Cubs Still Can’t Count to Three – Cubs 3 Yankees 4

Game Seventy – Cubs 3 Yankees 4
WP – A.J. Burnett (7-5) LP – Ryan Dempster (5-6) Save – Mariano Rivera (17)

For the second time on the homestand the Cubs had a chance to win their third game in a row and for the second time they could not step up and get the job done. The Chicago Cubs remain the only team in baseball that has yet to win three games in a row this season.

The Cubs pitching staff was horrible on Saturday afternoon and to be quite frank they were lucky to lose the game by only one run. Cubs pitching, led by Ryan Dempster, walked 10 batters and gave up 11 hits … 22 total baserunners. While the Cubs offense managed only six hits, three walks, two runners reached on Yankee errors and Carlos Pena was hit by a pitch … 12 total baserunners.

Ryan Dempster lasted just 5 1/3 innings and threw a season-high 119 pitches, 72 for strikes. Dempster walked a season-high six batters and struck out six while allowing three runs on eight hits. Dempster labored through the first inning and did not allow any runs but continued to battle with control problems throughout the afternoon. Dempster had little to no command and was all over the place. Once again, Dempster seemed to disappear when his team needed him to step up and lead them to a victory.

James Russell allowed an inherited run to score but did not allow the Yankees to tack on in relief of Dempster. Chris Carpenter retired three of the four batters he faced and both Russell and Carpenter kept the game within reach.

Jeff Samardzija could not find the strike zone and walked three batters in his 1 1/3 inning of work. Samardzija somehow wiggled out of a jam in the eighth without allowing a run and was sent out to start the ninth. To Samardzija’s credit he struck out Alex Rodriguez to start the inning but gave up a double to Robinson Cano and walked Nick Swisher before Mike Quade decided he had seen enough.

John Grabow gave up a two-out double to Eduardo Nunez that plated Cano with the Yankees fourth run. Nick Swisher was cut down at the plate to end the inning. Again, Grabow could not throw strikes and fell behind both batters he faced 2-0.

The run Samardzija and Grabow allowed in the ninth ended up being the difference in the game.

Q’s pitching staff did not retire the Yankees in order once on Saturday afternoon.

The Cubs offense took a page out of the Yankees playbook … entering play Saturday 47% of the runs the Yankees had scored this season were via the longball. All three of the Cubs runs Saturday scored on two home runs … a two-run shot by Carlos Pena in the fourth and a solo homer by Reed Johnson in the ninth, the first home run allowed by Mariano Rivera this season.

Starlin Castro tallied two more hits (2-for-4) and Alfonso Soriano singled twice in four trips to the plate. One of Soriano’s singles came in the ninth against Rivera. Alfonso Soriano reached after Johnson’s solo shot cut the Yankees led to 4-3 but Geovany Soto hit into a 4-3 double play on Rivera’s first pitch to basically end the Cubs hopes at a comeback.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 12 games under .500 with a 29-41 record …

Ryan Dempster struggled in the first inning again on Saturday. Dempster continues to make a habit of throwing a ton of pitches in the opening frame and in the long run it costs him and his team. Dempster entered Saturday with a 11.30 ERA in the first inning.

The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the first inning. Dempster walked Curtis Granderson, gave up a single to Mark Teixeira and walked Alex Rodriguez. Dempster struck out Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher swinging on two pitches in the dirt to end the inning. The hope was that Dempster would come back out in the second inning and throw strikes … but that would not be the case.

Dempster walked Russell Martin to start the second … and at that point it was obvious it was going to be a long day. Dempster did not allow a run in the second but after two he had thrown 44 pitches, 24 for strikes.

The Cubs did little of anything against A.J. Burnett in the first three innings … and managed only one hit, a single by Starlin Castro in the first.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the third. Curtis Granderson led off the inning with a single to right. Teixeira ripped a grounder to Carlos Pena that Pena made an excellent play on to get the out at first. Granderson advanced to second and held at third when Alex Rodriguez singled to left.

