Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 2 Diamondbacks 11
WP – Barry Enright (1-2) LP – Ryan Dempster (1-3) Save – None
To say the Cubs seven-game road trip started on a bad note would be an understatement. The Cubs struggles at Chase Field continued Thursday night and those that thought Ryan Dempster’s horrible beginning to the 2011 season had hit rock bottom were sorely mistaken.
Thursday’s game was over in the bottom of the first inning after Ryan Dempster allowed seven earned runs on four hits, four walks and a hit batter in a third of an inning. Dempster hit Justin Upton before serving up a Grand Slam to Stephen Drew … the ninth homer hit off Dempster in 31 innings this season.
Ryan Dempster threw 40 pitches, 18 for strikes, and left with his team in a 7-0 hole.
Mike Quade had to use five pitchers to get through the unscheduled ‘Bullpen Day‘ with Justin Berg taking one for the team that will likely cause him to be sent back to Iowa. Berg completed a career-high 3 2/3 innings and threw 54 pitches, 25 for strikes. The D’Backs scored three runs more runs off Berg on four hits.
Cubs pitching issued 11 walks, one intentional, and hit two batters to go along with 11 hits … 24 baserunners in eight innings is unacceptable and the only pitcher to retire the D’Backs in order was John Grabow (sixth inning)
The Cubs allowed Barry Enright to shut them down Thursday night. The only two runs came courtesy of a Koyie Hill home run and a sacrifice fly in the seventh by Reed Johnson. Q’s overpaid offense managed only five hits, one for extra bases, and five walks. The Cubs complained about the weather during the last homestand and said they would start hitting in the warm weather … what is the excuse now?
The Cubs were retired in order in four different innings (second, fourth, sixth and ninth) and appeared indifferent for the most part. After a miserable performance with runners on base over the last two games at Wrigley, Q’s offense was 0-for-5 with RISP and left seven on base Thursday night. The Cubs are 1-for-21 in the last three losses with RISP and have left 26 runners on base.
While Kirk Gibson’s team was hitting the ball all over Chase Field with authority, the roster assembled by Jim Hendry had a difficult time hitting the ball out of the infield against Barry Enright and Josh Collmenter. With all due respect to Mr. Enright, he is not one of the elite pitchers in the league and was pitching for his spot on the roster Thursday night. The Cubs offense looked old as player after player hit weak, routine grounders early in the count. The Cubs have forgotten, or do not care to remember, what it means to take pitches and put themselves into hitter’s counts.
It is only April, but unless changes are made with the Cubs approach both at the plate and on the mound it is going to get worse, not better, for Q’s squad as the season progresses.
With Thursday’s embarrassing loss, the Cubs have lost four in a row and have dropped six of the last seven (10-14 record) … The bottom of the first inning Thursday night was very difficult to watch. Ryan Dempster was all over the place and could only record one out before he left the game with his team down by a touchdown and an extra point.
Dempster’s outing began with Chris Young ripping his first pitch down the left field line. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Young ended up with a double. Dempster then issued his first free pass of the night, a four-pitch walk to Kelly Johnson. At that point the writing was on the wall for another bad start but nowhere near what Dempster ended up doing.
Ryan Dempster hit Justin Upton on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Dempster jumped out ahead of Stephen Drew 0-2 before serving up the next pitch that Drew deposited over the wall in right. Drew’s first career Grand Slam put the D’Backs up by four … but they were not done.
Ryan Dempster retired Miguel Montero for the first out … and the only one he would end up recording. Dempster then walked the next three batters he faced to load the bases. Melvin Mora, Russell Branyan and Gerardo Parra took what Dempster gave them, which was nothing.
Dempster then gave up a bloop single to Barry Enright on a 0-2 pitch. Marlon Byrd was out of position again (too deep with the pitcher at the plate) and Enright dropped a single into right center. Mora scored … 5-0 Arizona.
With the bases loaded and one out, Chris Young ripped a 2-1 pitch into left. Branyan and Parra scored … 7-0 D’Backs and Ryan Dempster’s night was over.
Dempster threw 40 pitches, 18 for strikes, in one-third of an inning.
Justin Berg came in and took one on the hip. Kelly Johnson ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle that hit Berg. He recovered and threw out Johnson at first. Justin Upton broke his bat and popped out to second to end the inning.
Arizona sent 12 to the plate in the bottom of the first and scored seven runs on four hits with four walks and a hit batsman. Neither Dempster nor Berg struck out a batter in the first.
The Cubs predictably went down in order, and quickly, in the second.
Stephen Drew led off the bottom of the second with a single to center on a 3-2 pitch. Miguel Montero followed with a double to left center on a 1-2 pitch. Drew scored … 8-0 Arizona. Mora grounded out to short, Montero advanced to third and held when Branyan struck out looking for the second out (the D’Backs first strikeout of the game).
Berg then intentionally walked Gerardo Parra to face Barry Enright … but walked Enright on four-pitches to load the bases. Berg retired Chris Young on a grounder to second to end the inning.
After Koyie Hill put the Cubs on the board in the top of the third with his first home run of the season, the D’Backs got the run back in the bottom of the third … and then some.
Justin Berg hit Justin Upton with one out. Berg retired Stephen Drew on a groundout to second but Miguel Montero continued his offensive onslaught against Cubs pitching. Montero lined a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right … 10-1 Arizona.
The Cubs went down in order in the fourth.
Justin Berg kept the D’Backs from tacking on in the fourth and the Cubs had a small shot of making a game of it in the fifth.
Barry Enright issued back-to-back one out walks to Tyler Colvin and Koyie Hill. Blake DeWitt hit for Berg and grounded into a 3-6 force. Kosuke Fukudome walked to load the bases for Starlin Castro.
Castro popped a 1-2 pitch into right field. Justin Upton made a diving catch toward the line to end the inning … and took away at least two RBI from Starlin Castro.
The Cubs second run came in the top of the seventh … yes, the top of the seventh.
Marlon Byrd led off with a single to left. Tyler Colvin followed with a single to right center on a 3-1 pitch. With runners on first and third with no outs, Koyie Hill struck out swinging. Reed Johnson then popped a 2-0 pitch into center. Byrd tagged and scored … 10-2 Arizona.
After Kosuke Fukudome walked and chased Barry Enright from the game, Starlin Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.
The D’Backs got the run right back in the bottom of the seventh. Chris Young led off with a double to left. Kelly Johnson ripped a single into right on a 1-2 pitch from Marcos Mateo. With runners on first and third, Upton lined out to second for the first out.
Stephen Drew grounded out to first on a 1-1 pitch, Young scored … 11-2 Arizona.
Carlos Marmol retired three of the four batters he faced in the eighth and kept the D’Backs from adding on.
Thursday was an ugly night for the Chicago Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano will face Armando Galarraga Friday night.