The Fundamentally Challenged Chicago Cubs – Cubs 5 Reds 7

Game One Hundred Thirty-One – Cubs 5 Reds 7
WP – Logan Ondrusek (4-0) LP – Sean Marshall (6-5) Save – Francisco Cordero (35)

The Chicago Cubs gave another game away Sunday afternoon. From physical errors to mental mistakes to horrible fundamentals, the Cubs showed once again how bad a baseball team they actually are this season. The Cubs committed two more errors and ran their Major League worst unearned run total to 84. The Cubs have been credited with 106 errors, worst in the bigs. But those that have watched the games realize the Cubs defense is actually worse than it’s been given credit.

The Cubs had plenty of chances early on and while the Reds capitalized on their opportunities, the Cubs could not get the job done. Jim Hendry’s poorly constructed roster finished the season series against the Reds with a 4-12 record.

The Cubs battled back and tied the game in the eighth on a two-run homer by Kosuke Fukudome … a rarity this season, just his second longball off a lefty. Fukudome set a Major League high in homers with his 12th of the year on Sunday but it was his throwing error that allowed the Reds to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Kosuke Fukudome tried to throw out the speedy Chris Heisey as he went from first to third on a single by Ramon Hernandez. Fukudome’s throw ended up in the Cubs’ dugout and the Reds took a 6-5 lead. Aramis Ramirez could not handle a grounder off the bat of Jonny Gomes that plated pinch runner Brandon Phillips with the Reds’ seventh run.

While the Cubs’ defense, or lack thereof, ended up being the story once again. It was the offense that failed to produce with runners on base early in the game.

The Cubs let Travis Wood off the hook in the first and set the tone for the afternoon. Q’s crew loaded the bases with one out but Xavier Nady struck out and Alfonso Soriano flied out to the track in left center on a 3-2 pitch. Nady and Soriano combined on a 3-for-9 afternoon with a run scored and a RBI … but they left seven on base.

Six of the first 11 Cubs reached on five hits and a walk but managed only one run against Travis Wood. The Cubs were 2-for-5 with RISP and left seven on base in the first four innings. The Cubs put the leadoff man on in four of the first five innings and recorded their 10th hit before there were two outs in the fifth.

Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto tied the game in the fifth with a double and a fielder’s choice … but they should have scored more off of Travis Wood.

The Cubs’ offense finished the game 5-for-12 with RISP and left seven on base. Every position player in Mike Quade’s lineup reached base.

Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey were the difference for the Reds. Stubbs continued swinging a hot bat against Cubs’ pitching. Stubbs was 3-for-5 with a double, two stolen bases and three runs scored while Heisey finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored … Heisey ended up scoring the game winner in the eighth on Fukudome’s throwing error.

Casey Coleman made his third big league start with mixed results. Coleman did not miss many bats but completed six innings of work. Coleman allowed four runs on eight hits without a walk and two strikeouts. The Reds scored single runs in the first three innings.

The Cubs finished the road trip with a 4-2 record, and could have easily won five of the six. With the loss, the Cubs slipped back to 21 games under .500 with a 55-76 mark in Twenty-Ten …

Jim Hendry said before the game that the Cubs were only a few moves and a few of the young players stepping up in order for his team to be a contender again. What team is Hendry watching? It can’t be the roster he constructed because this group continues to take two steps back for every step forward.

The game began on a very positive note for the Cubs. Jeff Baker led off with a single to right. Starlin Castro hit a tapper back to the mound that Wood nearly threw into center. Baker was out but Castro reached on a fielder’s choice.

Marlon Byrd reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Castro beat out Paul Janish’s throw to second. Aramis Ramirez was then robbed of a clean single to left … and a RBI. Janish made a fine diving stop to keep the ball in the infield. With the bases loaded and one out, Xavier Nady stepped in.

Nady struck out but Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-1 before flying out to the track in left center on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Maybe, just maybe the Cubs will learn how to play fundamental ball under their next manager … Nady and Soriano took full swings and never attempted to hit the ball where it was pitched.

