The Sunday Struggles Continue … Cubs Give Another One Away – Cubs 3 Diamondbacks 4

Game Twenty-Seven – Cubs 3 Diamondbacks 4
WP – Daniel Hudson (2-4) LP – Casey Coleman (1-2) Save – J.J. Putz (6)

The Cubs simply cannot win games on Sundays and close out series with a victory. Q’s squad began play at Chase Field with not only a chance to win a series on the road but to win their third game in a row … and pull within a game of .500. The Cubs led 1-0 early on but stopped hitting as Casey Coleman stopped throwing strikes.

The Cubs lost for the fifth time this season on Sunday (0-5) and for the eighth time on the final game of a series (1-8).

Casey Coleman could not throw strikes and pitched from behind in the count for a majority of his five-inning outing. Coleman allowed only one run in the first three innings before falling apart in the fourth.

The D’Backs were given three runs in the fourth and put the game away because Coleman could not throw strikes. Casey labored through a 39-pitch fourth inning that included three free passes and only one hit. Coleman committed a balk that allowed the go ahead run to score and a wild pitch that gave the D’Backs their fourth run of the game.

Q’s pitching staff allowed just five hits but walked eight batters, committed a balk and a threw a wild pitch that allowed two of the D’Backs four runs to score.

The Cubs made it 4-3 in the seventh on a two-run double by Geovany Soto but Q’s offense continued to struggle, especially with runners in scoring position. The Cubs put the leadoff runner on in seven of the nine innings (including three leadoff doubles) and out hit the D’Backs 10-5 but were a miserable 1-for-14 with RISP, hit into three double plays and left six on base.

Marlon Byrd led off the ninth with the 200th double of his career and the Cubs third leadoff double of the game. Carlos Pena launched a 2-2 pitch to right that Justin Upton caught fully extended at the wall. Byrd advanced to third and Geovany Soto walked but Jeff Baker, hitting for Marcos Mateo, swung at J.J. Putz’s first pitch and grounded into a 6-4-3 game ending double play.

Even with Sunday’s loss, the Cubs won the season series (4-3) but stumbled out of Arizona with a series split (2-2) and three games below .500 on the season (12-15) …

Kosuke Fukudome led off the game with a double down the left field line … but the Cubs could not push the run across the plate. Darwin Barney grounded out to Daniel Hudson, Fukudome advanced to third but Starlin Castro popped out on the first pitch and Aramis Ramirez swung at three balls well out of the strike zone to end the inning.

Casey Coleman retired the D’Backs in order in the first, with two strikeouts and got his offense back in the dugout rather quickly.

Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a line drive double down the left field line. Marlon Byrd grounded out weakly to third but Soriano took off for third as soon as Ryan Roberts released the ball. Soriano beat Miranda’s return throw with a headfirst slide.

Carlos Pena continued his struggles at the plate but was able to hit a weak grounder past Hudson that allowed Soriano to score from third … 1-0 Cubs. Geovany Soto ripped a double to the corner in left on a 1-1 pitch but was stranded when Casey Coleman flied out to the track in left to end the inning.

The D’Backs tied the game at one in the bottom of the second. After retiring Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero rather quickly to start the inning, Ryan Roberts hit his sixth homer on a 1-1 pitch. Coleman then issued a four-pitch to walk to Juan Miranda but retired Gerardo Parra on a pop out to left to end the inning.

Coleman was able to get through two innings on 32 pitches, 18 for strikes.

The Cubs began swinging at everything thrown up by Daniel Hudson in the third. They went quickly and quietly in the third and Hudson faced the minimum in the fourth after Soriano grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

The bottom of the fourth was incredibly ugly for Coleman and the Cubs.

With the game tied at one, Casey walked Miguel Montero to start the inning. Ryan Roberts singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. Montero advanced to third on the play. With Juan Miranda at the plate, Roberts broke for second. Casey stepped off but did not throw the ball to first … the balk allowed Montero to score the go ahead run, 2-1 Arizona.

