The Sunday Slump Continues … Nothing Clutch About These Cubs – Cubs 0 Reds 2

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

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

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.

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey StengelĀ 

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  • paulcatanese

    Not much anyone can say about the game. Certainly Neil you have posted every painful part of it, completly. It is a shame that the Cubs are loaded with 6-7-8 hitters that do some things that if they were at the 3-4-5 spot would mean some runs. But I fail to see that it would happen. Byrd has hit in the 3 spot for what 22 games and Aram in the spot every time he plays. I fail to see that if change were to take place with those spots that it could be any worse, and could be better. I actually have more faith in Pena and Soriono at this point in those spots and put Byrd and Aram down in the order, but I also know JH would not let that happen. Fuko and Barney continue to produce, and maybe Castro should be moved down for a while until he gets it together. I mean keep Aram and Byrd down there for a few games,not just one, and see what happens.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Believe me I would rather say all is rosey …

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,I know you would if you could,but thats what makes your’e posts so good. Painful as it may be, you tell the truth and give us plenty to comment on.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Yeah. Put Castro on the cover and the year is over.

    Make Soto the Rookie of the Year, and he ain’t worth 2 cents the next year.

    I don’t want the accolades for our players because they haven’t the ego to keep steady on the course.

    • paulcatanese

      Ain’t that the truth !!! Knew it as soon as the word came out.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Look at these stats and wonder how we’ve even won 15 games:
    HITTING2nd in MLB Batting Average
    21st in MLB for Runs Scored
    Not a clutch player on the entire team, it appears. Certainly lacking RUN PRODUCERS. PITCHING
    30th in MLB for Quality Starts (that’s dead last in MLB!)
    27th in MLB for ERA
    28th in MLB for WHIP
    22nd in MLB for Batting Average Against.

  • GaryLeeT

    When the cleanup hitter does not clean up, other players, like Castro, put undo pressure on themselves to try and compensate for Ramirez’s impotence. The end result, is a lot of ground balls pulled to the left side. It was not that long ago when almost all of Castro’s balls put in play, were center right. Now, Castro’s strikeouts have really picked too, because he is trying to guess pitches, so he can jerk one into the stands. Thank you Ramirez, Byrd, and Pena, for screwing up the kid…….temporarily.

    • paulcatanese

      Gary,agree,and I have put my requests several hundred times to Quade to make that change on Aram, and he will not answer my mail.

    • John_CC

      I agree with you, Gary.

      As the old adage goes, the manager can’t get up at bat and make the hits when needed, so the lack of driving in runs is not Quade’s fault. Just making it clear to all the apologists that I am not blaming Quade for the utterly embarrassing lack of run producing hitting. What I am going to blame Quade for is his terrible handling of the lineup.

      Once the season gets underway most of a manager’s job is managing his personnel – i.e. pitch counts, bullpen use, and batting lineups. Flopping Castro all over the damn place, putting him in the 3 hole while your veterans can’t hit themselves out of wet paper bag is such an obviously bad way to handle a 20 year old player. He has Soriano on a legendary hot streak and even Soto hitting the ball well that could put in the middle of the order.

      Just leave Barney and Castro alone at the top! It seems so clear, it’s the only part of the offense that has worked.

      I just can’t stand it anymore! The entire management is garbage.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wednesday night’s game, with Garza starting, will be on ESPN internet.

    Before today’s game, the Cubs were hitting .215 with RISP, good for 27th in MLB. Only the lowly Padres (.181), SEA (.211) and A’s (.212) are worse.

  • Ripsnorter1

    FYI: great time to be a Pirate fan as they are both ahead of the Cubs and have a .500 record.

    KC and Cleveland are also doing quite well, too. Tampa Bay, without Garza, but with Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer, are in 1st place in the “lowly” AL East, ahead of the Yanks and BoSox.

    i’m just saying . . . .

    • paulcatanese

      And quite a tribute last night on espn they called it the “Sam Fuld highlite show”,some pretty spectacular plays that he made. Any one of them could be highlite of the year.

    • Tno13

      Guyer is back in AAA and Fuld’s recent performance says he won’t be far behind. Just sayin.

      • Tony_Hall

        They wanted to add a 12th pitcher. Guyer went 1 for 3 with a HR in his cup of coffee.

        The “Sam Fuld highlight show” is not going to the minors. LF is the new “defensive” minded position in baseball, now that the steriod induced monsters our out of the game. Of course, except at Clark and Addison.

        • Ripsnorter1

          IN one game, he’s out producing Marlon Byrd.

        • Tno13

          LF is a defensive minded position now? Matt Holliday Johnny Gomes, Carlos Lee, Ryan Braun …yeah I see your point

          • Tony_Hall

            Keep going, my friend…

            There was a day, not so long ago, that almost all 30 teams, had big boppers in LF. Maybe you are to young to remember. Now, you listed 4 players, that leaves 26 more teams. Heck, there are at least 4 big hitting catchers.

            There are still some good hitters in LF, but the power is way, way down.

            There was just article on this very topic, and I will see if I can find it and post.

