Game Forty-Seven – Cubs 4 Mets 7 – 6+ innings
WP – Dillon Gee (4-0) LP – Casey Coleman (2-4) Save – None
For the second time in their last four games at Wrigley, the Cubs were not able to play a full nine innings. After a 41-minute rain delay, Wednesday’s contest against the Mets was called with two outs in the top of the seventh … with the Cubs coming out on the losing end of a game they scored four runs in the first inning.
On a foggy, cold and rainy night at Wrigley Field, Casey Coleman could not throw strikes after he was given an early lead. Wednesday night ended up being another ‘Bullpen Day‘ with Coleman all but punching his ticket to Iowa after another bad start in his home ballpark.
Casey Coleman lasted only 1 1/3 innings and was charged with six runs on seven hits with a walk and no strikeouts. Coleman threw 41 pitches, 22 for strikes, and received an early hook as Mike Quade seemed to be managing against the possibility of the game being called early due to the weather. Coleman left with two on and the game tied at four.
Justin Berg replaced Coleman and issued three straight four-pitch walks. Berg threw 12 pitches, not one in the strike zone, and the last two free passes forced in two runs … and gave the Mets a 6-4 lead.
James Russell was called on for the third time in five games and he ended the ugly second inning by striking out the two batters he faced. Mike Quade had to use three pitchers to get through the second inning … the first time the Cubs had to use three pitchers to complete the first two innings of a game since June 29, 1989. Coleman, Berg and Russell threw 63 pitches in the first two innings, 29 for strikes.
James Russell pitched 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night and ended up allowing one run on three hits without a walk and two strikeouts. Russell threw 41 pitches, 30 for strikes. Russell really stepped up after working three innings Friday night in Boston, then four-plus innings Sunday night subbing for Matt Garza. Russell has thrown a total of 10 2/3-plus innings in the Cubs last five games.
The second inning on Wednesday was another embarrassing chapter for the 2011 Chicago Cubs. Major League pitchers must be able to throw strikes … something young pitchers in the Cubs system has struggled with in recent years.
The Cubs scored all four of their runs in the first and managed only two baserunners after the opening inning.
Reed Johnson and Alfonso Soriano notched back-to-back two-out, two run doubles that drove in the Cubs four runs.
With Wednesday’s rain-shortened loss, the Cubs slipped back to five games under the .500-mark with a 21-26 record … On another miserable night at Wrigley, Casey Coleman came out throwing strikes … but quickly lost his command. Coleman retired Jose Reyes and Josh Thole on groundouts on just six pitches. Coleman then quit throwing strikes. Carlos Beltran walked and Coleman fell behind Jason Bay 3-1 before having to throw a strike. Bay ripped Coleman’s next offering into left.
Daniel Murphy pulled a 1-0 pitch to the hole at second. Carlos Pena tried to make a diving catch but the ball went off his glove and past a diving Darwin Barney into short right. Beltran scored … 1-0 Mets.
Coleman retired Justin Turner on a fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning … the wind kept the ball in the park. Coleman threw 26 pitches in the opening inning, 13 for strikes.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Darwin Barney lined out to first but Starlin Castro ripped the first pitch he saw into center. With runners on first and second with one out, Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Ramirez’s struggles with runners in scoring position continued …
Carlos Pena walked to load the bases with two outs.
Reed Johnson came through with another two-out run producing hit. Johnson ripped a double down the left field line on a 2-0 pitch. Fukudome and Castro scored … 2-1 Cubs. Johnson improved to 8-for-16 with RISP with his first inning double and has 18 RBI on the season, one more than Ramirez in nearly a third of the at bats.
With runners on second and third with two out, Alfonso Soriano did something he had not done in two weeks (May 11) he drove in a run. Soriano launched a 1-1 pitch over Carlos Beltran’s head in right. Pena and Johnson scored, 4-1 Cubs.
With Soriano at second, Welington Castillo grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 4-1 lead into the second … and it quickly evaporated.
Casey Coleman pretty much punched his ticked to Iowa on Wednesday night. After his offense gave him a 4-1 lead, Coleman could not locate any of his pitches and started throwing batting practice.
Jason Pridie led off the second with a single to right. Ruben Tejada followed with a single to center and Quade got his bullpen up.
Dillon Gee tried to bunt the runners up ninety feet but Coleman picked the ball up, threw to third and forced Pridie for the first out of the inning … the only out Coleman would record in the inning.
Jose Reyes reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out.
Josh Thole ripped a single into right on a 2-0 pitch. Tejada scored, 4-2 Cubs. With the bases loaded and the infield back, Carlos Beltran ended Coleman’s night. Beltran tied the game with a double to left center. The ball rolled to the wall and plated Gee and Reyes with the tying runs. Thole slipped and fell between third and home or the Mets would have taken the lead.
Justin Berg replaced Coleman and could not throw a strike.
Justin Berg threw 12 pitches, not one of them ended up in the strike zone. Berg walked Bay to load the bases then issued back-to-back free passes to Daniel Murphy and Jason Turner that forced in two runs (Thole and Beltran) and gave the Mets a 6-4 lead.
James Russell came in and struck out Jason Pridie and Ruben Tejada to end the inning.
The Cubs offense became extremely aggressive after the Mets took a 6-4 lead. Dillon Gee retired six of the seven batters he faced in the second and third innings not because of his pitching but because the Cubs did not work the count.
The Mets tacked on a run in the fifth as James Russell appeared to just wear down. Justin Turner and Jason Pridie started the inning with singles to right. Ruben Tejada followed with a single to left to load the bases with no outs.
Dillon Gee hit a 1-2 pitch into right. Turner tagged and scored the Mets seventh run. Jose Reyes popped out to a diving Darwin Barney for the second out and Josh Thole grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs’ offense made it easy on Dillon Gee once the Mets took the lead. Gee allowed only two baserunners (a single by Carlos Pena in the third and Reed Johnson was hit by a pitch in the sixth) over his last five innings of work.
Scott Maine struck out Jason Pridie and Ruben Tejada to start the seventh. Maine then issued a four-pitch walk to Dillon Gee. Jose Reyes singled to left then Dale Scott called for the tarp and the game was put in a rain delay.
Mike Quade was visually upset with the timing of the postponement. Quade argued before leaving the field.
The game was called 41 minutes later …
The Cubs should have won the rain-shortened game Wednesday night. There are no excuses for pitchers on a Major League roster not being able to throw strikes.
Weather permitting … Carlos Zambrano will face R.A. Dickey in the rubber game Thursday afternoon.