Another One Run Defeat … and a New Season Low – Cubs 2 Nationals 3

Game Eighty-Seven – Cubs 2 Nationals 3
WP – Ross Detwiler (1-0) LP – Ramon Ortiz (0-1) Save – Drew Storen (21)

After a shaky start and an error by Jeff Baker, Ramon Ortiz put together a decent outing and gave his new team every chance to win the game. The Nationals scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the first without hitting a ball out of the infield.

Ramon Ortiz gave up three straight hits to start the game before inducing a grounder off the bat of Laynce Nix that could have limited the damage … but the Cubs defense committed another error and gave the Nationals two extra outs in the opening inning. The Nationals first two runs scored on a botched tailor made double-play grounder and the third came on an infield single to Aramis Ramirez.

The Nationals did not manage another run off Ortiz and the Cubs pen. Ortiz allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in his first big league start of the season. Ortiz threw 96 pitches (34 in the first), 62 for strikes.

The Cubs league worst defense struck again and cost them another game. The Cubs have been charged with the most errors in the National League … and have turned the fewest double plays in the Senior Circuit.

The Cubs hit the ball hard against Ross Detwiler but were not able to get any to fall early in the game. The Cubs managed only seven hits and were 1-for-7 on the night with runners in scoring position, six left on base.

Aramis Ramirez stayed hot and provided the Cubs lone offensive highlight. Ramirez, who was named the NL Player of the Week on Tuesday, hit his 13th home run of the season in the sixth. Ramirez’s two-run shot gave the Cubs a shot but they could not push another run across the plate.

Jeff Baker left the game with lower back spasms in the third inning. Baker appeared to tweak his back on the botched double play ball in the first. Baker stayed in the game but was lifted after he hit in the top of the third. Baker is listed as day-to-day.

The Cubs are now 10-16 in one-run games this season … and three of their last four losses have been decided by one-run.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs are now a season-low 17 games under .500 with a 35-52 record …

After Ross Detwiler faced the minimum in the top of the first, the Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Ramon Ortiz threw 34 pitches in what seemed like a 30-minute half of an inning.

Roger Bernadina led off the game with a hard single to right. Danny Espinosa followed with another single to right … just five pitches into the game and Ortiz was in trouble. Ryan Zimmerman notched the Nationals third hit into right to load the bases with no outs.

Laynce Nix hit a tailor made double play ball to Jeff Baker. Baker appeared to stumble and threw the ball over Barney’s head into left field. Bernadina and Espinosa scored … 2-0 Nationals.

Ramon Ortiz struck out Jayson Werth with runners on second and third for the first out of the inning.

Ortiz intentionally walked Rick Ankiel to load the bases.

Wilson Ramos reached on an infield single to Aramis Ramirez. Zimmerman scored the Nats’ third run of the inning. With the bases loaded and one down, Ian Desmond hit a liner to third. Ramirez snagged it and dove for the bag trying to double up Laynce Nix. Nix was called safe and Detwiler struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Detwiler in the second and at the end of two frames, Detwiler had thrown only 24 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Ramon Ortiz faced the minimum in the third.

The Cubs could not take advantage of two gifts in the top of the third. After Pena grounded out to first to start the inning, Detwiler hit Darwin Barney on a 3-1 pitch. Ramon Ortiz dropped down a sac bunt. Detwiler made the play but hit Ortiz in the back near the first base bag. With runners on first and second with one out, Reed Johnson flied out to deep left and Jeff Baker grounded out to short to end the inning.

Baker was lifted after the top of the third with lower back spasms. Blake DeWitt took over at second.

The Nationals went quickly and in order in the bottom of the third.

Geovany Soto recorded the Cubs second hit of the game in the top of the fourth … but was stranded at first. Soto reached on an infield single.

Ortiz worked around a lead off walk to Wilson Ramos in the fourth and did not allow the Nats to tack on.

The Cubs did nothing again in the top of the fifth and the Nationals had a chance to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth … but could not add on to their three-run lead. Danny Espinosa led off the fifth with a single to center. Zimmerman followed with a rocket past a diving Ramirez into left field. Laynce Nix struck out swinging and Werth hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Reed Johnson led off the sixth with the Cubs first extra base hit of the game. Johnson ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center and scampered into second with a double. After Blake DeWitt flied out to center, Aramis Ramirez made it a 3-2 game with one swing of the bat.

Ramirez launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left … his 13th of the season.

Davey Johnson went to his pen and turned the game over to the always-sprinting-from-the-pen Todd Coffey.

Geovany Soto greeted Coffey with a double to the corner in left but with the tying run in scoring position, Soriano fouled out to first and Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.

Rick Ankiel led off the sixth with a single to right. Ramos followed and hit a grounder to Ramirez at third. Aramis could not get the ball out of his glove and was only able to get the force on Ankiel at second. DeWitt never threw to first. Ian Desmond flied out to right center. Michael Morse hit for Coffey and grounded out to second on a 1-2 pitch.

Tony Campana hit for Ortiz with two outs in the seventh and reached on a bunt single. Johnson went to his pen and replaced Sean Burnett with Tyler Clippard. Campana stole second but Reed Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning.

John Grabow and Jeff Samardzija pitched the bottom of the seventh but did not allow the Nationals to add to their lead. Grabow retired Bernadina on a fly out to right before walking Danny Espinosa on four pitches. Samardzija came in and retired Zimmerman on a pop out to DeWitt on a 0-2 pitch. Nix singled to left with two outs. With runners on first and second, Werth grounded out to short on a 3-2 offering to end the inning.

Tyler Clippard retired the Cubs in order in the top of the eighth.

Rick Ankiel led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and advanced to second on a single to left by Wilson Ramos. Ian Desmond bunted both runners up ninety feet and Quade went to his pen for James Russell when Matt Stairs was announced.

James Russell continued his fine stretch out of the pen and struck out Matt Stairs swinging. Blake DeWitt made an excellent stop on a ball ticketed for right center and threw out the speedy Bernadina to end the inning.

Marlon Byrd reached on a one out single to center off Drew Storen in the ninth. Carlos Pena hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice that should have been a game ending double play … but Alex Cora dropped the ball at first. With his team down by a run and Pena at first, Barney chopped the first pitch to second and Espinosa threw him out at first to end the game.

And the freefall continues …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells will face Tom Gorzelanny in game three on Wednesday night.

Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • Reggie

    10 games behind the Pirates and yet no one has been sacked. Welcome to the Chicago Cubs.

    • Demitri

      I agree. Jim Hendry better get us out of this mess, because no one else will. Hendry won’t go anywhere because the Rickets trust him. 

  • roseyc

    Losing doesn’t to matter to Cubs brass. They have fell on the sword already and blamed the injuries. But the bottom line is that the Cubs didn’t have a plan b coming out of spring training. When Wells and Cashner went down. nobody has been any good. Dempster and Garza slow start and the bats didn’t start to hit untill the weather warmed up. Pena goes on a homerun streak and now Rameriz is doing the same but we still loose.Is it possible to send Soriano to Iowa?

  • diehardcubfan

    The Pirates now in second place.  We should be embarrassed but injuries will continue to serve as the scapegoat. 

    This team is the laughing stock of the NL.  Yes, the Astros have a worse record but nothing was expected of them nor do they have a 130 million plus payroll. 

    The Ricketts should be embarrassed but will do nothing to rectify this mess.

    I continue to wonder what is the barometer of abysmal play to trigger action and change. I say there is none other than blaming injuries.

  • Aaron

    Despite the depressing nature of all of the losing, this is about the best development any Cubs fan could possibly ask for.

    Yes, Ricketts has made a joke of himself….and the Cubs by doing NOTHING thus far, but in the end, the almighty dollar will prevail, and we’ll see changes.

    The Cubs are the most poorly run franchise in the history of MLB. It’s no different now than it was under the Tribune and before that, with PK Wrigley. At least the Tribune made an attempt at resurrecting the glory years of the past when they pilfered the Phillies for Green and others. Meanwhile, circa 2011, RIcketts sits idly by, watching his fan base dwindle, concessions and merchandise suffer, and a genuine look of apathy not only from the fan base, but also the players if you watch their reactions during the game, etc.

    The funny thing is, the Cubs have almost exactly the same lineup they had to start the year, and while Z and Dempster are on or heading to the DL, they’ve had them healthy prior to this week, and they’re still the worst team in the whole league dollar for dollar.

