Cubs Squeezed By a Single Run Again – Cubs 4 Nationals 5

Game Eighty-Eight – Cubs 4 Nationals 5
WP – Ryan Mattheus (2-0) LP – Kerry Wood (1-4) Save – Drew Storen (22)

The Chicago Cubs lost their third straight game to the Nationals by one-run and dropped to a season-worst 18 games under .500. Q’s Cubs are now 10-17 in games decided by one run … the Cubs have dropped five of their last six games by a total of six runs.

The difference in the game was a squeeze bunt, on the second attempt, in the seventh inning against Kerry Wood. Michael Morse led off the inning with a double to left center, advanced to third on a fly out to right and scored when Wilson Ramos executed a squeeze bunt.

Randy Wells’ horrible season continued Wednesday night in the Nation’s Capital and once again the offense could not out hit a poor pitching performance from one of their starters. Randy Wells could not complete five innings of work and allowed four runs on two, two-run homers. Wells was very hittable … the Nationals pounded out 10 hits in just four-plus innings.

Randy Wells should not be in the big leagues and it makes one wonder if they had any other options would he be still be with the team. Wells has been given every opportunity to succeed but instead he has steadily digressed from his promising rookie season.

All four of the Cubs runs scored on two big flies … one from Carlos Pena and the other from Aramis Ramirez.

Carlos Pena (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) tied the game at two in the second with his 18th longball of the season and third off a southpaw. Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hit his ninth homer in his last 14 games in the top of the sixth that tied the game at four.

Wednesday was the third time this season Pena and Ramirez hit home runs in the same game.

The Cubs managed just eight hits (1-for-5 with RISP, three left on base) and struck out 10 times against Nationals’ pitching. Q’s offense failed to score in the first inning and have not plated a run in the first inning of a game since June 27.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs are a pathetic 35-53 on the season, 18 games below .500 …

Tom Gorzelanny retired his old teammates in order to start the ballgame. The Cubs were very aggressive against Gorzelanny and made him throw only 10 pitches.

The Nationals came out swinging in the bottom of the first and jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead … just nine minutes after Tom Gorzelanny’s first pitch.

Roger Bernadina led off the bottom of the first with an infield single up the middle. Castro took a little too long to throw the ball after making a fine play to field the ball. Danny Espinosa, who is making a big case for NL Rookie of the Year honors, stepped in. Bernadina stole second on Wells’ first offering to Espinosa.

Danny Espinosa launched a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right … two batters into the game, both scored and Wells was down 2-0.

Ryan Zimmerman followed Espinosa’s homer with a double … three batters, three hits off Wells. To Wells’ credit he settled down, somewhat, and stuck out Laynce Nix for the first out. Michael Morse grounded out to the hole at short, Zimmerman advanced to third but was stranded when Jayson Werth grounded out to third to end the inning.

Geovany Soto led off the second with a single to right. Carlos Pena then tied the game with a long homer to right center. Pena’s 18th of the season, third off a southpaw. Byrd popped out to second and Soriano flied out to deep center.

Darwin Barney flipped the order with a single to center and Wells struck out to end the second.

The Nationals ran themselves out of the bottom of the second inning. Wilson Ramos led off the inning and ripped a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Ramos did not hustle out of the box and tried to take second anyway. Byrd gunned down the Nationals’ catcher at second base.

Ian Desmond followed with a single to right … the Nationals fifth hit (in eight batters) off Randy Wells. Gorzelanny bunted Desmond to second but Wells was able to get of the jam by striking out Roger Bernadina to end the inning.

Reed Johnson led off the third with a single to left. After Castro flied out to deep right, Ramirez and Soto flied out to the wall in left center and center respectively to end the inning.

Four warning track fly ball outs in the first three innings … kinda says a lot about the Cubs offense.

Randy Wells worked around an error by Darwin Barney that allowed Espinosa to reach to start the bottom of the third. Espinosa stole second with Zimmerman at the plate and advanced to third when Zimmerman flied out to right center. Nix struck out swinging and Morse flied out to right to end the third.

Alfonso Soriano reached on two-out bloop single to left center but Gorzelanny picked him off to end the inning (1-3-6).

Randy Wells started showing fatigue in the bottom of the fourth but was able to wiggle his way out of another jam. Wilson Ramos singled to center with one out and advanced to third on a two-out single to right center by Tom Gorzelanny … his first hit of the season (0-for-20 prior). Wells served up a 1-2 pitch to the opposing pitcher …

Wells struck out Roger Bernadina looking to end the fourth.

The Cubs did nothing against Gorzelanny in the top of the fifth.

The Nationals took the lead again on their second two-run homer of the game in the bottom of the fifth … and chased Wells from the game before he could record an out.

The first four batters reached against Wells in the fifth before Quade could make a change. Like his last start against the White Sox, the Nationals scored quickly and took the lead in a blink of an eye.

Wells walked Danny Espinosa to start the inning. Ryan Zimmerman launched a 1-0 pitch into the stands in left and gave the Nationals a 4-2 lead. As Wells continued to look like a deer in headlights, the Nationals kept taking batting practice.

Laynce Nix followed Zimmerman’s homer with a single to right. Michael Morse singled to left on Wells’ first pitch … and Quade made the slow walk to the mound.

Randy Wells turned the game over to Chris Carpenter with two on, no outs and the Cubs down 4-2.

Chris Carpenter’s first pitch sailed over Soto’s head all the way to the backstop. Both runners advanced on the wild pitch but Carpenter settled down and retired Jayson Werth on a pop out to short on a 3-2 pitch.

Carpenter then struck out Wilson Ramos looking and intentionally walked Ian Desmond to load the bases with two outs. Tom Gorzelanny struck out swinging on the ninth pitch of the at bat to end the inning. Carpenter did his job … and it took 24 pitches (14 for strikes) to do so.

Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to right over Jayson Werth’s head … and Aramis Ramirez tied the game with a monster shot to center. Ramirez’s 14th of the season tied the game at four. Gorzelanny retired his former battery mate on a ground out to short, struck out Pena and Marlon Byrd swinging to end the inning.

Chris Carpenter retired three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth. Carpenter threw 40 pitches in his two innings of work, 26 for strikes, and continued to show promise at the big league level.

Ryan Mattheus took over for the Nationals in the seventh and issued a four-pitch walk to Alfonso Soriano to start the inning.

Instead of having Tony Campana run for Soriano, Quade decided to waste an out and have Darwin Barney bunt Soriano to second. Barney got the job done but Blake DeWitt lined into an unassisted double play to end the inning. DeWitt ripped a 2-0 pitch up the middle that Desmond caught and ran over and stepped on the bag. Soriano was caught in no man’s land … but should have never been there in the first place.

Quade’s decision to leave Soriano in the game likely cost his team a run in the bottom of the seventh. Kerry Wood replaced Carpenter and gave up a leadoff double to Michael Mores. The ball was hit into left center and a player with a little more speed would have caught up to the ball … but instead Morse ended up at second and advanced to third when Werth flied out to right center.

Davey Johnson put on the squeeze on the first pitch to Wilson Ramos. Ramos missed the sign, swung away and lined a foul ball into the stands down the third baseline. After Wood threw a ball to Ramos, Johnson put the squeeze back on and it worked to perfection. Morse scored … 5-4 Nationals. Wood struck out Ian Desmond to end the inning.

Reed Johnson led off the eighth with a single to center. Henry Rodriguez struck out Castro swinging but uncorked a wild pitch on a 0-2 pitch to Ramirez. Johnson took second but was stranded when Ramirez ended up striking out … and Soto looked at strike three to end the inning.

John Grabow tried to give the Nationals a little cushion in the ninth (bunt single, balk and intentional walk) but the scored remained 5-4 into the ninth.

Drew Storen retired the Cubs in order on nine pitches to end the game.

Just bad baseball at it’s finest.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza against Livan Hernandez in the finale of the four-game series Thursday night.

Quote of the Day

"Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves." - W Anderson.
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  • paulcatanese

    I don’t know why Quade was saving Fukudome and Campana, no excuse for that at all.I think he has lost it and is now totaly confused. You could see it after the balk on Grabow and before on the squeeze play. These other managers outsmart him at every turn. If there were any other managers in baseball with Quade’s record they would be gone by now, even if they were paid 10 times as much. But tommorow the media will give the injury factor and the support for Quade by upper echelon.

    • Joey U

      Quade is out smarted in everything… Has he used a sucide squeez this year? Believe me he’ll be back next year because they want to see what he can do with healthy ball club..LOL. To be honest a good manager would have been able to put a lot more wins on the board many of the losses have been do to his own ignorance .

  • Cheryl

    I bet other teams look forward to the cubs coming to town. They are basically playing like a minor league team. I hope that Ricketts does something soon. But it seems like he’s burying his head in the sand.

    • Tom U

      Brian Harper and Buddy Bailey have the Tennessee Smokies and the Daytona Cubs playing a lot better than the parent club.

  • Joey U

    Hendry @ Quade………..The Laurel and Hardy of baseball!!!

    • The Maven

      Try more like the Three Stooges:

      Tom Ricketts as “Larry”, the clueless one

      Jim Hendry as “Moe”, the bossy-type that doesn’t always know what he’s doing

      MIke Quade as “Curly”, for obvious reasons (wonder if he spins on the ground going whoop-whoop-whoop after losses)

  • roseyc

    What will it take for Quade to get fired or Hendry to get fired? It sure isn’t loosing

  • gocubs

    Could you imagine if the Yankees or Red Sox were 18 games under .500?  No way someone wouldnt be fired by now.  

  • Tony_Hall

    How bad is this team?

    Cubs are 18 games under .500 and 13-27 since May 27 — a .325 winning percentage.

    That’s pretty bad.   I guess it must be all of those injuries, that they have sustained, and ALL of the other teams have avoided…

    Wait a minute, are you saying that Pujols was on the DL, and the Cardinals are still in 1st, what did you say, Wainwright (who is better than any Cubs pitcher) is out for the year, and they are still in 1st.

    I would have to say the effect on the Cardinals, losing Wainwright for the year and Pujols for a stretch is harder to overcome, than all of the Cubs injuries, yet they are still in 1st.

    Tommy Boy are you following the same team we are…

    • Tom U

      Tony, that’s because the two teams have fundamental differences in how they approach their problems.

      When the Cardindals had basically the same injuries as the Cubs, they brought players up form their minor league system, played them regularly, and got production out of them,

      When the Cubs had injuries, they brought players up form their minor league system, sat them on the bench, played fringe veterans out of position, gave the call-ups a few token appearance, then crabbed when they didn’t get production out of the minor leaguers.

      The Cubs have better players than Mike Carpenter, Tyler Greene, and Allen Craig (Daytona itself may have better players than those) in their system, they just don’t use them.

      • Dorasaga

        Can’t put it into better words, Tom.

        This management is not concerned about player development, and “what do you want me to do?” Of course, they don’t see the benefit of an alternative management. Change. It helps.

      • paulcatanese

        Tom, you hit the nail on the head. I really believe Quade does not want players from the system up with the Cubs, they expose too many things that he is lacking. They have all been very good on fundementals and hustle and by playing them he only puts them in positions (again) to fail. I think he can’t wait to send them back down and be comfortable with the Vets (Johnson and DeWitt), his super players.

      • Gramps

        Thanks Tom, could not agree with you more!

    • Anonymous47701

      Well it’s not just injuries that is killing these Cubs, fundemental baseball is lacking, poor roster decisions, terrible starting pitching, not to mention bad managing.

      • Tony_Hall

        Of course that is the case.  I was “tongue-in-cheek” to how JH, TR, keep saying that once we get healthy…

  • Tony_Hall

    Quade has no  intention of moving Wells out of the rotation.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0707-cubs-nationals-chicago–20110707,0,5330033.story

    He is 1-3 – 6.80 ERA – 1.73 WHIP – .312 BAA 

    Mostly in the 1st innings, but still awful numbers.

    Of course we are almost out of 35+ yr old has been pitchers to put in the rotation.

    How can a team, that thought they had too many choices in ST, end up with no better options of AAAA pitchers and has beens at Iowa, and young guns that can come up from AA.

    Send Wells down and bring up Coleman. He is not a part of the future, but can fill in for short stretches and at least match these numbers.   Wins and Losses are out the window.  Giving players opportunities  and experience is all that is left for 2011.  Wells (just like I thought last year), needs a reality check and a confidence builder (pitching against lesser competition).  I know someone will say, sending him to the minors will hurt his confidence.  It is all in how you sell it to him.  If you tell him he is being punished, you are correct.  If you build him up, tell him he is a part of the future, and that this year is lost, that you want him to go pitch some games against AAA players and work on his game and pitches, so that he can come back, you can increase his confidence.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonPenrod Jason Penrod

    Somebody put me out of my misery.  Plus I just heard Buster Olney saying he thinks the Cubs won’t pursue ANY top tier FA.  Including Prince Fielder.  Seeing as we don’t have any talent coming up at first base, I feel that is a terrible idea.  Prince Fielder is still very young, and it won’t be like overpaying for Soriano.

    • Tom U

      I hate to disagree Jason, but the system is loaded at first base. 

      Iowa : Bryan LaHair – .360/24/70

      Tennessee: Rebel Ridling – .302/13/49
                        Matt Spencer – .280/12/50
                        Ryan Flaherty – .302/14/65
                        Josh Vitters – .275/7/38

      Daytona: Justin Bour – .287/17/63

      Peoria: Richard Jones – .288/14/49
                 Greg Rohan – .312/5/51
                 Ryan Cuneo – .260/2/26

      Boise: Paul Hoilman – .267/3/13 in 19 games

      Rookie: Ryan Durrence – .313/1/10 in 11 games

      Combined, the system’s first base prospects are hitting .295 with 112 HR and 484 RBI, or an average of 10 HR and 44 RBI. Kicking out the numbers for the players that just started, those averages go up to 12 HR and 51 RBI. This also doesn’t include Tyler Colvin, who can end up seeing time at first.

      • Brp921

        Tom, what have you heard about Justin Bour? He’s the guy I think might have a good future ahead of him.

        • Tom U

          From a hitting perspective, the 23-year old, 6’4″ 250 lbs. Bour may be just what the parent club is looking for at that position. However, Bour needs to work on his defense, as 10 errors and a .981 fielding percentage will indicate. 

          Bour may never get a chance to see Wrigley field as a Cub, but he could attract the attention of an American League team as a “sweetener” in a future deal.

          • Brp921

            Thanks Tom, who do you see if anyone from the system being a major league first baseman for the Cubs.

          • Tom U

            Thank you Brp921. 

            If I had my druthers, it would be Rebel Ridling. Ridling looks like he is going to be the best over-all hitter, and is decent defensively. Given the fact that he is right-handed, he can also give way to Ryan Flaherty and Tyler Colvin if match-ups dictate a left-hander. 

            I also like Richard Jones.

          • Cheryl

            The new owner may not know much about baseball but if he emphasizes building from within I think he’s on the right track. If any trades are made I hope it’s for better pitching, not Fielder. Maybe add Wright to the mix. Wells would probably be better off with another team.

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

      Buster every year goes out on a limb and says that a team wont be this or that. Last year he kept claiming that Texas would not make a move for pitching and they ended up with Cliff Lee.

    • Brp921

      I agree that Fielder would be a better pickup than Soriano, and his best years are still ahead of him. However I would rather see the Cubs play out all of their bad contracts and build a solid foundation from their minor league system. Once they have a solid young team in place then pick the players from outside that they feel can put them over the top.

  • Tony_Hall

    This is a fantasy baseball column about catchers.  It only takes offense into consideration, and gives a ranking of the players moving forward, based on an auction draft.

    Soto (who some would like to bat 4th) is in the 10th-15th bracket.  Not exactly a tier with middle of the order bats.  Then again, there are only a few middle of the order bats on this list, and they are at the very top.

    $22 Brian McCann(notes)
    $21 Victor Martinez(notes)
    $17 Carlos Santana(notes)
    $17 Joe Mauer(notes)
    $17 Miguel Montero(notes)
    $15 Alex Avila(notes)
    $12 Yadier Molina(notes)
    $11 Matt Wieters(notes)
    $11 J.P. Arencibia(notes)
    $10 Miguel Olivo(notes)
    $10 Jonathan Lucroy(notes)
    $10 Chris Iannetta(notes)
    $10 A.J. Pierzynski(notes)
    $10 Wilson Ramos(notes)
    $10 Geovany Soto(notes)
    $9 Mike Napoli(notes)
    $8 Jorge Posada(notes)
    $8 John Buck(notes)
    $7 Kurt Suzuki(notes)
    $7 Carlos Ruiz(notes)
    $6 Russell Martin(notes)
    $6 Ramon Hernandez(notes)
    $5 Jarrod Saltalamacchia(notes)
    $3 Yorvit Torrealba(notes)
    $2 Jason Varitek(notes)
    $2 Ryan Hanigan(notes)
    $2 Ryan Doumit(notes)
    $2 Nick Hundley(notes)
    $2 Hank Conger(notes)
    $1 Rod Barajas(notes)
    $1 Matt Treanor(notes)
    $1 John Jaso(notes)
    $1 Brayan Pena(notes)
    $1 Josh Thole(notes)
    $1 Ronny Paulino(notes)
    $1 David Ross(notes)
    $0 Ivan Rodriguez(notes)
    $0 Eli Whiteside(notes)

    http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/roto_arcade/post/Shuffle-Up-What-happened-to-all-the-great-hitti?urn=fantasy-wp4679

  • Tony_Hall

    If anyone is interested in how pitchers stack up.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/roto_arcade/post/Shuffle-Up-Crowning-Justin-Verlander-trusting-?urn=fantasy-wp4477

    Here is the list, until we see Garza.  And the author has a great line, just because a pitcher is on your team, doesn’t make them worth 20% more.

    $32 Roy Halladay(notes)
    $31 Justin Verlander(notes)
    $31 Cliff Lee(notes)
    $30 Cole Hamels(notes)
    $29 Clayton Kershaw(notes)
    $28 James Shields(notes)
    $28 Felix Hernandez(notes)
    $28 Tim Lincecum(notes)
    $27 Jered Weaver(notes)
    $26 Josh Beckett(notes)
    $25 David Price(notes)
    $25 Zack Greinke(notes)
    $25 Jon Lester(notes)
    $25 C.C. Sabathia(notes)
    $24 Matt Cain(notes)
    $23 Tommy Hanson(notes)
    $23 Dan Haren(notes)
    $22 Shaun Marcum(notes)
    $21 Michael Pineda(notes)
    $20 Yovani Gallardo(notes)
    $20 Ian Kennedy(notes)
    $19 Ubaldo Jimenez(notes)
    $19 Jaime Garcia(notes)
    $18 Wandy Rodriguez(notes)
    $18 Jair Jurrjens(notes)
    $17 Anibal Sanchez(notes)
    $17 Ricky Romero(notes)
    $17 Daniel Hudson(notes)
    $17 Matt Garza(notes)
    $17 Brandon B

  • Anonymous47701

    2012 Pitching Staff idea

    C.Zambrano
    C.Wilson
    M.Garza
    A.Kirk
    R.Wells

    bullpen

    S.Marshall-setup
    K.Wood-setup
    A.Cashner
    C.Rusin
    D.O’Day
    J.Russell
    C.Marmol-closer

    • paulcatanese

      I am going to toss another thing out here. I am a great fan of Wood, but it seems he is really having trouble holding a lead, I would rather see him used as an inning eater when the Cubs are well ahead or behind, I don’t like feeling that way about him but seems thats the way its going. I have lost a little confidence in him. And the same holds true for Marmol, I hope he gets it back but feel he is struggling at this point also. I really like Carpenter and think he will force his way on the team. If he were used correctly and let him stay in one place for more than a few days, that kid must have so much jet lag their going to charge him frequent flyer miles.

  • paulcatanese

    Little late but, it seems the Campana style of play entered into the loss. If Campana were in left he might have cut that ball off. Once the runner reached third a Campana type bunt scored the winning run, so his influence played a part on both sides of the ball. Then again Quade doesen’t know the meaning of speed and depends entirely on the long ball, and too bad as the two home runs only enforces his belief that games can only be won that way.