The Free Fallin’ Chicago Cubs – Cubs 4 Reds 11

Game One Hundred Eleven – Cubs 4 Reds 11
WP – Travis Wood (3-1) LP – Thomas Diamond (0-2) Save – None

How much longer will the Cubs’ front office sit by and watch this group of players take the field? This group has quit, with a few exceptions, and the lackadaisical play by the supposed leaders of this “team”, as well as the manager, figures to rub off on the young players at some point.

The Reds completed the three-game sweep with a lot of help from the group of players in blue pinstripes.

Sunday was a microcosm of the entire season … pitiful defense, no discipline at the plate, and indifference with results in the field and plate. Plus, Piniella ran out four rookie pitchers that could not throw strikes. Hey, what can Lou say?

Travis Wood dominated the Cubs’ offense once again. He faced the minimum through 5 1/3 and kept the Cubs free-swinging offense off balance. Koyie Hill broke up the no-hitter with a single to left in the sixth.

The Cubs scored four runs in the seventh and chased Wood from the game. Jeff Baker led off the seventh with his fourth homer of the year. Following a walk by Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez doubled and the Cubs got a gift from Juan Francisco.

Francisco’s throwing error allowed the Cubs to plate a pair of runs. Xavier Nady then doubled to left and plated Marlon Byrd with the Cubs’ fourth run of the game.

The Cubs cut the score to 8-4 but Joey Votto’s 28th dinger of the year in the eighth made it 10-4 and the life the Cubs showed in the seventh was gone. Jordan Smith retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth on just 21 pitches.

The Cubs ran out four rookie pitchers Sunday afternoon and each one struggled with command … and throwing strikes. The last time the Cubs used as many rookie pitchers in the same game was September 30, 2006. Dusty Baker used five nearly four years ago … Juan Mateo, Jae-Kuk Ryu, David Aardsma and Les Walrond.

Thomas Diamond was all over the place in his three innings of work. Diamond walked three, hit a batter and gave up five runs on four hits. The Cubs’ defense did not help Diamond but he threw 63 pitches, 37 for strikes, on Sunday afternoon. Diamond hit his spots in the second but did not miss any bats.

Casey Coleman kept the Reds off the board in the fourth but did not fare any better in the fifth. In his second appearance, Coleman allowed two runs on two hits with a pair of walks in three innings.

James Russell and Mitch Atkins gave up four runs over the last three innings on seven hits with a walk and another hit batsman.

The Cubs walked six Reds Sunday and hit two batters … six of the eight freebies scored.

The Reds scored in all but two innings, the fourth and sixth, and were retired in order just once … the fourth inning.

The Cubs have lost 10 of 11 and have been outscored 88-42 over that span. The offense has managed three or fewer runs in seven of those games. With the loss on Sunday, the Cubs fell to 3-10 versus the Reds. Cincinnati completed their season at Wrigley with a 6-1 record.

With the Cubs latest debacle, they slipped to a season-low 17 games under .500 with a 47-64 record.

When will Jim Hendry be held accountable for assembling this roster? $140 million payroll and the Cubs are not even competitive. The Cubs had a lead only once during a six-game homestand (1-5). Once … it’s just a way of life.

The Reds jumped all over the Cubs in the first inning. Baker’s bunch came out swinging and ended the game before the Cubs ever stepped to the plate.

After a 15-minute rain delay, Thomas Diamond hit Chris Heisey to start the first and set the tone for the afternoon. Miguel Cairo hit a tailor made double play ball to Starlin Castro but Jeff Baker dropped the ball. Heisey was called out … replays showed Baker never caught the ball.

Joey Votto then hit a grounder up the middle. Castro made a good play getting to the ball. Castro stepped on second but airmailed his throw to Derrek Lee. Votto ended up on second. Diamond walked Jonny Gomes then gave up a double to Jay Bruce. Votto and Gomes scored … 2-0 Reds.

The Cubs defense gave the Reds five outs in the first.

The Reds tacked on a run in the second. Ryan Hanigan singled to center. Paul Janish reached on an infield single off Ramirez’s glove … another play that should have been made. Travis Wood sacrificed both runners up ninety feet.

Chris Heisey hit a sacrifice fly to left. Hanigan scored … 3-0 Reds.

Diamond walked Joey Votto on four pitches to start the third. Jonny Gomes walked again and Bruce singled to right to load the bases.

Juan Francisco popped the first pitch into shallow right center. Byrd, Castro and Nady watched the ball fall. Bruce was thrown out at second but Votto scored … 4-0 Reds. Ryan Hanigan drove in the Reds fifth run with a sacrifice fly to right. And Diamond retired Janish on a fly out to right center on his 63rd pitch of the game.

While Diamond was struggling, Wood was dealing. After three innings, Wood had thrown only 23 pitches.

Casey Coleman retired the Reds in order in the fourth, the only inning all afternoon the Reds did not manage a baserunner.

Joey Votto notched his first hit of the series in the fifth … a double to left. Coleman uncorked a wild pitch with Gomes at the plate that advanced Votto to third. Gomes walked and so did Jay Bruce.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Juan Francisco hit a grounder to short. Jeff Baker’s throw to Lee was low and Votto scored on the fielder’s choice. Hanigan hit a sac fly into left center that plated Gomes with the Reds’ seventh run.

The Reds did not add on in the sixth but did in the seventh.

Jonny Gomes walked to start the seventh, his fourth free pass of the game. Jay Bruce struck out and Francisco singled to center off James Russell.

Ryan Hanigan grounded out to first. Lee forced Francisco at second for the second out.

Paul Janish then singled in Gomes with another two-out hit … 8-0 Reds.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the home half of the seventh. Jeff Baker notched the Cubs second hit with a homer to left center. Derrek Lee walked and Ramirez doubled to left center. Marlon Byrd hit a routine grounder to third. Lee scored and so did Ramirez after Francisco airmailed his throw to first. Byrd ended up at second and scored on a double to left by Xavier Nady.

Nady’s double was the Cubs last hit of the game.

Mitch Atkins took over in the eighth and gave up an infield single to Miguel Cairo. Joey Votto then launched a 3-0 pitch from Atkins into the bleachers in left … 10-4 Reds. Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce singled but Francisco struck out and Hanigan popped out to short to end the inning.

The Reds 11th run came after Atkins hit Chris Heisey with two outs and Xavier Nady dropped a fly ball in right by Cairo. It was ruled a triple and a RBI but it was another horrible play by the Cubs defense.

There are 51 games left on the Cubs’ schedule.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs begin a seven-game road trip Monday night in San Francisco that concludes next Sunday in St. Louis. Carlos Zambrano versus Madison Bumgarner in game one of four by the Bay.

Quote of the Day

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