          • Tony_Hall

            Here is the article on ESPN Insider

            http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/news/story?id=6492568

            Some highlights for those that are not an ESPN Insider Subscriber

            “It’s no secret that offense in baseball is down over the last several years. While 2010 was declared The Year Of The Pitcher, run scoring is even lower so far in 2011 than it was a year ago, and the trend of moving back towards the style of baseball played in the mid-1980s is showing no signs of slowing. There are a lot of theories about why offense has disappeared from the sport so rapidly — a lot of them involving the crackdown on performance enhancing drugs — but, regardless of the reasons, there’s one position that has been driving the change more than any other. For years, left field was the land of lumbering sluggers, but that stereotype seems to be dead and gone in 2011.
            How dramatic is the change? In 2009, American League left fielders hit .267/.338/.442 and combined for 313 home runs; only first basemen and designated hitters left the park with more frequency. This year, AL left fielders are hitting .226/.298/.340 and have hit just 29 home runs, the fewest of any position on the field other than shortstop. In fact, the rate of home runs being hit by AL left fielders is almost exactly half of what it was just two years ago, as they are now going yard only once every 62 plate appearances, as opposed to once every 31 trips to the plate in 2009. ”


            More and more, AL teams are shying away from defensive liabilities in the outfield, realizing that they can save runs by shifting their big bats with bad gloves to DH. Adam Dunn was finally forced to move to DH after years of being allowed to stumble around left field. Jack Cust was also told to turn in his glove after signing with the Mariners, and Bobby Abreu was kicked over to DH to make room for speedy outfielder Peter Bourjos, which shifted former center fielder Torii Hunter over to a corner spot. “

      • Ripsnorter1

        Fuld took a foul ball just above the left eye. I think that messed with his vision for a few days. The next day he struck out 4 times in a row (previously had fanned only 6x all year, and never more than 1 time per game). No doubt you are correct when you point out that the league has adjusted to him. Now let’s see if he can adjust to the league, a la Castro last year, and hopefully Castro this year.

        And speaking of recent performances, Castro ain’t up here for his defense. So his recent performance, compared to Sam Fuld, is below:

        Castro:
        Last big game: April 23. 5 AB–4 H–
        Since that game: 47 AB– 7 h–1 2B–0 HR–2 RBI–0 BB–2 runs scored

        FULD:
        Last big game: April 22….5 AB….3 H…1 2B
        Since that game: 49 AB–4 H–2 2B–1 RBI–7 BB–7 runs scored

        They both stink of late. Castro has 3 extra hits; Fuld has 5 extra runs

        • Tno13

          I have a hard time giving a speedy top of the order guy a lot of credit for being driven in by someone else. In my mind that credit goes to the hitter. That said, I wish the kid well.

  • Wickitkevin

    Anyone else concerned when you look at the team that has really no one on it that will next a true top tier prospect if they were traded?

    • studio179

      Any trade from the big club is likely to open a position for a call up, but not bring much back. Hendry and Quade refuse to send Colvin down to try and get it figured out. Quade sits him on the bench which does no good. Quade moves Castro in / out of the 3 hole which he said before the season he would leave him alone hitting 2nd, but changed his mind. Pitchers adjust and with the team struggles, Castro adds pressure on himself. So really, do we want to see call ups with this management. We want development from guys when they are ready. But does anyone trust this regime?

      • John_CC

        Hell NO!

  • paulcatanese

    What can I say about Quade? Well he is proving daily that he hasn’t a clue about the roster he has been given to work with. JH has provided him with the cream of the Central Divison and what does he do with it? Three games under .500 and in danger of falling lower. JH must be fuming. Quade has the top RBI man (according to him) in Aram batting fourth and will remain there until he is no longer a Cub,and I use that term lightly,I don’t consider him a Cub.now. To think of the money Aram is( earning ?)
    this year for doing what? Aram is only one of the problems Quade has,but it is one of the biggest he has. The way he is producing,or better yet not producing would indicate a change in the batting order, but this will never happen under JH and Quade. The determination of them to keep him where he is has to be based on him really turning his season around soon so he can be traded. This is a financial loss for the Cubs no matter how it is looked at. People have remarked about Fuko and Soriono and them not being worth the money paid to them,but whatever the talent level they are at they do produce, in contrast Aram does not. Not with his desire,hustle,ability,power,you name it,he dosen’t use it. Until this player (term used lightly) is not with the Cubs any longer they will struggle. One of the big reasons the Cubs have had trouble with the three spot is they dont even have to worry about Aram in the on deck circle , thats there out man in clutch situations. Get a life Cub management, no one team is searching for Aram to fill a third base spot. So do the right thing and move him to where he can be the most use, down in the order,that at least may stir his ego to change for the better.

    • paulcatanese

      The first part of this post Quade and JH with the roster is tongue in cheek,but then I would assume all would know that. The rest about Aram is what I believe.

      • studio179

        After reading enough posts, I can tell your first part was tongue and cheek. I agree on Ram. Quade will not move him or get on him. Interesting. All is not lost though. Ram will turn it on the last week in July and all of August and September when the team is well buried.

  • John_CC

    Quade is flipping apologist. I can’t stand it.

    “It was a pretty good 3 game series” Really? Wow.

    “We see that we can play with the Reds…if we keep getting pitching like that, we’ll be ok” Really?! Um, Mike, you did not score ANY runs, a perfect game from you pitchers would not have helped any more.

    It’s just awful! I understand he is quiet, level headed dude. Great. But listening to almost 10 minutes of that crap after dropping 3 below .500, again…I just can’t do it. I’d rather have Lou and all his rantings, nonsensical quips and walkouts. At least he was visibly perturbed at his team.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?tcid=mm_chc_vid&c_id=chc

    • paulcatanese

      John, that is quite the interveiw. So he sees that they can play with the Reds, well they cannot even play with the Pirates right now and that is low.