Miranda ended up flying out to right. Roberts advanced to third with one out. Coleman missed on three straight to Parra before issuing ball four intentionally. With runners on first and third with one out, Daniel Hudson squared on a 2-0 pitch. Hudson got the bunt down and the safety squeeze was on.

Roberts slid in safe under Pena’s toss … a play the veteran first baseman should not have tried to make. Hudson reached as Roberts scored the D’Backs third run.

With runners on first and second with one out, Chris Young flied out to left center. With Kelly Johnson at the plate, Parra stole third. Johnson ended up walking to load the bases.

Coleman uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Justin Upton. Parra scored … 4-1 Arizona with runners on second and third. Justin Upton helped out Casey and struck out swinging to end the inning.

Coleman threw 39 pitches in the fourth inning and added a balk, a wild pitch and three walks to his line.

Casey Coleman left after five innings and 94 pitches (48 for strikes). Coleman allowed four runs on four hits with five walks, three strikes, a balk and a wild pitch.

The Cubs made a game of it in the seventh after a one-out single to center off the bat of Marlon Byrd. Carlos Pena worked the Cubs first walk of the day.

Geovany Soto stepped in and ripped a 2-1 pitch from Hudson into right. Byrd and Pena scored … 4-3 Arizona. Tyler Colvin hit for Samardzija, worked the count to 3-2 but tapped back to the mound for the second out. Soto advanced on the play.

Kosuke Fukudome tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

While the Cubs pen was busy keeping the D’Backs off the board, Darwin Barney led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs. Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez (pop outs) and Alfonso Soriano (strikeout) could not deliver.

Marlon Byrd started the ninth with the Cubs third leadoff double of the game. Carlos Pena just missed his first home run as a Cub with a long fly to right that took Justin Upton all the way to the wall.

Byrd advanced to third on the play. Putz walked Geovany Soto on four pitches … Putz did not look like he wanted anything to do with Soto. The injured Jeff Baker hit for Marcos Mateo and hit the first pitch to Stephen Drew … the 6-4-3 double play ended the game and the series.

The D’Backs did not beat the Cubs Sunday, Q’s squad gift-wrapped it for them … wonder what color the bow was?

One step forward, two steps back … It’s a Way of Life

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs travel to Los Angeles Monday and open a three-game series against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Monday night is another ‘Bullpen Day‘ with James Russell getting the ball to start the game.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne
  • The Maven

    It might be a good time to give Barney his first start at shortstop.

    • paulcatanese

      Totaly agree, I believe it’s a good move and will not hurt the Cubs in any way.

      • Keith Moreland

        Can’t remember who, but I think Phil Rogers suggested a swap with Castro. Me, I’m not so sure. Castro has the arm and range to play SS; he is error-prone, but maybe age takes that away. In the short-run, Barney at SS improves the defense, but I would prefer to keep Castro at SS, and get a decent bat at 2B.

        I like Darwin Barney, but I’m not convinced he’s a starting ML player. On a good team, I think he is a solid bench player.

        • Baron_S

          what are you talking about? Barney is hitting .333 on the season,.500 with RISP and looks terrific at the plate and on defense….


          Not an ML player? WHAT?

          • diehardcubfan

            Yes, you are right as of now he has been one of the clutch performers. Let us see how he does past the All Star break and into next season.

            Then we will have a better idea of his true potential.

            In the long run I think you will see Ryan Flaherty at 2B but just my opinion.

          • Keith Moreland

            Read my post carefully this time Baron S before commenting.

            I didn’t say he wasn’t a ML-player. He is. I said “I am not convinced he is a major league STARTING player”.

            I still am not. His stats this year are fueled by a .361 BABIP, which is unsustainable. If you project a more sustainable .300 or so (Barney gets a little extra because he does have good footspeed and a line-drive stroke), he would be clocking a .750 OPS or so; OK for a starting shortstop who field well, not so good for a starting 2nd Baseman.

            There is nothing in Barney’s minor league stats to indicate he is anything other than a good defender, who makes good line-drive contact at the plate, and who takes few walks and has almost no power. In other words, the second coming of Rey Sanchez.

            That doesn’t mean he sucks: He doesn’t. As a middle infield reserve, he’s better than average. Barney should have a 10-year career in baseball. Just not as a starter.

        • paulcatanese

          Keith,there are and were many great shortstops that made as many if not more errors than Castro their first year,Rizzuto,Banks,Aparicio to name a few. But that was not the point I was trying to make. I had mentioned last fall that a move for Castro would be benefical to him. I indicated third base or even center field to take advantage of his range and arm. As a shortstop he is too loose and has too many moving parts(if that makes sense to you) Has no confidence in his arm(thus all the pumps) and still after his second year is gun shy in tagging runners. His bat will provide him a long career in the Major Leagues.

          Barney on the other hand as you say will improve the defense at SS and gives a real spark to the team. Whether or not that holds up is the same for a lot of players. I feel he can beat you many ways and is an over achiever but thats good for as long as it lasts. He will spend his 10 years in the Majors as a starter or utility he has the tools. There is no suspect at all with his glove and he swings a smart bat,not power or Hr but a smart bat and uses the bat and his head for situational baseball, something that is hard to come by.

          • paulcatanese

            The one other thing I would mention on Castro, he still has a bit of trouble on routine plays and thus the pump before throwing. Don’t get me wrong though,he is the best we have had there for years. I just think he would be better at another position,2nd,3rd,or CF.

    • diehardcubfan

      It is way to early to start playing around with Starlin. We have to remember a young Barry Larkin had 48 errors over his first two full ML seasons back in 87/88 and was only 23/24. Starlin is still younger.

      Starlin needs time to develop. Look were Barry Larkin is now, a Hall of Famer.

      Starlin can be that if we give him time. We need to be careful with him and not damage him like what happened to Shawn Dunston.

      • paulcatanese

        A point I was trying to make was not that Castro is a bad shortstop but he could be a better third baseman. It very obvious to me that he will have the bat to carry that position. And he has quick hands,strong arm and good instincs for hard hit balls. It also provides him with a little extra time to set himself before throwing the ball to first base. He would be an absolute natural at that position. I could almost gurantee his errors would be cut in half. He then could concentrate on hitting as it doesent appear he has that much more to work on.

  • roseyc

    Considering all the bad weather (cold) and missing two starting pitchers for the Cubs to have this record is decent and they could have been better but they didn’t get blown out in April and hopefully Wells and Cashner will be back soon. Soriano leading the league in home runs is a plus but Pena struggles could be attribute to the cold weather. They are still a work in progress but one thing for certain that the bottom half of the bullpen is one of the best. Now just be able to get to them is the task at hand. Dempster poor start and hopefully he can turn this around. Garza getting off the snide and Z has pitched ok.

    • paulcatanese

      I don’t believe the weather has anything to do with Pena’s slow start. His track record shows that. If he starts to produce it will not affect his batting average that much. With his average as low as it is and if it stays that way another two weeks it would be almost impossible to bring it up. He would have to hit in the area of .400 to pick it up,not likely. We may not have a bullpen by June or July if they are used so often in “bullpen days”. I too hope that Dempster can turn it around,that would certainly help the bullpen. The only thing I can add hee is that it seems that the Management is in limbo,not decideing what to do day to day.

  • Last_ginger

    Sorry to change the subject but some good news finally: Osama Bin Laden shot and killed by US military. God bless our boys in uniform!

  • Tony

    Coming to a bookstore near you…

    How to put baseball players in the best situation to fail! by Jim Hendry

    Quote from the author “It has taken me many years to perfect my skills, to be more consistent, with putting players in the worst possible situation, but with extra hard work, I am finally hitting my stride and consistently, using players in the wrong spot. This could be my best year ever!”

    His next book is already the buzz of the clubhouses..

    How to sign free agents after having 1 career year.