A Fitting End to the Cubs First Half – Cubs 0 Dodgers 7

Game Eighty-Nine – Cubs 0 Dodgers 7
WP – Vicente Padilla (4-2) LP – Carlos Silva (9-3) Save – None

All of the issues that led to the Cubs horrible first half were on full display Sunday night. Poor defense and fundamentals, little to no offense, over aggressiveness at the plate, no runs in the first inning … the list could go on and on.

The Cubs’ pathetic offense managed just four hits and two of those came in the ninth inning. Only six runners reached base in nine innings and twice the Cubs led off innings with a double and could not advance the runner. After showing the ability to score runs over the last six games, Lou’s crew was shutout for the sixth time since June 19.

The game was essentially over 16 minutes after Vicente Padilla’s first pitch. The Cubs went down in order in the first on just nine pitches, then the Dodgers put together the first of back-to-back three-run innings.

Carlos Silva did not have it Sunday night. Silva was ineffective then ejected. James Loney gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead on the first pitch of the at bat. Loney launched a fastball over the wall in right that ended the game before it got started.

After struggling again in the second inning, Silva did not break to cover first on a ball hit by James Loney with the bases loaded. Xavier Nady made a diving stop then beat Loney to the bag. Loney was called safe, replays showed otherwise, but Silva argued and was ejected.

Carlos Silva became the third Cub ejected in as many days. Marlon Byrd was tossed on Friday night and Lou Piniella got the early shower Saturday afternoon.

Carlos Silva’s line: six runs, all earned, on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings … and his calf injury could be worse than the Cubs let on

The Cubs pen did a good job in relief of Silva and allowed just one run over the final 6 2/3 innings. James Russell did not surrrender a hit in his two innings of work and allowed just one inherited run to score in relief of Mitch Atkins. Sean Marshall and Bobby Howry combined for two scoreless as well.

Andrew Cashner pitched an excellent eighth. Cashner struck out two of the four batters he faced but more importantly, the rookie hit Blake DeWitt to start the frame. Vicente Padilla, who had pinpoint control all night, plunked Marlon Byrd in the seventh. By Byrd’s reaction there could have been a little carryover from their time together in Texas.

The Cubs completed the first half with their 50th loss of the season. Lou’s crew will begin the second half 39-50, 11 games under the mediocre mark after finishing the seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record …

After taking two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley, Joe Torre’s team returned the favor and won three of four at Dodger Stadium. In the process, the Dodgers won the season series four games to three.

While Vicente Padilla was busy facing the minimum through the first five innings, the Dodgers took batting practice against Carlos Silva.

Rafael Furcal had another huge game against the Cubs and led off the bottom of the first with a double off the wall in right. Silva then walked Matt Kemp on four pitches … and the writing was on the wall.

Silva struck out Andre Ethier but could not throw one past James Loney. Loney launched Silva’s first pitch over the wall in right … 3-0 Dodgers.

Casey Blake grounded out to the hole at short. Xavier Paul singled but Russell Martin struck out to end the inning.

Padilla faced the minimum in the second after Aramis Ramirez led off with a walk. Xavier Nady grounded into another double play and Soriano popped out to center.

The Dodgers went back to work in the home half of the second … with help from the Cubs defense.

Blake DeWitt led off with a single to right on a 0-2 pitch. Vicente Padilla dropped a bunt up the first base line that Xavier Nady let roll. He tried to pick it up at the last minute and tag Padilla as he went by but he missed … and replays showed Nady missed the tag.

Rafael Furcal walked to load the bases with no outs … Silva was ahead in the count 0-2.

With the infield back, Matt Kemp hit a sacrifice fly into right. DeWitt scored and both runners advanced on the play. Silva intentionally walked Andre Ethier to load the bases.

James Loney ripped a 2-0 offering from Silva down the first base line. Xavier Nady made an excellent diving stop but Silva did not break for the bag. Nady recovered and tried to beat Loney to the bag.

As Padilla was scoring the Dodgers’ fifth run, Loney was called safe at first. Silva voiced his displeasure and was ejected by first base umpire Brian Runge. Replays showed Nady beat Loney to the bag. But again poor fundamentals cost the Chicago Cubs.

Mitch Atkins made his second appearance of the series, and the season. Atkins struck out Casey Blake but walked Xavier Paul and forced in the Dodgers’ sixth run. Russell Martin then grounded out to short to end the inning. Martin bailed out Atkins by swinging at the first pitch.

The Dodgers tacked on their seventh run in the fourth. Andre Ethier singled to right to start the inning. James Loney and Casey Blake walked to load the bases with no outs.

Lou made the slow walk and brought in James Russell.

Russell did a good job in relief of Atkins. Xavier Paul hit into a 6-4-3 double play that plated Ethier with the Dodgers’ seventh run … then Marin flied out to center to end the inning. Allowing only one run was a small victory for the Cubs.

James Russell sat down the Dodgers in order in the fifth … the first time Cubs’ pitching retired the Dodgers 1-2-3.

Sean Marshall and Bobby Howry did their job in relief of Russell … but it was Andrew Cashner’s appearance in the eighth that should have earned him the respect of his teammates.

The Cubs miserable offense recorded their first hit in the sixth. Starlin Castro broke up Padilla’s no hit bid with a ground-rule double to start the inning. In typical Cubs’ fashion, Castro was stranded at second.

The Cubs managed only six baserunners all night … four hits, a walk and a hit batter. Ryan Theriot recorded two of the Cubs four hits, both doubles.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Marlon Byrd will participate in the Mid-Summer Classic Tuesday night. Other than Byrd, the rest of the Cubs will receive a three-day break before picking up the season again on Thursday.

Ryan Dempster is slated to pitch the first of four against the Phillies. Roy Halladay should be on the hill for the defending National League Champs.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon