Dempster Wilts in the Heat – Cubs 1 Phillies 9

Game Ninety-Nine – Cubs 1 Phillies 9
WP – Vance Worley (6-1) LP – Ryan Dempster (7-7) Save – None

The blame game is in full swing on a team that is spiraling toward a 100-loss season. One day it’s the weather, the next it’s the umpires, on Wednesday it was a missed pop up and miscommunication by the Cubs young middle infielders … not the 86-pitch, three-inning outing by the veteran starting pitcher.

Following the game, Mike Quade said a missed pop up by Starlin Castro on the second batter of the game set the tone for the Cubs’ 60th loss of the season. Quade failed to mention Ryan Dempster’s horrible outing and a pitiful performance by the Cubs offense.

On an extremely hot day at Wrigley Field (game time temp was 97 degrees with the on field temperatures in excess of 115 degrees) Ryan Dempster labored through a 27-pitch first inning in which he allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. The Phillies scored two runs without putting a good swing on one of Dempster’s pitches … but that all changed in the second inning.

After a 12-pitch at bat from Domonic Brown that resulted in a strikeout to start the second, Dempster gave up a two-out double to the pitcher, Vance Worley. The Phillies went on to score three more runs and it took Dempster 37 pitches to record three outs. Dempster threw 64 pitches (43 for strikes) in the first two innings of Wednesday’s game.

The Phillies tacked on another run against Dempster in the third and ended up chasing him from the game after 86 pitches in three innings … 86 pitches in three innings, that is hard to do.

The Phillies scored at least one run in each of the first four innings (scored in six of the nine innings) while the Cubs were being no hit by Vance Worley.

The Cubs offense did not record their first hit until there was one out in the fifth inning. Geovany Soto broke up Worley’s no hit bid after the Phillies rookie had faced just one over the minimum over the first four innings.

On another hitter’s day at Wrigley Field, the Cubs only run came on a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning. The Cubs managed only four hits, two walks and Soto was hit by a pitch in the second inning … seven baserunners in nine innings.

The Cubs were overly aggressive once again and made it incredibly easy on a young pitch on a very hot day.

Ramon Ortiz gave up two more runs in his three innings of work and John Grabow was just plain horrible again. It is well past time for Jim Hendry to do whatever it takes to move Grabow to another team. In a blowout loss, John Grabow made it worse by allowing a run on three hits with a walk in two innings of work.

Kerry Wood retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.

The Cubs were charged with two more errors on Wednesday … the ninth straight game Quade’s squad has been charged with an error, the longest streak for a Cubs team since 1987.

The Cubs hit a new low on Wednesday. Not only did they lose another series (1-2) and another season series to the Phillies (2-5) but the Cubs dropped to a season-worst 21 games under .500 with a 39-60 record …

Ryan Dempster started the game by striking out Jimmy Rollins … then it went all down hill from there for the Chicago Cubs.

Michael Martinez, who had a huge series, reached on an infield single on a ball that Starlin Castro lost in the sun. Darwin Barney was near Castro and the young middle infielders did not appear to communicate. The ball fell and Martinez swiped his second bag of the year not too long afterward.

With Martinez at second, Dempster walked Chase Utley then gave up a single to left on a 3-2 pitch to Ryan Howard. Martinez scored and Utley advanced to third on the play.

Shane Victorino hit a weak grounder to third on a 0-2 pitch. Utley was running on contact and scored … 2-0 Phillies. Dempster retired Ibanez on a flyout to right center, the 27th pitch of the inning.

Starlin Castro worked a one out walk in the bottom of the second … but that would end up being only one of two baserunners for the Cubs in the first 4 1/3 innings.

Domonic Brown struck out swinging to start the second but it took Dempster 12 pitches to record the out … so it took Dempster 39 pitches to record his first four outs.

Brian Schneider struck out for the second out of the inning … but Vance Worley ripped a 0-1 pitch into center for the first double of his big league career. Jimmy Rollins followed with a double and Michael Martinez singled to center … and just like that the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.

Chase Utley followed with his first of two doubles on the afternoon. Martinez scored and the Phillies were up 5-0. Dempster struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning.

After two, Dempster’s pitch count stood at 64, 43 for strikes.

The Phillies added a run in the fourth after Victorino led off the inning with a walk. Raul Ibanez lined out to right. With Domonic Brown at the plate, Soto threw out Victorino at second. Dempster ended up walking Brown and the speedy outfielder scored on a double to right center by Brian Schneider.

Ryan Dempster’s day ended with striking out Vance Worley for the final out in the third.

Ramon Ortiz took over in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins reached first on a fielding error by Carlos Pena … then was awarded second when Pena threw the ball away. Pena was given a pair of errors on the one play.

Ortiz retired Martinez on a tapper back to the mound. Rollins held at second but scored on a double to right center by Chase Utley. Ryan Howard grounded out to first, Utley advanced to third but was stranded when Victorino popped out to right.

The Cubs finally kept the Phillies off the scoreboard in the fifth … the first time since the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game in which the Phillies did not score a run.

Jimmy Rollins hit his first of two home runs in the bottom of the sixth off Ramon Ortiz … and the Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the sixth.

After six innings, the Cubs managed one hit, a walk and a hit by pitch against Vance Worley … he had faced just two over the minimum at that point.

John Grabow tried to give the Phillies a couple of run in the seventh … but Worley could not help his own cause. Grabow gave up back-to-back two out singles to Raul Ibanez and Domonic Brown. Grabow then walked Schneider to load the bases. Worley grounded out to first to end the inning.

The Cubs broke up the shutout in the bottom of the seventh.

Aramis Ramirez doubled to left center, the Cubs second hit of the game. Carlos Pena walked and Byrd singled to left. With the bases loaded and no outs, Geovany Soto hit a grounder to third that went off Martinez’s glove to Rollins who threw out Byrd at second base. Ramirez scored on the play … 8-1 Phillies.

Alfonso Soriano grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

John Grabow served up another homer in the top of the eighth to Jimmy Rollins. Rollins two homers on Wednesday came from both sides of the plate.

The Cubs could not take advantage of a double to left by Darwin Barney to start the bottom of the eighth and Ryan Madson retired the Cubs in order to end the game.

21 below .500 and counting …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs will not suit up on Thursday and will welcome the Houston Astros to Wrigley on Friday for a three game series. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Bud Norris in the opener.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax