Gee Whiz! The Cubs Could Not Throw Strikes in the Rain – Cubs 4 Mets 7

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.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Weather permittingCarlos Zambrano will face R.A. Dickey in the rubber game Thursday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Richard Hood

    Good Recap Neal. Didn’t get to watch the game. Sounds like I missed a mess.

     Now the question becomes where do we go from here? We are going to be without Wells for atleast one more rehab start. I wish I knew what the deal was with Coleman he seems to have a good outing followed by a ton of bad ones. Davis is well a retread but he has to stay till atleast Garza is ready to pitch We do not have anyone that is ML ready in the minors at this point? Well that shows that it is going to be a rough couple of weeks. Hopefully this does not totally destroy any chance of climbing out of this hole but I think it will.

    • Neil

      Thanks Richard … the good news is Wells is supposed to be back Saturday against the Pirates and Garza is slated to return during the Cardinals series (June 3 – June 5).

  • Joey U

    J.H. and his gang of super adviser’s really now how  to put a pitching staff together. Some these  so called pitcher’s we have on our roster should be in the Little Leagues. They are terrible.

  • paulcatanese

    Thats the first time I ever seen a manager tossed during a rain delay. Quade dosent even know how to argue correctly, all the gestures he makes on the field does nothing but show the umpires up, all they can do is toss him. What a joke, as I have said many times he is losing it.

  • Richard Hood

    Was looking at the box scores and recap from the AA game that the Smokies won 10-6 and found a couple interesting things. One is that Vitters is getting AB’s at 1st and Rebel Ridding got the start in LF with LeMahieu at 3rd , Flaherty  was in RF and Gonzalez at 2nd. That is nice to get guys chances at different positions and see how they fare. Now if we can just get some versatility like that on the big club. The second thing I noticed is that they score a number of different ways. They steal bases and bang the ball all over the ballpark as well.
     Vitters already has 11 errors eek. Who the Heck is Luis Flores? 4 homers in 17 AB’s in AA.

    As you can tell I do not want to talk about the Big Club tonight.

    • Aaron

      They’ve been moving all of those guys around with the big league club in mind, and they did that last year as well with guys at AA. The problem is, Hendry goes out and signs/re-signs the likes of Johnson, Baker, Pena, and Hill, and nobody gets an opportunity.

      The Cubs want to see what they have at 3B (ARAM is a FA), 1B (Pena is a FA), RF (Fukudome is a FA), and back-up OF (Johnson is a FA). Plus, Byrd is in the final year of his deal, so they might be looking towards that, which is why Ha might’ve been aggressively promoted to AA this year despite his age. They also might find it more palatable to eat the rest of Soriano’s deal, who knows? I hope so…..

      As for Flores, he was seen almost exclusively as a defensive-minded catcher. The fact that he came out of nowhere, just as I warned everyone a few years ago not to get too excited about Soto….should be a HUGE red flag to everyone. While Flores has never been given a chance at full-time duty, having played in a max of 69 games, 190 AB’s, there was a definite reason for that. Last year was his best year with a .229/.301/.382 slash line with 4 hr, 19 RBI in 50 games and 157 ABs in his second straight year of splitting time with Peoria and Daytona. 

      It’s important to note, that just like MLB, when evaluating players, you should look for consistency, especially with hitters. It can be a little trickier evaluating pitchers in the minors, because little tweaks in delivery and deception can change their careers (just look at what Dave Duncan has done for mediocre pitchers). However, with hitters, you can add power by adding on muscle and changing your swing slightly, but you should already have a very good idea of their level of hand-eye coordination with their avg and OBP numbers.

      Flores could be an anomaly, just like Chirinos was, but the difference is, Chirinos moved from middle IF to behind the plate, giving him a better perspective of what pitchers were trying to do with him as a hitter, and it showed right away, as his numbers improved dramatically upon the switch, but Flores has been a catcher the entire time. 

      • Richard Hood

        Good incite Aaron.
        I do know the reason that they move the guys around like that. I just thought it was great to see that many hot bats in the lineup at once and being creative with the talent you have there. I think a lot of our future talent is now sitting at AA.
        I do have a question for you though. When the time comes and Gonzalez, LeMahieu and say Lake (just to throw in 3 prospects) are ready to produce at the major league level. Who would you move? Would you stick with Barney with his over achieving style of play or move some of the prospects to get depth at another position?

  • Dorasaga

    And there is no excuse for a 157 million-dollar* team to not win.

    *Includes benefits and bonuses, minor leaguers this year, according to Forbes

    Here are the attendance of the last six Wrigley “home” games:

    36666 (rain-shortened, reported on this page),
    34439 (May 11).

    I know Aaron mentioned how much of this number was filled by brokers. But I guess all teams sell like that; the Pirates, the Yankees. Even if we go back to April, the range still looks good for business, between 32-thousand to 39000. There’s a gradual decrease since 2009, some 10%. Significant, but not alarmingly scary.

    Cubs Nation is more supportive of the Loveable Losers than anyone would have expected out of this losing season. I guess the Ricketts is in a comfort zone, then why change?

    • Aaron

      There is a HUGE difference. They should just call it “paid seats” versus “attendance”, which would infer that fans were actually there. 

      While teams earn a significant profit from tickets sold, you must keep in mind that the Cubs were taken to court several years ago, because they owned a ticket broker, which is a huge conflict of interest. But that’s beside the point….

      If fans don’t show up, teams don’t earn much at all in terms of concessions/merchandise.

      Think about this for a minute:
      35,000 actual attendance
      =approximately $10 per person on food/drink/merchandise
      =$350,000/game in concessions
      *with average ticket prices being around $35, combined, the Cubs would be making around $1,575,000. Over the course of 81 home games, that equates to about $128 million in revenue

      Now….let’s assume that just 20,000 are actually attending games and spending money
      =approximately $73 million in revenue
      *note, this is NOT paid attendance, but actual attendance, otherwise if you use the 35k # but 20k show up, the ticket revenue stays the same, but instead of $128 mm with concessions, they’d earn $115 mm combined, so they’re still taking a hit, and clearly, this ownership group is NOT willing to absorb any type of hit like that to their bottom line, or they would’ve cut ties with several underperforming, highly paid veterans already.

      So, there you have it in a nutshell on why ACTUAL attendance really matters.

      • Tony_Hall

        The concessions revenue was writtten about in the Tribune earlier this year, and it’s estimate was $25M in loss Revenue (Profit ) for the year.  The team gets 50% of the sales from concessions.  The business that operate the concessions keeps the rest.  (That also helps put into perspetive the price, as the concessionair, you figure out the price you need, then double it!).

        $25M breaks down to just over $300,000/game down versus past years, based on an “buts in the seats” being down from past years.

        • Richard Hood

          Good analysis guys I hope that Poppa Ricketts is looking as closely at the bottom line as he said he was in the interview. Then pressure will come to put baseball guys in the key positions (cough cough Team President) to turn this this around.

        • Dorasaga

          Then… doesn’t this fact scare you guys?

          $25M loss. The brokers will pull out. 2012 will look bad (another 10% loss of “attendance” from this year?)… But as long as the Ricketts don’t spend, that’s still good business.

          Because the loss will be spread out “per game.” A 10% out of an already lowered revenue won’t really be as big a hit as the year before. $258M – 26M = 232M. Even if they would lose another 30M…

          As long as the Ricketts keep player expense closer to 100M throughout the year (from October 2011 to November 2012), instead of $157m as they had this year, then they will still make as plentiful as the good ol’ Tribune days.

          It’s scary. There’s no need to change. The Cubs can suck for a long, long time…, again!

  • cubtex

    It seems like yesterday when many people were commented on how the Cubs didn’t need starting pitching and how good Coleman was. Boy…how times have changed! This again proves that we cannot get overly excited about a couple of starts in September or a half of a season in the majors. Every player needs to adjust and these scouts are paid a lot of money to pick up tendencies on players. This is another good reason on why young players cannot be rushed to the majors. As Neil was stating about Flaherty…he struggled last year when he was promoted to AA. He has around 140(I am guessing so don’t quote me here) at bats this year in AA. Let these young guys get enough time in to work on their games so when they are promoted they will not be sent down. I know the product on the field is not good, but patience with the young guys is key.

    • studio179

      Patience is a problem with management on down to fans for obvious reasons. I get a bit antsy myself sometimes, even though I know these guys need proper time to learn and be properly developed. Being ‘properly developed’ is another topic. Anyway, I agree with you time is needed with young players. This is the time where the Ricketts ownership has to look beyond wins and losses and do the things winning organizations do when they go about their business. It would be easy to rush players just to satisfy the fan base. I feel Hendry should have better guys at the ready than Coleman or Berg, but that’s just my opinion.

      I will accept watching Coleman and Berg type players walk people and get lit up if it means players in the minors are progressing and getting the experience they need to better succeed once the do get called up. I may not like it, but I would rather the players who might be part of the future do not get rushed. The Cubs have done it that way far too often.         

  • Brentcarmona

    quade talking about the offensive struggles in a espn blog,
    “im a past performance kind of guy. i believe it will get better”
    uhhh is this hendry talking or something? forget the past please.

    • paulcatanese

      In an answer to Quade I had a great past performance record years ago too but cannot find anyone who says I’m better now. Get my drift?

  • Ripsnorter1

    I watched the Reds and Phillies last night. It went 19 innings. After Philly exhausted their entire bullpen, Wilson Valdez, a Bobby Scales-like 33 year old 2B, stepped in to face Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez. He got Votto to pop out, hit Rolen (actually, Rolen kinda moved into the pitch and made no effort to get out of the way), and retired the next two on pop outs. He was throwing 88-90 mph, and throwing strikes. IN-credible. 

    The next half of the inning the Phils won the game against the Reds Fisher, who had thrown 90+ pitches in relief. He pitched well; he was just out of gas. 
    More incredibly, the Reds were up to bat, and they had a hit batter, followed by three straight walks, and could not score. That’s because Brandon Phillips was in a coma on 2B and got picked off. Dusty was using foul language. Earlier in the game I believe the Reds had the bases loaded and zero outs and could not score.Nice to see the Reds lose a game they should have won.    

    • Richard Hood

      I watches a lot of that game last night when I was online Rip. It is amazing what can happen on any given night in a baseball game. Even catching it late it kept your attention through the end. Good game all around.

  • Adam88johnson

    As long as Jim Hendry is G.M. Mike Quade will not be fired. Jim Hendry will never admit that he should have hired Sandberg. Now Sandberg will likely be the candidate to take over Philly when Charlie Manuel leaves.

    What job would you rather have?

    Philly or Chicago?

  • Adam88johnson

    I don’t understand why Fukudome is still getting starts. Start Campana or Lou M. I’d rather lose with these young guys trying to make a name for themselves then these veterans that are making millions and could care less.

    This will be a long year. I still am trying to figure out why Quade brought in Berg instead of Russel. That early in the game just bring in Russel.

    Do you think the players were laughing at Quade when he got upset about the rain delay? They were prolly glad they got to go home early

  • Adam88johnson

    Anyone see Hak-Ju Lee is hitting .371?

    I’m not a fan of the trade for Garza at all.

    • Aaron

      Garza is on the DL, Perez is stinking up the joint, and even Rosscup, in Daytona was shut down for awhile, missing a few starts with an undisclosed injury, but they never put him on the DL, so I don’t know what gives, just read that it was nothing major.

      Meanwhile, Guyer and Lee are tearing the cover off the ball, and Guyer hit a home run in his first big league AB to boot. Chirinos, after a rough start, has seen his bat start to come around, and Fuld has already made huge contributions to the Rays, even though he’s fallen way back to earth since the start of the season. The saving grace for the Cubs in all of this, is their ages:

      Guyer is a bit of a stretch, as he is about Colvin’s age when he got a chance with the Cubs, so he could still have a very nice career. Therefore, with Archer being 23, and Lee being just 20 years old (turns 21 in November), unless Garza and Rosscup get healthy and start turning it on, I just don’t see how this trade ends well. 

      Plus, as I’ve documented at length before, this trade was horrible from the get-go, because while Garza is a solid #3 starter, he was going to cost the Cubs $10+million in arbitration next year, and the Cubs aren’t even expected to compete. I pointed out at the time that Lee and Castro at the top of the order and the middle infield would’ve been really exciting to watch. Maybe the Cubs were scared that Korea would make Lee do the 2 year (I believe) military service that Shin Soo Choo got out of, because their team won gold at the Asian Games. Perhaps they thought Korea couldn’t replicate that finish, and Lee would have to serve? Who really knows….What I do know, is it was an awful trade, and should spell the end of Jim Hendry as GM. That should be the final nail in the coffin, especially since while Rosscup has decent numbers, he’s 23 and still pitching in high-A and doesn’t have overpowering stuff at all. He’s basically James Russell-like….a lefty that pitches to contact, though he has better control than Russell.

    • cubs1967

      in class A for god’s sake…………give it a damn rest.  you know how many guys can hit .371 in class A??????…….really!

      try looking up some of jake fox/brad synder/the next bust josh vitters/felix pie/corey or eric patterson………or how about brian dubois’ A stats……

      • cubtex

        Exactly. Nelson Perez a Cubs farmhand is hitting .391 in the same league! I will say this again…..This will turn out to be a great trade for the Cubs. Archer doesn’t look anything like a top prospect this year. The other players will not be major league starters. Lee might have a chance to be a starter….or he might never get past AA. The Cubs got a top of the rotation starter for in all honesty…….Not much! And they have him under control till 2013. So that arguement that the trade was to win now is not valid at all!

        • cubtex

          You watch…that Shaun Marcum trade will be much more of a steeper price to pay for the Brewers than the Garza trade by far. The Jays got Brett Lawrie who is hitting .337 with 12 HR’s and 10 SB’s in AAA. He will be one of the next exciting group of young players. So I would trade quantity over quality anyday and that is what the Cubs did. It would be like trading Castro for Garza or Greinke.

  • Mitchinam

    Upside to poor team and decreased attendance? Much easier to get tickets! Hey its still Wrigley field in beautiful Wrigleyville!! Let’s play three! (May win one of them).