The Cubs Can’t Hit When It Counts – Cubs 3 Reds 4

Game One Hundred Ten – Cubs 3 Reds 4
WP – Logan Ondrusek (3-0) LP – Randy Wells (5-10) Save – Nick Masset (2)

The ninth inning Saturday summed up the Cubs problems this season. Bases loaded with less than two outs and the “big boys” cannot deliver a clutch hit. Look, what can Lou do … It’s a Way of Life.

Francisco Cordero was incredibly wild in the ninth inning. Cordero took the hill with a 4-1 lead and proceeded to walk the bases loaded. Cordero then hit Starlin Castro on a 0-2 pitch in the left shoulder to force in the Cubs’ second run. Dusty Baker took out his closer and brought in Nick Masset to face Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd.

Derrek Lee predictably struck out swinging on a pitch well out of the strike zone. Masset then walked Aramis Ramirez and forced in the Cubs third run. But with the bases loaded and down by one, Marlon Byrd struck out swinging on four pitches to end the game.

The Cubs scored three runs Saturday afternoon but not a single run scored on a base hit … sac fly by Derrek Lee, Starlin Castro hit by pitch and a walk by Aramis Ramirez.

Just another day and another loss for the Chicago Cubs … and no one seems to care. It is one thing for a group of players to be playing out the schedule, but it is one thing for the organization with the third highest payroll in baseball to “perform” the way this group does on a daily basis.

Lou’s crew lost for the ninth time in 10 games … dating back to July 27 (10 games), the Cubs have been outscored 77-38 and that includes the 15-run outburst against the Brewers.

The Cubs lost their Major League leading 26th one-run game Saturday afternoon. Lou’s crew is just 13-26 on the year in games decided by one-run.

Drew Stubbs entered Saturday’s game 1-for his last 37 and got hot against Cubs pitching. Stubbs doubled and scored in the third then hit his 14th homer of the season in the eighth that broke up a 1-1 tie. Five of Stubbs’ 14 homers this year have been hit off Cubs’ pitching. Stubbs added his third hit in the ninth, a RBI single to left off Carlos Marmol. The run was unearned due to an error by Blake DeWitt.

Randy Wells lost to the Reds for the first time in his career. Wells looked a lot better Saturday afternoon and got through the fourth inning. Wells retired 10 in a row from the fourth through the seventh … but Stubbs broke up the stretch with one swing of the bat.

Wells took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits in seven-plus innings while he was on the mound. Justin Berg allowed the third run charged to Wells to score on a two-out single by Paul Janish. Wells’ final line: three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. It was more than just a quality start for Randy Wells.

Edinson Volquez was effectively wild Saturday afternoon. He might have held the Cubs to one run on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings but he missed his spots badly … in some cases by several inches. Volquez showed he is not healthy and barely resembles the pitcher that dominated the NL two seasons ago.

Kosuke Fukudome put together a decent afternoon at the plate … and a good one in the field. Kosuke reached in his first two trips (1-for-2 with three walks and a run scored) and made a tremendous diving catch in third inning.

The Cubs “pounded out” six hits and managed three runs. The offense was 1-for-9 with RISP and left 11 on base.

The Cubs lost for the ninth time on the year to the Reds (3-9) and have dropped nine of their last 10. The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 with a record on 47-63 …

The Cubs threatened in the second inning but came away empty. Marlon Byrd led off with a single to right and advanced to second on a solid one-out single by Blake DeWitt. Koyie Hill looked at two out of the zone before ripping a ball into left center. Byrd broke right away and was doubled off after Laynce Nix made a diving catch to take away a hit.

Drew Stubbs continued knocking the cover off the ball … when facing Cubs’ pitching. Stubbs entered Saturday 1-for his last 37 and doubled on the first pitch from Wells to start the third. Ramon Hernandez fell behind 0-2 before checking his swing on Wells’ third pitch … replays showed Hernandez went around. Hernandez then ripped a single into center past DeWitt on a 1-2 pitch. Stubbs scored … 1-0 Reds.

Edinson Volquez failed to sacrifice Hernandez to second and it cost them more than one out. Brandon Phillips fell behind 0-2 before lifting a sinking liner into short right. Kosuke made an excellent diving catch and doubled off Hernandez at first. Phillips looked disgusted as he walked back to the bench.

Kosuke Fukudome reached on his ninth double of the season with one out in the bottom of the third. Starlin Castro ripped a single to left. Mike Quade held Kosuke at third with one out. Derrek Lee hit Volquez’s first pitch into right and drove in Fukudome with the Cubs first run.

Aramis Ramirez hit a lazy fly to left to end the third.

Randy Wells survived the fourth inning without allowing any runs. Scott Rolen singled with two out and Nix walked but Jay Bruce grounded out to first to end the inning.

Alfonso Soriano reached on a one-out double to right in the fourth. Blake DeWitt walked but Koyie Hill flied out to left on a 3-1 pitch … and Wells grounded out to end the inning.

After four innings the Cubs had already left five on base and were 1-for-6 with RISP.

Randy Wells retired the Reds in order in the fifth and sixth innings.

Aramis Ramirez led off the sixth with a single to right. Byrd followed and hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Soriano then hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

After the Cubs failed to score again in the seventh, the Reds took a commanding 3-1 lead in the eighth.

Wells had retired 10 in a row before the eighth … and was greeted by Drew Stubbs with a long homer to left center. Stubbs’ 14th (fifth off Cubs pitching) gave the Reds a 2-1 lead. Ramon Hernandez followed with an infield single and Wells walked Jayson Nix to end his afternoon.

Justin Berg replaced Wells and induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Brandon Phillips. Bronson Arroyo, who ran for Hernandez, advanced to third and scored on a two-out single to left by Paul Janish … 3-1 Reds.

Sean Marshall sat down Joey Votto on a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.

The Reds final run came in the ninth off Carlos Marmol. Jayson Nix reached on a two-base error by Blake DeWitt. Nix popped a ball into short right that DeWitt dropped. Drew Stubbs came through again with a two-out single to left … Nix scored, 4-1 Reds

Do the Cubs employee advanced scouts?

It is hard to think a player like Drew Stubbs that is on the verge of being sent down can have the kind of success he does against Cubs’ pitching.

The Cubs sent eight to the plate in the ninth and scored two runs without a hit.

Francisco Cordero walked Blake DeWitt to start the inning then struck out Koyie Hill for the first out. Mike Fontenot hit for Carlos Marmol and walked.

Kosuke worked his third free pass of the game to load the bases with one-out. Starlin Castro stepped in and fell behind 0-2. Cordero then hit Castro on the sixth pitch of the at bat. DeWitt scored, 4-2 Reds.

Dusty Baker went to his pen and replaced his closer with Nick Masset.

Derrek Lee struck out on four pitches for the second out. Aramis Ramirez walked on five pitches to force in Fontenot with the Cubs third run … but Marlon Byrd struck out swinging to end the game.

Lou Piniella said after the game that Geovany Soto was not available Saturday due to a mild ligament sprain in his right shoulder … and will be out of the starting lineup on Sunday as well.

The downward spiral continues … look, what can the Cubs do?

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thomas Diamond versus Travis Wood in the finale Sunday afternoon.

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