Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 0 Reds 2
WP – Johnny Cueto (1-0) LP – Ryan Dempster (1-4) Save – Francisco Cordero (6)
For the sixth time this season the Cubs went into Sunday with a chance to win a series … and for the sixth time Q’s squad lost the game (0-6). The Cubs had a very good opportunity to move within a game of .500 but the roster Jim Hendry assembled simply cannot hit with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs left the bases loaded twice and the only hit with runners in scoring position, an infield single by Marlon Byrd, did not produce a run. The Cubs were 1-for-6 with RISP and left nine on base in a two-run loss to a division rival. The Cubs finished the weekend series with just one win because they cannot hit and seemingly refuse to change their approach at the plate.
After going just 2-for-12 with RISP and eight left on base Friday and 1-for-6 with RISP and four left on base Saturday, the Cubs finished the three-game series 4-for-24 with runners in scoring position and left 25 runners on base.
The Cubs lineup is packed with sixth and seventh-hole hitters and this weakness will continue to be exposed during the homestand.
Ryan Dempster did his job Sunday and gave his team a chance to win a game. Despite several hard hit balls, Dempster allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Dempster threw 81 pitches, 61 for strikes, in seven innings.
Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Ryan Dempster.
Any time a team receives a performance at home like the one the Cubs did from Ryan Dempster Sunday, it should be a sure win. The Cubs out hit the Reds again but not when it mattered.
The difference in Sunday’s game and throughout the entire series was the Cubs offense. The inability to hit with runners on base and in scoring position cost the Cubs a win … again.
With Sunday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to three games under .500 (15-18) and lost another series at Wrigley to the Cincinnati Reds. Q’s squad is just 7-10 at home this season … Ryan Dempster was not fooling the Reds early on Sunday afternoon. The Reds first three hit were smoked and it finally cost him a run in the second inning.
Jay Bruce led off the second with a line drive single to right. Jonny Gomes hit a weak grounder to second that ended up being a productive out. Bruce advanced to second on the play as Jeff Baker tossed to first for the out. Ramon Hernandez stepped in and ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center. Bruce scored and gave the Reds an early 1-0 lead.
Miguel Cairo grounded out to second and Johnny Cueto tapped back to the mound to end the second.
The Cubs put another runner on in the bottom of the second … but it was the third inning that Q’s squad failed to get the job done again.
Ryan Dempster reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the third, his first hit of the year. Kosuke Fukudome hit a weak grounder to short on a 2-2 pitch. Renteria tried to throw out Dempster at second. The ball ended up in right and the Cubs had runners on first and third with one out.
Starlin Castro’s struggles continued Sunday (0-for-4, five left on base) and he hit a weak tapper to third on the first pitch of the at bat. Cairo threw out Dempster at the plate for the second out … the play was not close, Dempster did not slide.
Marlon Byrd reached on an infield single off Cueto. The ball rolled into the hole at short but Renteria was able to keep the ball in the infield. Fukudome held and the bases were loaded for Aramis Ramirez.
With two outs and the Cubs down by a 1-0 score, Ramirez looked at two straight out of the strike zone. Ramirez took strike one then flied out to left center to end the inning.
The Cubs really did not mount another scoring threat against Johnny Cueto. The Reds’ right-hander retired seven in a row from the fourth through the sixth … and 10 of 11.
The Reds second run came on one swing of the bat in the fifth. Drew Stubbs hit a long home run on a 2-2 pitch into the bleachers in left.
Dusty Baker left Johnny Cueto in to start the seventh and Alfonso Soriano reached on a single to left. Baker went to the mound and brought in Bill Bray to face Carlos Pena. Pena struck out against the southpaw … and Baker went back to his pen for Sam LeCure.
Geovany Soto flied out to center for the second out. Quade went to his bench and sent Reed Johnson up to hit for Ryan Dempster. Johnson was hit for the fourth time this season.
LeCure seemed to pitch around Kosuke Fukudome with two on and two out. Fukudome walked to load the bases. Starlin Castro grounded out to third on a 1-1 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs loaded the bases for the second time in the seventh … and came away empty. Q’s offense loaded the bases four times in the three-game series and managed one run … ONE.
Poor fundamentals and lack of clutch hitting … It’s a Way of Life
The Cubs have a scheduled off day Monday before welcoming the Cardinals to town. Carlos Zambrano will face Chris Carpenter in the first of three with St. Louis Tuesday night.