Drew Stubbs led off the bottom of the first with a double down the third base line. Chris Valaika sacrificed him to third and Stubbs scored on a ground out to first by Joey Votto … 1-0 Reds. Coleman retired Scott Rolen on a fly out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs tied the game in the top of the second. Geovany Soto led off with a four-pitch walk. Kosuke Fukudome lined out to second and Coleman could not execute a sacrifice bunt. Soto was thrown out at second … Coleman bunted the ball back to Wood.

Jeff Baker singled to right, his second hit of the game. With two outs and Coleman at second, Starlin Castro blooped a single into left center. Coleman scored but Baker stopped ten feet from third and got caught in a rundown, and was eventually tagged out. Baker should have never rounded second but he appeared to stop in order to allow Coleman to score … Stubbs’ throw beat Baker to third and replays showed Baker would probably be tagged out before Coleman scored.

The Reds took the lead right back in the home half of the second. Chris Heisey reached on a one-out hustle double down the right field line. Ramon Hernandez singled to center and gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Drew Stubbs led off the third with a single to left. Chris Valaika flied out to right center but Joey Votto singled to left center, Stubbs motored to third and scored on a sac fly to center by Scott Rolen … 3-1 Reds. Jay Bruce grounded out to first to end the inning.

Casey Coleman kept the Reds off the board for the first time in the fourth.

The Cubs tied the game in the fifth after Marlon Byrd led off the inning with a double to right. Byrd hustled out of the box and slid in ahead of Bruce’s throw. Aramis Ramirez popped out to first but Xavier Nady blooped a single into center … the Cubs’ ninth hit of the game. Byrd held at third with one out.

Alfonso Soriano fell behind 1-2 before ripping a double into left. Byrd scored and Nady ended up at third … 3-2 Reds.

With the infield back, Soto put the ball in play and grounded out to short. Nady scored and tied the game at three. Wood intentionally walked Kosuke Fukudome before striking out Casey Coleman to end the inning.

Jay Bruce broke up the 3-3 tie with his fourth homer of the series in the sixth.

The Reds then appeared to put the game away in the seventh. Drew Stubbs reached on a one-out bunt single. Stubbs stole second and advanced to third when Soto’s throw short-hopped Castro and ended up in center … Jeff Baker did not back up the play.

Chris Valaika ripped a 3-2 pitch from Marcos Mateo into center and plated Stubbs with the Reds’ fifth run.

Sean Marshall and Tyler Colvin replaced Mateo and Soriano in a double switch. Marshall induced a ground out to third off the bat of Votto … that the Cubs could not turn two on. Ramirez double clutched and messed up the timing on the would-be double play. Valaika was out at second on the 5-6 fielder’s choice. Votto stole second but Rolen grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs battled back in the top of the eighth. Geovany Soto doubled to start the inning and scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s 12th homer of the year … and second off a lefty. Fukudome’s two-run shot tied the game at five.

Tyler Colvin reached on an infield single but Jeff Baker could not get a bunt down and eventually struck out … the Cubs’ third failed bunt attempt of the game.

Starlin Castro ripped a single to left and chased Arthur Rhodes from the game. Logan Ondrusek took over and induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Byrd to end the inning.

The Cubs’ horrific defense gave the Reds the lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Chris Heisey reached on a one-out single to left … the first of four straight hits off Sean Marshall. Ramon Hernandez then singled to right. Heisey rounded second and headed to third. Kosuke’s throw got past Aramis Ramirez, ended up in the Cubs’ dugout and Heisey scored … 6-5 Reds.

Paul Janish singled to left center. Hernandez stopped at third with one out. Dusty sent in Brandon Phillips to run for Hernandez at third … and sent up Jonny Gomes to hit for Ondrusek.

Gomes hit a grounder off the glove of a diving Aramis RamirezBrandon Phillips scored and the Reds took a 7-5 lead.

Andrew Cashner replaced Sean Marshall and appeared to induce an around the horn double play off the bat of Drew Stubbs. But Jeff Baker could not get the ball out of his glove. Stubbs reached on the fielder’s choice.

Andrew Cashner retired Chris Valaika on a fly out to right but the damage had been done.

Look, what can you say … It’s a Way of Life.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a nine-game, 10-day homestand, on Monday with the first of three against the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates. Carlos Zambrano and Paul Maholm in game one Monday night.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt