Game Seventy-Eight – Cubs 0 Pirates 2
WP – Brad Lincoln (1-2) LP – Andrew Cashner (0-3) Save – Octavio Dotel (16)
Following the Cubs’ fourth shutout in 11 games, Lou Piniella said, “This game here was a nice little synopsis of what our season has been like.” Lou is right … poor defense, no offense and another loss to the Pirates. But if Pittsburgh is considered the worst team in the National League, what does that say about the Chicago Cubs?
The Mighty Pirates are 9-3 this season versus Lou’s Lollygaggers … dating back to 2009, the Cubs are 3-11 in their last 14 against the Bucs.
The Cubs lost another series and finished June with a 10-16 record … while winning only one series the entire month.
The mainstream media will focus on the fact Andrew Cashner lost another game (0-3) but Cubs pitching allowed a total of five runs in three games … and they lost two of three. On the flip side, the Cubs “offense” managed four runs in the series.
As predicted, the Cubs handed Brad Lincoln his first career big league victory. Lincoln did a good job against a pathetic offense. The Cubs put the leadoff hitter on in five of the nine innings (second, fourth – seventh) and could not manage to plate a single run.
The offense tallied only five hits, seven total baserunners and finished the game 0-for-5 with RISP and left five on base … the Cubs also hit into two double plays. Wednesday was only the third time this season the Pirates shutout their opponent.
Tom Gorzelanny put together a outing in his first start since May 26. Gorzelanny pitched his way in and out of jams in his five innings of work … but did not allow a run, surrendered only four hits, walked three and struck out five.
Andrew Cashner was hung with the loss again. An error by Aramis Ramirez with one out started the Pirates two-run rally in the eighth. Andy LaRoche reached with one out after Ramirez lost the ball in the exchange. Andrew McCutchen singled and Garrett Jones doubled off the vines in left center. Cashner intentionally walked Ryan Doumit before handing the ball over to Sean Marshall.
With the bases loaded and one out, Marshall struck out Pedro Alvarez but walked Lastings Milledge on a 3-2 pitch to force in the Pirates second run.
With the latest embarrassing loss to the Pirates, the Cubs slipped back to 10 games under .500 with a record of 34-44. After being shutout only once in their first 67 games, Lou’s crew has been blanked in four of the last 11. Yet the manager keeps running out basically the same lineup and expecting different results. When Brad Lincoln retired the Cubs in order in the bottom of the first on eight pitches, it was easy to see it was going to be another frustrating day.
The Cubs finally figured out two years ago that patience at the plate equals wins. Last season they turned less and less patient as the season wore on. This year, they walk to the plate swinging the bat.
In the three game series with the Pirates, the Cubs walked three times. Three. The entire team is not making the opposing staff work … period. Until they refocus on what actually wins ballgames, the Cubs will continue to be embarrassed by teams like they have been all season.
Tom Gorzelanny (77 in five), Brian Schlitter (29 in two), Andrew Cashner (14 in 1/3 of an inning), Sean Marshall (13 in 2/3 of an inning) and Bobby Howry (10 in one inning) threw 143 pitches Wednesday afternoon. Brad Lincoln (93 in seven), Joel Hanrahan (9 in one) and Octavio Dotel (10 in one) tossed 112.
Down by two in the eighth and ninth inning and the Cubs’ offense saw a total of 19 pitches.
The Cubs will enter play on July 1, ten games under the mediocre mark and, for what it is worth, 9 ½ back of the Reds. What is Jim Hendry waiting for to start making changes?
The Cubs open a four-game series versus the Reds Thursday afternoon. Carlos Silva will face Travis Wood in the opener. Wood, the Reds seventh best prospect and second best pitching prospect, will be making his big league debut.