    And with guys like Baker and Johnson feeling aches and pains, and ending up on the DL, and with Fukudome continuing his post-April slide as usual…..there’s just no sense in even having them on the team any longer. They either need to trade those 3 or DFA them if they can’t find a taker.

    And now, with Byrd back, and both ARAM and Pena (until recently) producing…..it’d be the absolute perfect time to blow this team up.

    #1-Pitching not just at the MLB level, but at the minor league levels, has experienced both production and injury issues BIG TIME. Z, Dempster (likely soon), Garza, Wells, and Cashner have/will spent time on the DL this year. That’s 100% of the rotation. Wood and Mateo have now spent time on the DL in the pen. Guys like Jay Jackson, Whitenack, McNutt, and others have spent time on the DL in the minors, and all 3 were expected to contribute if healthy. Making matters worse, Jackson has been terrible since coming off the DL and McNutt likewise, and Whitenack if out for the season.

    The Cubs need MAJOR help in the rotation, and the only way to do it is by blowing up this team.

    But the problem with all these injuries isn’t necessarily lost development, but it’s damaged player development big time with the likes of Beeler, Struck, and others being promoted too quickly. Yes, they’ve had success upon their promotions, but they’ve also struggled a lot as well.

    As for the Cubs, they ought to have this roster soon, or they will be damaging their player development (on the offensive side) more than they’ll ever know:

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-LaHair, Ridling (also can play LF)
    2B-Gonzalez, Barney
    SS-Castro
    3B-LeMahieu, M. Smith
    LF-Flaherty
    CF-B. Jackson, Campana
    RF-Colvin

    I just don’t see a single reason for keeping this team together, considering Johnson, Baker, Pena, Fukudome, Grabow, etc. are in the last years of their deals, and would never be retained by a GM with half a brain. 

    Again, like I’ve always said….I am NOT saying that these rookies would even have a better record than the current crop of veterans…..but what I AM saying, is that they could do no worse.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    I truly detest watching this slop.

  • paulcatanese

    One of the players who have done exactly as advertised has been Campana. He was not brought up for his bat,or his glove,but simply for his speed to be used as a pinch runner. He has delivered that. People have complained about his hitting, but it was not all about that and has not done a bad job there. No,no home runs are predicted, but if he can keep the ball on the ground and make consistant contact he will be a viable addition to the team. If Quade were to use him as he said he would and not put him in a position to fail there would be a lot more people respect what he has been brought up to do.

    • Tony_Hall

      Paul – perfectly said “not put him in a position to fail”…that is a managers job, to put players in a position to succeed.  All managers will make mistakes, the good ones, learn from their mistakes, and don’t repeat them, over and over and over again.  But then again, this team fits the definition of insanity better than any other team – “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  

  • Ryan7_21_05

    Does anyone else see Campana being the next Kenny Lofton. He is still young and still a rookie. I think in a few years we will see the new age Kenny Lofton. What do u think

    • Tony_Hall

      Not a chance.  Lofton was a very good offensive player, that could not only drive the ball to get doubles and triples, he could hit the ball over the big boy fence.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        Kenny Lofton was one of those rare guys that had elite speed and a hi baseball IQ. They do not come around very often.

        I just wish he could have stayed at an elite level as a hitter a little longer we might have been talking about a hall of famer but he is still the best lead off guy since Rickey Henderson.

    • diehardcubfan

      Though I love Campana’s hustle and fire, the question remains will he hit enough.  He has no extra base power and so the Cubs playing him everyday he would need to average a .380 OBP or better, 180 hits or better, 90 runs or better, 30 SBs or better each year just to be able to play everyday.  I am not sure if he can do that or not.  Lofton for the most part could do the majority of those things.

      Also, the Cubs over the past few years do not think speed is a important ingredient, at least by itself.

      The only way I see Campana having a shot is if the Cubs philosophy changes. 

      An outfield next year of Campana, Colvin and Jackson would be fast but how do the Cubs make up for the lack of power.  Also, Soriano stands in the way.  If the Cubs brought in Prince Fielder that could change the complexion of how the Cubs look at shaping the outfield but if the Cubs do not get rid of Soriano I do not think Campana has a chance. 

      • paulcatanese

        I know what you are saying, but the point I was trying to make is Campana was brought up for one reason and one only, to pinch run and utilize his speed on the basepath and he has done just that. Anything beyond that is a bonus. It is a luxury the Cubs can ill afford with their present lineup and so additional pressure has been on Campana to also hit. If and thats an if he begins to pull the ball and gets some percentage of contact to the outfield the Cubs are looking at a doubles machine. As everyone has seen any contact at all and he has a 90% chance to be on first base. If there is no one on in front of him, its a double anyway as he has a great ability to steal a base. If I were to make any comparison to another it would be if you bring a power hitter up or a high end pitcher up,you bring them up for a reason, that is to hit for power and to pitch well. Those reasons don’t always work out and they fail at what they were brought up to do. Campana and the reason they brought him has been fufilled & any more is a bonus. To use him as Quade has is putting additional pressure on him to succeed and he is being used the wrong way.He is the classic example of a manager putting someone in a position to fail. If he can hit the ball 200 feet he has a double.

        • Brp921

          I agree with your accesment Paul. I had commented in a previous post that only time would tell if he could be an everyday player. If he can be a contact hitter, hit some groundballs then he could be very productive as a leadoff hitter. Up till now Quade has not put him in a position to succeed

  • Ryan7_21_05

    Hey Neil just wondering, have I messed any rambling. I don’t think I have seen any in about two weeks or so. Hope I didn’t mess any. Thanks

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Ryan, you didn’t miss any. Brian’s ramblings should return Friday morning

  • Agustinrexach

    One thing is for sure and can’t be taken away…

    We are coser to wining our next game than we were yesterday :0)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      [closer]

  • Bryan

    Quote in today’s Sun Times from Assistant GM Randy Bush….

    ‘‘Mike’s doing a great job,’’ said Bush, who played 12 seasons in the majors. ‘‘We’ve been hit with a lot of adversity. .  .  . The club’s work ethic is outstanding, and I think our guys play hard every day.’’

    Hit with a lot of adversity….really?  Like every other club hasn’t had injuries and players on the DL…but the Cubbies play the “injury card” for the 2011 marketing spin.  And I love the comment about the guys play hard every day…hmm, each guy is a millionaire, plays the sport around 3-4 hours a day, and we’re impressed that they actually play hard every day…hooray for them. 

    Do Ricketts, Hendry, Bush and Quade really think that the Cub fan base is that stupid?  And I’d like to hear Bush’s description of when a manager is doing a lousy job.  If 17 games under .500 (in early July) doesn’t fit the bill for manager failure, what does?

    • Tony_Hall

      Bryan – I agree with almost all you say, but cmon, you know these guys work more than 3-4 hours a day.  On an average game day, these guys spend time preparing, stretching, exercising, strengthening, watching videos, reading scouting reports. Then they go out for batting practice, and IF/OF practice.  Then they play a 3 hour game.  Then afterwards they have a routine after the game, depending on their aches and pains, this could be   another hour or two.   These guys put in a very full day, 7 days a week, for 6 months.  Plus Feb and March for ST, and most of the guys start preparing for the season in October/November.  Yes they get to play a kids game to make a living, we are all jealous.  But most of them made it to MLB, because they put in the effort before and after games, and work at it, year round.

      The problem as we all know, is that some take plays off, and don’t always hustle, which is totally unacceptable.  If you are going to be below average, at least hustle.  If you are going to be above average, you already are hustling.

      • Bryan

        Tony…not looking to get into a debate regarding hours invested, or work ethic.  But based on the money each of these guys make at the major league level I would expect a strong commitment to the game….and better yet, better results on the field.     

        • Tony_Hall

          Absolutely.  

          Some teams have to lose, some years you knew before it started your team would not win (I believe most of us called this year, during last season). But you can handle the losing, if the players are at least playing the game the right way, hustling out grounders, making the hustle play on the field, etc.  Oh yeah, and if you can see actual player development going on, that will benefit the future.  This team should revolve around the development of Castro.  He should be batting 2nd, and playing SS everyday.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      I read that Brian. So not only is Mike Quade totally alienated from the truth   ….  Now Assistant GM Randy Bush has joined the Circa with the work ethic and adversity comments! This dude should not even speak, because all they do is dig deeper into the crap bowl.

      They must be really feeling the heat internally because they are all repeating the lame excuse script when interviewed.  I guess even though they have Rickets brain washed…they still know that they cant BS the rest of the baseball community or their peers for that matter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        I bet that Pittsburg and some of the other GM jobs he interviewed for are glad it didn’t go any farther after a public comment like that.

    • Brp921

       Until recently Ramirez hadn’t played hard or at least didn’t always hustle. I could really take up a lot of space here about all the things I don’t like about the way Soriano plays. So I don’t know how Randy Bush can say everybody plays hard. The kid’s play hard. For the most part the rest of the veterans play hard, but not everybody, and Quade doesn’t hold Soriano or Ramirez to the same standards as he does the young guys, at least not publicly. If he has had conversations with them privately it sure has not worked with Soriano. Ramirez is playing really well right now, but then he has a contract to play for now, so is it the contract or Quade getting on him, that is motivating him?

  • Tony_Hall

    For anyone that didn’t think trading Lilly was a good idea – take a look at this report. 

    Also – trading Lilly was a smart move – who JH received for his another story.

    From a CBS Sports Fantasy 
    If Lilly’s slump was restricted to his 10.43 ERA over his last three starts, I could write it off as a cold streak — a casualty of the elbow tenderness that recently caused the Dodgers to push his next start back a day.But it’s not. It’s been a factor off and on all year long. Only seven of his 17 starts — a mere 41.2 percent — have been quality starts after a 2010 season in which 73.3 percent of his starts fit that description.When you drafted Lilly back in March, you drafted him for reliability. You drafted him as a pitcher you could trust to throw 190 innings with an above-average strikeout rate, WHIP and ERA. He wouldn’t single-handedly win you the league, but he certainly wouldn’t hurt you.So far, he’s done nothing but hurt you.Not only is he allowing more hits, which explains the rise in both WHIP and ERA, but his strikeout rate is down to a career-low 6.4 per nine innings. He’s throwing his breaking pitch only 25.7 percent of the time, down from 30 percent last year, which suggests he’s losing confidence in the very thing that made him so successful all those years. What, you thought it was his 88-mile-per-hour fastball?

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    I do not blame injuries for the team being bad because even with a healthy team this team had a lot of flaws. Furthermore a team like the Twins had a lot of injuries and they still have a chance to contend because unlike us they have good general manager they have a back up plan unlike us we could not even replace one starter in our rotation when one was injured we ending up signing the Davis  and the Ortiz of the worlds because we had no depth at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      When you build teams on IF and then injuries happen all your excuses sound empty. Hendry built this team on a lot of IF’s and it bit him in the butt.

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

        this just shows that Jim hendry need to get fired.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    The Cubs have signed 2 more top level Venezuelan prospects this morning according to Base Ball America. Mark Malave is a strong armed catcher with questions about the bat but some think he could be a real sleeper pick (think Marmol if the bat don’t work). Ricardo Marcano is a plus-plus left handed hitting outfielder. Scouts say he is the best left handed hitter in this group. He was a top ten bonus guy on Base Ball America’s list but no bonus has been mentioned yet. He has been compared to Victor Martinez.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/blue-jays-cubs-sign-venezuelan-prospects.html

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Well the Cubs may not be signing their picks yet but they are very active in Latin America. I guess that Ricketts is actually doing what he said he would and throwing at least some money into the minor league system. Now if he can sign some top picks and get these kids working through the system we are going to be in great shape.

      • Rom Rab

        I notice you are liking your own posts?  Guess somebody needs to…
        You can keep selling Ricketts, but nobody’s buyin’.

  • paulcatanese

    Just read the article from Mooney on Darwin Barney. Good attitude, now if he can only translate his mind set to some of the rest of the players that would be fine. As Barney has never played on a losing team he must be going out of his mind. The approach he takes with the study he puts in should be applied by all of the Cubs. In fact they ought to form a “Camp Barney” as well as the “Camp Colvin” to instill a winning attitude with the ballclub. The only problem I see here is that Barney is a believer of the mental state as a precurser to winning, and he dosen’t have a lot to work with for teamates. They must first have a brain to let this stuff sink in. They have to overlook the dollar signs that has been their motivation for a long time. They need to have some pride in their work and forget contracts for a while. Every time I see a Cub on first base and they are talking to the opposeing first baseman it looks as though they are talking about money and how much they are going to command for next year. Barney plays baseball, thats what he gets paid for, and he uses every means at his disposal to do that job as well as he can.