Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 1 Astros 3
WP – Brett Myers (2-4) LP – Doug Davis (0-4) Save – Mark Melancon (4)
The Cubs have gone from a team that does not hit with runners in scoring position to a group of players that just doesn’t hit. The Astros completed the three-game sweep of the Cubs behind Brett Myers.
Myers continued his dominance of the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon by allowing only one run on three hits in six innings. The Cubs managed only two walks and five baserunners against Myers. The Astros’ right-hander picked up his second win of the year, both at the Cubs expense … the Cubs have not beaten Myers since 2007.
The Cubs only run came in the bottom of the first on a leadoff home run by Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome’s second longball and third leadoff homer of his career gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, but they would not score another on the afternoon. Q’s offense was 0-for-3 with RISP and left six on base.
Doug Davis lost for the fourth time (0-4) since joining the Cubs’ rotation. Davis held the Astros to one run over the first six innings (a solo home run by Jason Michaels, his first of the season). But Davis was sent out to start the seventh. After a single by Jeff Keppinger to left center and a pop out by Jason Michaels, Chris Johnson reached on an infield single off the face of Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez ended up leaving the game with a cut lip (lip laceration, listed as day to day) and received stitches. Mike Quade went to his pen at the same time and Sean Marshall could not get out of the jam.
After Kerry Wood walked the first batter he saw (J.R. Towles) to load the bases, Wood struck out Angel Sanchez looking for the second out. Sean Marshall’s first pitch to Michael Bourn ended up in right field and the Astros took a 3-1 advantage … Bourn’s single was just the second hit of his career off Marshall (2-for-8).
Doug Davis was credited with three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Davis struck out five and did not walk a batter. Davis did what he needed to do Wednesday and kept his team in the game.
The Astros began the series with the worst record in the NL Central and seemingly more problems than the Cubs. The Cubs led in every game of the series but found ways to lose each time. So what does the last three games say about the 2011 version of the Chicago Cubs?
The Cubs finished the nine-game homestand against the Mets, Pirates and Astros with a 3-6 record. With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs are a season-low eight games under .500 with a 23-31 record … The Cubs offense, or lack thereof, was really the story Wednesday. Three hits on a day the wind was blowing out when a team statistically worse pounds out 11. The Cubs are walking to the plate swinging the bat and are simply not making the opposition work. Q’s offense did not record a single hit off the Astros’ pen over the final three innings of the game.
Doug Davis put together a credible start. It was not good or bad but enough to give his team a chance to win the game. Davis pitched his way in and out of jams but allowed the leadoff hitter to reach only twice in two innings, the last time in the seventh ended up being the go ahead run.
Davis finished the sixth inning with a respectable pitch count of 80 (53 for strikes) with the game tied at one. After the Cubs failed to capitalize on an error by Jeff Keppinger in the bottom of the sixth (Pena reached on the miscue with two outs but Ramirez flied out to left), Davis took the mound to start the seventh.
Jeff Keppinger ran the count to 2-2 before dropping a single into left center. Jason Michaels popped out to first on Davis’ first offering. Davis then fell behind Chris Johnson 2-0 before Davis was able to work the count back to even. Johnson took ball three before hitting a grounder down the third base line.
Ramirez tried to make a diving stop but the ball took a bad hop and hit Ramirez in the mouth. The ball ended up in foul ground as Ramirez lay on the ground. Castro picked the ball up and kept Keppinger from advancing. The Cubs trainer ran out from the dugout, helped Ramirez to his feet and covered his cut lip with a towel. D.J. LeMahieu took over at third and Quade went to his pen for Kerry Wood,
Wood walked J.R. Towles on five pitches to load the bases with one out. Wood struck out pinch hitter Angel Sanchez looking for the second out of the inning.
Mike Quade went to his pen for Sean Marshall.
Michael Bourn continued his onslaught against Cubs pitching and ripped Marshall’s first pitch into right. Keppinger and Johnson scored … 3-1 Astros, the eventual final score.
The Astros pen retired nine of the 10 batters they faced in the seventh, eighth and ninth on 47 pitches, 27 for strikes.
This Cubs’ team has a lot more wrong with it than just all of the injuries …
Thursday is an off day for the Chicago Cubs, one of their last before the All-Star break. Q’s squad begins a stretch of 38 games in 38 days Friday night in St. Louis. Ryan Dempster will face Kyle Lohse in game one.