Gray in the fourth but he allowed four more runs, two earned, on three hits in two innings. Gray issued two four-pitch walks with his team down 7-0. If not for Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen giving away outs, the Pirates probably would have scored more than 11 runs off of Wells and Gray.

James Russell, Justin Berg and John Grabow did not allow the Pirates to tack on over the last four innings after John Russell emptied his bench.

If the last three games do not serve as a wake up call for the players, as well as management, then the Ricketts family must make their first changes as owners of the Chicago Cubs.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to three games under .500 on the season with a 13-16 record …

Following Monday’s day off, the Cubs arrived in Pittsburgh riding a three-game winning streak and limped out of the Steel City losers of three straight. Did the Cubs think the series was going to be a cakewalk? Did they not read the scouting reports? Being swept by the Pirates is one thing but losing two games to Charlie Morton and Brian Burres should not be accepted or shrugged off by management or the players.

Randy Wells could not find the strike zone in the first inning. He walked Aki Iwamura and Andy LaRoche on eight pitches to start the game.

Andrew McCutchen singled to left and plated Iwamura with the game’s first run. Wells finally threw strikes but could not retire Garrett Jones. Jones singled to left on a 1-2 pitch. LaRoche scored … 2-0 Pirates.

Ryan Doumit ripped a 2-2 offering from Wells off the wall in right. McCutchen scored … 3-0 Pirates. Wells struck out Ryan Church for the first out but Lastings Milledge doubled to left on a 0-1 pitch. Ronny Cedeno flied out to left and Brian Burres grounded out to second. 5-0 Pirates after one.

Alfonso Soriano doubled to left center with two outs in the second … the Cubs’ first hit off of Burres. Geovany Soto, who had a good night, walked. With runners on second and third with two outs, Jeff Baker flied out to center to end the inning. The Cubs put only one more runner on third base the rest of the night.

The Pirates went back to work against Wells in the second. Aki Iwamura reached on the first of two errors on the night by Aramis Ramirez. Andy LaRoche walked again. Andrew McCutchen helped out the Cubs and dropped down a bunt … both runners advanced but it was a bad decision by the Pirates best player.

Garrett Jones then doubled to right. Iwamura and LaRoche scored … 7-0 Pirates.

Wells retired Ryan Doumit and Ryan Church to end the inning and his night.

Randy Wells took full responsibility for the loss following the game. He said he was not prepared and took a lackadaisical approach to his start.

Jeff Gray kept the Pirates off the board in the third. But the fourth inning was one of the worst of the year.

Andy LaRoche reached on an error by Ryan Theriot. Andrew McCutchen singled to left past the limited Theriot. Gray then issued a four-pitch walk to Garrett Jones to load the bases with no outs.

Ryan Doumit grounded out to Derrek Lee. Lee threw to second and forced Jones but LaRoche scored the Pirates’ eighth run. Gray issued his second four-pitch walk. This one to Ryan Church reloaded the bases with one out.

Lastings Milledge ripped a 1-2 pitch to left. The ball appeared to leave the park, the fireworks even went off as Milledge went into his home run trot. The ball hit off the top of the wall and Milledge was tagged out in between second and third. McCutchen and Doumit scored … 10-0. Church ended up at third with two outs.

Ronny Cedeno reached on Ramirez’s second error of the game. Church scored on the Cubs’ third error … 11-0 Pirates. Brian Burres grounded out to short to end the inning. Theriot’s throw was low and had to be dugout of the dirt by Derrek Lee.

How will the Cubs respond to being swept by the Pirates? It could be an interesting 24-48 hours or they could simply ignore the fact that this is not a good baseball team.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Friday … Carlos Silva versus Homer Bailey.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver