Cubs Couldn’t Unclog the Bases – Cubs 4 Reds 5

Game Thirty-One – Cubs 4 Reds 5
WP – Edinson Volquez (3-1) LP – Matt Garza (1-4) Save – Francisco Cordero (5)

The Reds did everything they could to hand the Cubs a victory Friday afternoon but Q’s squad could not hit enough to win the game.

2-for-12 with runners in scoring position with eight left on base, twice the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and they managed only one run … and to add insult to poor fundamentals, the Cubs hit and ran themselves into three double plays. The Cubs simply cannot hit with runners in scoring position (11-for-76 with RISP in the last 10 games) … or consistently for power, all seven hits Friday afternoon were singles.

Edinson Volquez, who has dominated the Cubs in the past, did not Friday afternoon … in fact he did everything he could to help out the Cubs woeful offense. Volquez walked four batters to go along with the six hits he surrendered (10 total baserunners) in five-plus innings … and he uncorked two wild pitches, one gave the Cubs their first run of the game. For as shaky as Volquez was, the Reds bullpen was the exact opposite. The Cubs managed only three base runners after Volquez departed in the sixth inning.

Matt Garza took the loss but if the Cubs offense would have done their job he could have picked up a win. Garza gave up five runs on six hits with a pair of walks (both scored) and seven strikeouts in six innings. Garza surrendered his first extra base hit of the season at Wrigley (a double by Jonny Gomes in the second) and his first home run of the year. Garza made two huge mistakes Friday afternoon … the three-run homer by Jay Bruce and the two out walk to Edgar Renteria that led to two more runs for the Reds.

The Cubs pen was very good once again. Mike Quade obviously wanted to win Friday’s game badly. Quade used Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood for the final 2 2/3 innings to keep the Reds from tacking on. Marcos Mateo, Marshall and Wood allowed only two baserunners in relief of Garza and gave the offense plenty of time to mount a comeback.

The Cubs lost to the Reds for the sixth time in seven games at Wrigley and with Friday’s loss Q’s squad slipped back to three games under the mediocre mark …

The game began on a positive note. Matt Garza retired the Reds in order in the first on 10 pitches, eight for strikes. Even with Jonny Gomes recording the first extra base hit surrendered by Garza at Wrigley in the second, Garza’s pitch count was a very manageable 22, 14 for strikes, after two innings.

The Cubs first scoring chance came in the second inning. Marlon Byrd reached on an error by Paul Janish with two outs in the second. Carlos Pena worked his first of three walks on the day but Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.

Garza retired the Reds in order in the third … and led off the bottom of the third with his first big league hit.

Matt Garza singled to center on a 0-2 pitch to start the inning. Kosuke Fukudome then reached on an error by Edgar Renteria. Fukudome hit a grounder to Votto, who threw to second but Renteria dropped the ball.

Darwin Barney hit a sharp grounder up the middle that Brandon Phillips made a sensational diving stop and turned into an out (forced Fukudome at second). Barney stole second with Castro at the plate. With runners on second and third with one out, Castro grounded out to third. Both runners held and it was up to Aramis Ramirez with two outs.

Aramis Ramirez stepped in and on a 0-1 pitch, Volquez uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Garza to score … 1-0 Cubs. Barney advanced to third but Ramirez grounded out to short to end the inning.

Edgar Renteria led off the fourth with a single and advanced to second when Garza walked Joey Votto. Garza struck out Brandon Phillips for the first out. Garza threw strike one to Jay Bruce before serving up a long home run. With one swing of the bat, Bruce put the Reds up 3-1.

Garza got out of the inning but the damage had been done … and the Cubs could not tie it up or take the lead again.

Alfonso Soriano led off the bottom of the fourth with his fourth walk of the season. Marlon Byrd singled to left and with Pena at the plate, Volquez uncorked his second wild pitch of the game. Both runners advanced and Pena walked to load the bases with no outs.

Geovany Soto grounded into a 6-3 double play, Soriano scored and cut the Reds lead to 3-2 but it should have been more.

After the Cubs scratched out a run in the fourth, the Reds got it back in the fifth … plus one.

Paul Janish led off the inning with a double to left. Volquez bunted him to third. With the infield in, Drew Stubbs hit the first pitch he saw to Ramirez at third. Aramis held Janish and just nailed Stubbs at first with the second out.

Edgar Renteria worked a two out walk that prolonged the inning for Votto and Phillips … and it cost Garza two runs.

Votto singled to center on a 1-1 pitch and Phillips singled to right. Janish and Renteria scored the Reds final two runs of the game.

Matt Garza struck out Jay Bruce swinging to end the inning … 5-2 Reds.

The Cubs made it 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back-to-back one out singles by Darwin Barney (right field), Starlin Castro (right field) and Aramis Ramirez (left field). Barney scored but Soriano lined out Phillips who doubled off Castro at second to end the inning.

The Cubs made it 5-4 in the sixth but could not push across the tying run after loading the bases with no outs.

Marlon Byrd singled to left and Pena worked his third walk of the day. Dusty Baker made his way to the mound and brought in Sam LeCure to face Soto with two on and no outs.

Soto singled to left. Byrd scored and Pena took third on the play … on a smart baserunning play. Reed Johnson pinch hit for Matt Garza and LeCure plunked him on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases … with no outs.

Kosuke Fukudome struck out looking … Darwin Barney fouled out to Ramon Hernandez on a 2-0 pitch … Starlin Castro grounded out to short on a 2-2 pitch. Inning over.

The Cubs did not manage another baserunner until the ninth. Kosuke worked a lead off walk but was doubled off first base when Darwin Barney hit a soft liner back up the middle that did not get past Francisco Cordero. Starlin Castro flied out to right to end the game.

Poor fundamentals and no clutch hitting … It’s a Way of Life!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Casey Coleman against Bronson Arroyo in game two Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
  • studio179

    I like the headline with the Dusty reference.

    That said, the Cubs can not seem to ‘unclog’ bases with the stats you pointed out with RISP for this season. This is a team wide situation.

  • paulcatanese

    Good reference to the game Neil,and as you say so many blown opportunitys it wasn’t funny. The hits are just not bunched and it’s hard to pick out who is at fault as they manage to spread it around the lineup. I feel Castro needs to solidify himself. The movement in the order in the top three is taking it’s toll on him. He is taking it to his defense as well, one ground ball today is one that he should have had to his right. Tony had made a comment earlier leave him at number 1 or 2 in the order and I agree. Aram is another BIG problem, he simply is NOT doing it at all. When Quade said earlier today that the Cubs have”no margin for error” that could be very large understatement on his part.He(Quade) has to take the bull by the horns,he MUST move Aram to the three spot or put him in the six or seven spot,or tell him to take a hike. Quade is going to have to sit down with JH and find out just exactly his authority as a manager is.Changes must be made here and if his hands are tied, well,I don’t have that answer for him, but this cannot go on.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Garza proved yet again what he really is: a pitcher who can’t beat winning teams. He’s got good stuff, when it’s still inside the ball park. But he couldn’t beat the Yanks, the BoSox, Tampa Bay, but he beat up on the O’s at a 9-1 clip.
    If he keeps this up, he could play for the Dodgers (heh heh). Brandon Guyer, former Cubs, hit a two run homer in his first AB for Matt Garza’s former team tonight. Got the game winning RBI. Then he promptly fanned the next two times up. Send him down again . . . . .Marshall is really humming along. What a great Left handed specialist!!Cubs hit only singles today. No power and no speed. A real winning formula, Jim Clueless!!The Mighty Cubs are just one game ahead of Houston in the win column, and a game behind the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates. The worst offensive in the NL belongs to the Pink-Panty-Waisted Dodgers. Next worst is . . . . YOUR CHICAGO CUBS! It’s a way of life!Speaking of the Pirates . . . last year their top offensive player was McCutchen. This year, he’s leading off and hitting .217. But he has more HR’s (5) than Pena (2), Aram (1), Byrd (1) and Funko (0) put together. And his game is to be a speed merchant, too. . . . .As for the Reds OF, each one has at least as many HR’s as the entire Cubs INF: Stubbs, (5), Gomes, (6), and Bruce (7), are getting the job done. Tomorrow is a guaranteed loss for the Cubs. Arroyo is going against our Coleman. BULLPEN DAY. AGAIN. Aram can’t hit Arroyo anymore. 2 for 17 since All-Star break 2008 vs him.

    • cubs1967

      last time I checked…..Garza was ALCS MVP…..which would typically mean he beat a good team….twice in the playoffs.

      • Wickitkevin

        Look at the teams he has had his best game against Pirates, Padres, and Dbacks. Man those guys are offensive powerhouse. Look at the teams he hasn’t had good games against: Brewers, Rockies, and Reds. Those are the teams that can hit! The old saying is good pitching can shut down good hitting, so that tell you about Graza?

        • Ripsnorter1

          You are right about 2011. And if you recall I posted his 14 starts last year that looked like his start yesterday, ie, not a quality start where he gave up 4 or more runs in less than 8 innings. He had 14 starts like that last year.

          Easy stat for you all to understand:Lifetime he’s 20-32 vs teams over .500
          Lifetime he’s 23-15 vs teams under .500
          Take out his record vs. Baltimore, and he would be 14-14 vs teams under .500. And suddenly he doesn’t look so great anymore. I don’t deny he’s got strike out stuff. EXCELLENT. But I question his ability to beat the above .500 teams. His main source of victories was the Baltimore O’s, a last place team the past 5 years. He is 9-1 (3.03) vs. O’s in 12 starts; 7-4 (3.83) vs BoSox in 18 starts; he is 1-4 (4.48) vs. Yanks in 11 starts; 6-6 (2.13) in 13 starts vs. the woeful Blue Jays. That’s all the teams that he has double digit starts against. 3-1 (5.12) vs. Seattle in 7 starts; LAA=1-4 (5.87) in 4 starts.

          If Garza goes 4-0 vs Pirates, and 4-0 vs Houston, that’s great. But if he also goes 0-3 against the Reds, and 0-3 against the Cards, and 0-2 vs the Brewers, it doesn’t help us win the division. He’d have an 8-8 record, but the record would not speak to his ability to beat the big teams. See?

          • Tony

            Rip – Not sure if you noticed, by how many of those 14 games last year did he win? 3 games. Plus remember a quality start is still just a 4.50 ERA limit (6 IP, 3 ER). Many starters don’t even win, when they get a quality start.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, he won the Award in 2008. That was his first year in TBay. He went 11-9 that year with a 3.70.

        In the ALCS, he started game 3, and won it 9-1. (vs. BoSOx), and game 7 he won 3-1. So, unlike Z, he won those two big games.

  • paulcatanese

    Who is at fault for the Cubs poor play?
    Is it JH?
    Is it Quade? Is it the Ricketts?
    Is it Rudy’s ?
    It can’t be Soriono’s fault,he hasn’t folded yet.
    It can’t be Barney’s fault,he’s playing well
    It can’t be Castro’s fault,he’s playing well
    It can’t be Fukodome’s fault he’s not folded yet.
    It can’t be Soto’s fault,he’s playing well.
    It can’t be Colvin’s fault he’s not playing at all.
    It can’t be Byrd’s fault,he hustles all the time.
    It can’t be Johnson’s fault, he is not a starter.
    It must be Pena’s fault,but then he is coming around.
    It must be Aram’s fault as he is not getting it done.

    The way the Cubs are hitting,I would not be surprised if they finished last in the Central,if not the National League in home runs and total bases. As far as their fundementals, they went out the window in Spring Training. They make more mistakes on the base”s than I have ever seen in many a year.They can’t bunt,they cannot steal,they cannot go from first to third on a single.They have no long ball power, no range in the outfield and generaly are a poor defensive team. Pitching is suspect,and the weather is cold. But they are the Cubs and I love them.They will win a World Series in my next lifetime and thats OK.

  • Tony

    The “IF’s” of the season. I remember someone saying that every team has “IF’s”, but alot of us said, the Cubs needed alot of their IF’s to happen to just be competive, let alone most of them to happen to be a good team.

    Well now even Q is admitting that they need to be perfect to even be competitive.

    It’s gonna be a long season.

  • Tony

    Not sure if this is happening to anyone else, but when I am typing it is running behind as I’m typing, by more than a few letters. I haven’t seen this on anything else that I do. Just started in the last day or so.

    • Neil

      Tony, are you using IE, Firefox?

      • Tony

        Internet Explorer.

        My work computer, just got updated, and I can’t post or use any IM type features, from any site.. All I can do from my work computer is read and “Like” other posts.

        So, I have had to use my home computer, which has Windows 7, and uses the 64 bit version of IE for Windows 7. I have always used my home computer, just not as often, and this just started in the last few days.

        • Neil

          Tony, are you using IE 7 or IE 8? Let me know when you can and I will contact Disquis.