Robinson Cano ripped a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. Granderson scored but Rodriguez held at third with one out. Nick Swisher hit a sac fly into left center that allowed A-Rod to tag and score the Yankees second run of the game. With Cano at third, Dempster walked Russell Martin. On a 1-2 pitch to Nunez, Martin advanced to second on a delayed steal but was stranded when Dempster struck out Nunez to end the inning.

After the Cubs failed to take advantage of a leadoff walk by Geovany Soto in the third (Dempster could not get the bunt down, and Fukudome and Castro struck out to end the inning), the Cubs tied the game at two in the fourth.

Blake DeWitt walked to start the fourth. Ramirez struck out looking (Burnett’s sixth of the game at the time) but Carlos Pena hit a long fly to right. Pena’s 11th dinger of the season tied the game at two. Pena’s homer was the Cubs second hit of the game.

Dempster worked his way out of a big jam in the fifth. Alex Rodriguez helped when he tried to stretch a single into double. Soriano threw A-Rod out at second for the second out of the inning. Dempster then issued back-to-back walks to Cano and Swisher before retiring Martin on a groundout to short to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster’s day should have ended after the fifth with the game tied at two.

Eduardo Nunez led off the sixth with a single to center on a 0-2 pitch from Ryan Dempster. Burnett sacrificed him to second and Brett Gardner reached on an infield single. With runners on first and third with one out, Quade went to his pen for James Russell.

Curtis Granderson hit a 2-2 pitch into deep right. Nunez tagged and scored … 3-2 Yankees. Russell then caught Granderson breaking for second and he was eventually tagged out on another horrible rundown by the Chicago Cubs. The play was scored 1-3-4-3-4-2-6 … ridiculous.

The Cubs wasted a big opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. Burnett hit Carlos Pena with one out and Reed Johnson reached on an error by Nunez at short. Joe Girardi went to his pen and brought in Cory Wade to face Alfonso Soriano.

Soriano hit a smash to A-Rod and his throw to second was low and dropped by Cano.

With the Cubs down 3-2, one out and the bases loaded Geovany Soto stepped to the plate and worked the count to 3-2. Soto then hit a fly into left. Pena tagged and tried to score but was cut down on a perfect throw by Brett Gardner to end the inning. Pena collided with Martin but the Yankees’ catcher held on to end the inning.

The game remained 3-2 until the ninth.

Jeff Samardzija struck out A-Rod to start the ninth before giving up a double to Robinson Cano and walking Nick Swisher. Quade went to his pen and brought in John Grabow to face Russell Martin.

Martin popped out on a 2-0 pitch but Nunez ripped a double into center on a 2-0 pitch. Cano scored and Swisher tried but was cut down at the plate (Johnson to DeWitt to Soto) to end the inning.

Mariano Rivera took the hill in the ninth. Reed Johnson put together a good at bat that resulted in a solo homer to left … the first longball allowed by Rivera this season. With the Cubs down 4-3, Soriano followed Johnson’s home run with a single to center.

With the tying run on first, Geovany Soto swung at the first pitch and hit into a 4-3 double play. Jeff Baker struck out on three pitches to end the game.

Why wasn’t Soto bunting? If Soto cannot bunt, why wasn’t someone sent to the plate that could? D.J. LeMahieu? Koyie Hill? Why does Mike Quade have a habit of leaving pitchers in the game too long when it is very obvious they are done? Why is John Grabow still a Chicago Cub?

Four out of six on the homestand is still not bad … but it could have been better.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells will face C.C. Sabathia in the finale Sunday night on ESPN.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney
  • Anonymous47701

    Looks Like Dempster may be the odd man out since the D&mn Yankees have zero interest in Big Z. No way should these two be on the same roster next year.

    • Joey U

      Dempster is going no where…..He is Hendry’s Boy!!

      • diehardcubfan

        Neither Dempster and Zambrano are going anywhere because of two things:  Contracts and ineffectiveness or in Big Zs case mental instability and being erratic. 

        They would both have to have dramatic turnarounds over the next 4 or 5 starts for anyone in my opinion to even consider them.

        Their trade value is shot.

      • Richard Hood

        Your right that Dempster is not going anywhere. It not only has to do with loyalty to the Cubs but because he went so far as differed most of his money from the last 2 seasons to help out the Cubs. If they trade him after that it would cost them a lot more than what they get back in trade. The reputation of all of the Cubs front office would take a major hit with in the Players Union.

         To say that they could get the most out of him is nuts considering how ineffective and inconsistent he has been to this point. Dempster is going to be a cub for a long time guys. I imagine that an extension is already being talked about to let him finish his career here with a deal close to what Lilly got from LA.

      • Anonymous47701

        Well, since that is going to be the case; don’t expect the Cubs to Contend until 2013 or later.

    • diehardcubfan

      The unfortunate thing is that I think they will.

    • paulcatanese

      Z deserves a roster all his own, just him, by himself.

  • cubtex

    Cubs pitchers gave up 10 walks today and lead the league in that statistic. And you wonder why our pitching staff is so bad this year?

    • JW

      I think I finally figured Quade out… he must be smoking crack. Here is a direct quote: “Blake has been swinging the bat well,” Quade said. “He doesn’t care if he’s hitting first, second or eighth.” 

      Not to point out the obvious but DeWitt is 6 for 36 in his last 10 games… good for a .167 average and as a point of fact he has 0 RBI during that span. 

      Makes sense therefore to put him in the 3 hole. After all I’m not a baseball guy….. what do I know

      • Joey U

        Your right about Quade, this guy  is clueless as a manager. 

        • paulcatanese

          You know,I would have some respect for Quade if he just would tell it like it is.
          Quade, ” I have been given a roster of players put together by the General Manager to put on the field. These guys stink, are overpaid and old. So blame the GM for what is on the field. On the other hand it’s my responsebilty to make out a lineup from these guys to win, and to manage the bullpen, and I have done neither one, so we are equaly responsible for this.” Love to see it happen, but know it won’t.

      • paulcatanese

        Correction, its Quade that dosen’t care where DeWitt hits in the lineup, as well as other blunders he(Quade) has made,including the bullpen. I agree with you, I don’t think he has what it takes to be a manager, no clue.

  • Tony

    Nice short article on defense, and how errors and fielding percentage don’t tell the whole story.

    ESPN Insider

  • BosephHeyden

    I will say this:  I kinda wish the Yankees listened to McCarver’s advice yesterday.  On the A-Rod single that moved Granderson to third, McCarver complained that Granderson should have gone on contact and he would have scored.  Funny thing is is that as they show Granderson start his advance to third, you also see the ball hit right to Soriano, and Soriano following that up with a laser beam directly home as Granderson had arrived at third.

    Might have avoided a run had they listened to him.  And we also quickly learn why McCarver is a Fox announcer rather than anywhere near decision making in the majors.

    • Richard Hood

      Yep like his call the Fukudome should have been forcing a throw to 3rd from Granderson on a ball that Koske could actually see bounce before his turn. This is why he is in the booth and not a manager somewhere.

      • diehardcubfan

        Yes, I agree, Fukudome would likely have been thrown out at 3rd.  Granderson was well lined up and had plenty of time to make an accurate throw if Fukudome would have gone. It has bee one of the few times a Cub actually made a good base running decision.

        • Richard Hood

          My thing about Carvers comment on it was that the play was in Koske’s view as he was turning. He saw exactly where the ball was and how Granderson was positioning himself for the throw.

           It goes back to the bias against anything the Cubs do as wrong. I know that we are not playing sound baseball and there are plenty of people that are to blame for it (sending our worse baserunner on a flyball to short left?) but if you listen to those guys talk even when they give a compliment to a cubs player(Castro) it is turned into a cut down (why would you ever throw him a strike). I have said repeatedly that Buck and Carver should never be allowed to be in the booth for a cubs series and god forbid it is ever with the Cardinals in town.

          • paulcatanese

            I agree on what he said about Castro on his comment about his hitting. If he had ever been watching Castro before yesterday he would have known that Castro had some pretty good at bats as far as the strike zone and his recognition of the pitches. What he should have said (and McCarver is old enough to remember) is that some of the greatest hitters were bad ball hitters such as  Yogi Berra from the Yanks, and turned it into a compliment.

            He did say one thing that I agree with on Castro and that is he will be a third baseman in the future. I have said that all along. Castro just plain hits, and that to me is enough, not that he must hit for power to play there, he can make that work, very well,and if I were the Cubs I would seriously consider it. Right now they have a shortstop (Barney) and should be gearing that way or other short stops in the system. They also have LeMahieu that looks pretty good at second base.

          • cubtex

            That might very well be the case down the road Paul, but I definately do not think you move Castro now to put Barney there. A lot of the Latin players take a while to settle in. He has the range and arm to handle short and I think it is way too premature to move him to 3rd now(especially for Barney) What happens if Barney struggles in the 2nd half and looks more like a utility guy?  Do you move Castro back to short? That hampers his development. The Cubs have a #1 draft choice in AA that is still 21 as well in Vitters who has the bat that plays out in the mlb as a 3rd baseman. Yes, Castro has some defensive lapses but he is in the top 5 (I believe) in fielding chances in the NL and he will get more consistent. The Cubs have not had a shortstop with as many tools(range,arm,speed,bat) since Dunston.

          • paulcatanese

            Kind of reffering the move as one in the future. To do it right now, is something that I agree with you on, may have worded it wrong. I think of it in terms of replacing a shortstop and it being easier than replacing a third baseman, in the Cubs system. I agree his range is spectacular and he gets to balls very few others would, has the arm and hands to go with it. The only thing he needs to do is realize what he can and cannot do on a given play, and if that play will hurt the situation or not,as again Pena saved his butt on a wide throw. Dont get me wrong,I love watching him play short, and to me its like watching Marmol with the bases loaded and two out, exciting baseball.

          • Richard Hood

            I keep remembering where Carver said the same thing about Vlad Guerrero before he became well known in baseball. Guess what he was wrong then too. Talk about what the kid has to do get better. Don’t make it sound like the other team is stupid when the guy burns them. Castro like some of the better players before him has something that you can not teach. The ability to judge how to get the barrel on a pitch that you should not be swinging at.
            As far as him moving to third eventually lets let him get some time to adjust defensively before we state he is a failure at shortstop. Why is it the same guys that are wanting the kids to play are wanting to move the best kid of the bunch? That does not make much sense to me.

          • paulcatanese

            This was not something new with me, I like him at shortstop, but even when he first came up I saw him as a third baseman or a center fielder, I ust feel that he would excel even further. I like him at short and support him there,just see him differntly thats all. With his bat he could play anywhere he wanted to but in reality would be a change he may not be in favor of. As a shortstop my self I saw that as a premire positionand was very reluctant to move anywhere else.
            totaly an ego thing with us shortstops. But learned that othe positions are just as much fun,take the same talent,and looked forward to it.

          • Richard Hood

            It defintely is an ego things for Short Stops. LOL. I agree that his talents translate to a number of positions but so did Cal Rypken. He worked out pretty well for the better part of 2 decades. I just want the kid to get comfortable before we try to change his position.

    • Teluton

      It really gripes my ass listening to McCarver; he’s  often wrong with analysis, as you point out, and digs up old nostalgic crap we’ve heard So many times ex: the 1979 Cubs Phillies 23-22 game…” the score was 7-6 after the first inning;the Phillies pitcher hit a home run and Donnie Moore,cubs starter had a triple”. He’d have us believe with his condescending arrogance that anyone cares about ridiculous minutiae.. sorry about the rant !!  Tom,the ex-Brit

    • paulcatanese

       Soriono, he was really pumped playing against the Yankees and actually hustled down the first base line (and thats where you could see his legs are completely gone) and his defense was very good for him. I believe he suckered A Rod into trying to stretch it to two and was thrown out by 20 feet. The Yankees took the outfield arms for granted in the first two games evidenced by Fukodome throwing out the same guy at second twice.

      On the other side the Cubs also made blunders with Pena being thrown out at the plaate on a very short flyball to left. True they had to make a throw, but he could have rolled that throw to home and they still would have got Pena. And the biggest blunder was not sending Pena home on the error to short, the third base coach should have been screaming at the top of his lungs for Pena to keep going, he would have scored/