Just Pitt-iful Baseball – Cubs 1 Pirates 2

Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 1 Pirates 2
WP – Paul Maholm (5-6) LP – Andrew Cashner (0-2) Save – Octavio Dotel (15)

The Chicago Cubs returned to form Monday night and lost to the Pirates for the eighth time this season (2-8). The Pirates ended their 17-game road losing streak and won for the first time away from PNC Park since May 25.

Lou Piniella’s crew lost their 10th straight series opener as the Pirates continue to own the Chicago Cubs.

The Pirates are 30 games below .500 versus the rest of baseball (18-48), three of Paul Maholm’s five wins have come at the Cubs expense and six of Octavio Dotel’s 15 saves have come against the Cubs. There is no excuse that can be made for the way the Cubs have allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates to dominate them this season.

Seven of the 10 match-ups between the Cubs and Pirates have been decided by two runs … and the Cubs have won just one of those games.

The Cubs looked lifeless once again Monday night. Randy Wells notched a quality start but it was not a quality outing. Wells struggled with his command all night and threw 109 pitches in six innings. Wells walked four and struck out six but he appeared unconfident on the mound once again. Wells allowed only one run on three hits … and the one run came on a misplayed ball by Tyler Colvin.

John Grabow took over in the seventh but lasted just two-plus batters. Grabow retired Ryan Doumit but Ronny Cedeno reached on a bunt single to Derrek Lee. Grabow appeared slow as he came off the mound then threw only three pitches to Paul Maholm.

John Grabow walked off the field with left knee sprain and will be placed on the DL Tuesday.

Brian Schlitter made his big league debut in relief of Grabow. Schlitter struck out Paul Maholm and Jose Tabata to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner dominated in the eighth again but once again it was his second inning of work that did him in. Cashner gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Doumit. Ronny Cedeno sacrificed him to second. Cashner walked Ryan Church on four pitches and turned the ball over to Carlos Marmol.

Jose Tabata ripped a 1-1 offering from Marmol to the track in right center. Tyler Colvin could not haul it in and Doumit scored the winning run … on a very close play.

The Cubs offense was predictably abysmal Monday night. They managed only one run on seven hits and finished the night 1-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base. Ryan Theriot hit into a inning ending 6-4-3 double play in the seventh and left four on base.

With another embarrassing loss to the Pirates, the Cubs slipped to 10 games under .500 for the season (33-43). When will Jim Hendry waive the white flag on this group of underachievers?

The last time the Cubs won a series opener was May 25. May 25. Over a month ago and until Jim Hendry realizes that his overpaid, poorly assembled roster will not do any better than they are, the Cubs will continue to lose ballgames. Hendry did not put together a team he put assembled a collection of individuals that do not fit. No fanbase deserves to watch the type of “baseball” the Cubs continue to play on a daily basis. It is time for the person that put this group of players together to start moving the pieces he can and not wait any longer to make changes.

Monday night was more about what the Cubs did wrong then what they did right.

Aramis Ramirez led off the second with a single to left. Alfonso Soriano flied to center then Geovany Soto blooped a double into right. The wind carried the ball down the line and Lastings Milledge and Bobby Crosby collided as they tried to make the play. Ramirez scampered around to third on the play.

Starlin Castro then hit a grounder to Pedro Alvarez at third. The rookie tried to throw home. His throw was offline and Ramirez scored on the error. The play was ruled a fielder’s choice and RBI for Castro.

With runners on second and third with one out, Randy Wells grounded out to third. Ryan Theriot stepped in and popped out to right center on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Pirates tied the game in the top of the third. Randy Wells walked Jose Tabata on four pitches with one out. Tabata stole second and advanced to third on a ground out to second by Bobby Crosby … even the Pirates can execute the fundamentals of the game.

Andrew McCutchen then lined a triple over Tyler Colvin in right. Colvin misplayed the ball into a RBI.

Garrett Jones flied out to a diving Marlon Byrd to end the inning.

The Cubs did not manage another threat until the seventh inning. Starlin Castro doubled to right with one out. Jeff Baker lined a single to left past a diving Ronny Cedeno. Castro froze to make sure Cedeno did not make the play.

With runners on first and third with one out, Ryan Theriot swung at the first pitch … and grounded into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play. First pitch in the seventh inning against a team that had lost 17 in a row on the road.

Of the last six outs made by the Cubs on Monday night … four of them were swinging strikeouts.

It’s a Way of Life

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ted Lilly is slated to face Jeff Karstens Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax