Game Fifty – Cubs 0 Pirates 10
WP – Paul Maholm (2-7) LP – Randy Wells (1-1) Save – None
A Major League Baseball game that took only 2 hours and 28 minutes to complete nine innings and one team scored 10 runs … that speaks volumes on the aggressiveness of the other team.
Yes, the careless Cubs in more ways than one. Q’s squad made plenty of avoidable mistakes, and at times it appears this team couldn’t care less about the outcome of the game.
Paul Maholm cruised through one of the best outings of his career. Maholm tossed a three-hit complete game shutout and threw only 91 pitches. Maholm averaged just 10.1 pitches per inning and all three of the hits he allowed were tainted. Two of the Cubs three hits were of the infield variety that should have been turned into outs … and Andrew McCutchen misplayed a ball off of Alfonso Soriano’s bat into a double. The Cubs did not work a single walk and really made it easy on Maholm all afternoon.
Randy Wells returned to the Cubs rotation and did not help relieve any of the Cubs pitching woes. Wells labored through the first three innings (64 pitches, 35 strikes) then imploded in the fourth. The Pirates sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth and scored five runs on a two-run single by Steve Pearce and a three-run homer off the bat of Ronny Cedeno.
Wells has been his own worst enemy over the past two seasons. Seemingly every time Wells would take the hill he would have one bad inning that would do him and the Cubs in … Saturday was more of the same. Wells allowed all five runs in the fourth on four hits. While the Cubs defense did not help out Wells, the Cubs right-hander did not throw enough quality pitches to at least get into the fifth inning.
Randy Wells did not attack hitters and seemed to nibble around the plate. Wells had five three-ball counts to the first eight batters he faced and struggled with his command throughout his four-inning outing. It took Wells 92 pitches (49 for strikes) to complete four innings on Saturday afternoon.
After Wells left, the Mighty Pirates started launching balls out of Wrigley and even the ones that stayed in the park went for extra bases. The Pirates recorded 10 hits Saturday afternoon … three doubles and four home runs. Seven of the Pirates 10 runs came on home runs by Ronny Cedeno, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Andrew McCutchen.
James Russell was called upon again and gave up two of the Pirates four dingers. Russell has pitched in four of the Cubs last eight games (12 2/3 innings) and has thrown 175 pitches in those four appearances.
Scott Maine served up a two-run shot to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh that put the Pirates up 9-0. John Grabow gave up back-to-back doubles on consecutive pitches to Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones in the ninth that accounted for the Pirates’ 10th and final run of the game.
With the Pirates four longballs on Saturday, the Cubs have been out homered at Wrigley 25-14 this season.
The Cubs lost to the Pirates for the fourth time in five games at Wrigley this season. With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs are 11-16 at home and 22-28 on the season, six games below respectability … The Cubs’ overpaid, aggressive offense looked horrible against Paul Maholm while the Pirates were very patient against Randy Wells early on. The Pirates patience paid off in the fourth in a big way.
Andrew McCutchen led off the fourth with a single to left. Neil Walker then hit a 3-1 pitch into left center. Alfonso Soriano misplayed the deep drive into a double off the wall … and that was the beginning of the end for Randy Wells and the Cubs.
Wells struck out Lyle Overbay for the first out but Steve Pearce ripped a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. McCutchen and Walker scored easily as Tony Campana’s throw sailed over the head of the cutoff man. Pearce took second on the second outfield blunder of the inning.
Randy Wells then walked Chris Snyder to put runners on first and second with one out.
Ronny Cedeno stepped to the plate and launched a hanging breaking ball over the wall in right center. Cedeno’s second homer of the year gave the Pirates a commanding 5-0 lead.
Randy Wells struck out Paul Maholm and Jose Tabata to end the inning … and his outing.
The Cubs have been waiting for Randy Wells to return to the rotation but he did not help with all of the team’s pitching problems on the last Saturday in May.
Paul Maholm continued to roll along in the fourth. Maholm retired the Cubs in order and was perfect through four innings.
James Russell made his fourth appearance in the Cubs last eight games. Russell retired the Pirates in order in the fifth.
The Cubs finally got a hit off Maholm in the fifth. Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double off the wall in center … McCutchen misplayed the deep drive. Luis Montanez then reached on an infield single to Ronny Cedeno. Soriano advanced to third on another ball the Pirates should have turned into an out. After Carlos Pena struck out swinging, Koyie Hill popped out to center on the first pitch of the at bat.
The Pirates started swinging for the fences in the sixth. Three of the Pirates four home runs came in the sixth and seventh innings.
Lyle Overbay led off the sixth with a long homer to center. After James Russell retired Brandon Wood, Chris Snyder launched a 1-0 offering from Russell into the bleachers in left. With the Pirates up 7-0, Russell retired Cedeno and Maholm to end the inning.
Scott Maine took over for Russell in the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Jose Tabata. Walking batters down 7-0? Garrett Jones popped out to left for the first out. Maine continued falling behind and missed on his first two pitches to Andrew McCutchen … but McCutchen did not miss his third.
Andrew McCutchen hit the Pirates’ fourth homer of the game, a two-run shot that gave the Pirates a 9-0 lead.
The Pirates continued taking batting practice in the ninth. Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones doubled on the first two pitches from John Grabow in the ninth. Tabata scored on Jones’ RBI double and ran the score to 10-0.
Not to take much away from Paul Maholm’s outing but it is unacceptable for a Major League Baseball team not to make a pitcher throw more than 91 pitches in a game. The Cubs can see first hand what walks and patience at the plate can do for a team … and yet they continue to stroll to the plate swinging at every pitch and showing little to no game plan against the opposing pitching staff.
Ryan Dempster will try to beat Jeff Karstens on Sunday afternoon and try to salvage one game of the three against the Pirates.