Nothing-for-Thirteen – Cubs 3 Astros 4

Game One Hundred Twenty-Four – Cubs 3 Astros 4
WP – Bud Norris (6-8) LP – Casey Coleman (2-5) Save – Mark Melancon (12)

There are no two ways about it, Casey Coleman was not good in his return to the big leagues but Wednesday’s loss was more about the Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position than Coleman’s struggles on the mound.

The Cubs lost to the Astros by a single run for the second time in 24 hours because Q’s offense was 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base. The Cubs offense did nothing with all of those runners on base … nothing, not a sac fly, didn’t even ground into a double play, nothing but a big fat zero-for-thirteen. The Cubs out hit the Astros 11-10, walked three times and struck out nine times.

The Cubs three runs came off two home runs … a two-run blast by Aramis Ramirez in the third inning and a solo shot by Geovany Soto leading off the fourth inning, that broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Cubs a brief lead.

The Cubs put multiple runners on base in the second (two), fourth (two), fifth (three), eighth (two) and ninth (two) and could not push across a run.

Casey Coleman threw strikes (85 pitches, 62 for strikes) but not quality ones when he needed it the most. Coleman pitched ahead in the count for a majority of his outing … he simply could not put hitters away.

Coleman surrendered four runs on 10 hits (one for extra bases) with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings to a starting lineup that featured six rookies. Coleman issued only two walks, which was an improvement. Both walks came at the worst time possible. Casey walked Jimmy Paredes with two outs in the third to load the bases … then again in the fourth Coleman issued a two-out walk to J.D. Martinez that loaded the bases. Both times the next hitter (Brian Bogusevic in the third and Matt Downs in the fourth) delivered a base knock that drove in two runs.

All four runs surrendered by Casey Coleman on Wednesday came with two outs and the bases loaded.

If there were any positive vibes created in the Cubs’ clubhouse after winning the last two in Atlanta and the opener in Houston they had to be erased after the way Q’s Cubs dropped the last two games.

The Cubs finished the six-game, drama filled road trip with a disappointing 3-3 record.

With Wednesday’s loss (the 70th of the year), the Cubs are back to 16 games under .500 with a 54-70 record.

The Cubs did nothing against Bud Norris in the first and Casey Coleman dodged a bullet in the bottom of the first.

J.B. Shuck led off with a single to center. Altuve (fly out to right) and Martinez (bloop out to right) went down quietly. Matt Downs ripped a 0-2 pitch into right but Jimmy Paredes struck out looking to end the inning.

Geovany Soto reached on a one-out single to left in the second. Marlon Byrd walked but Soriano flied out to left center and Colvin fouled out to Carlos Corporan to end the inning.

Casey Coleman retired three of the four batters he faced in the second (one out single by Clint Barmes) and did not allow any runs.

After Casey Coleman and Starlin Castro were retired to start the third, Darwin Barney singled to right center. Aramis Ramirez launched Bud Norris’ first pitch over the wall in left center and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Wednesday was the 11th time this season Ramirez hit the first pitch of an at bat out of the park. Ramirez tied Carlos Pena with the team lead in homers (23) on Wednesday. Pena struck out swinging to end the third.

Casey Coleman gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the third. Shuck led off with a soft single to right. Altuve hit into a 6-4 force on Coleman’s 37th pitch of the games (only seven balls). J.D. Martinez singled to left on a 1-2 pitch.

With runners on first and second with one out, Matt Downs flied out to center. Coleman fell behind Jimmy Paredes and ended up walking him to load the bases.

That guy stepped to the plate again with the bases loaded. Brian Bogusevic did not hit a slam Wednesday but did deliver a two-run double down the right field line (six RBI in two at bats for Bogusevic). With runners on second and third with two outs and the game tied at two, Clint Barmes struck out swinging to end the inning.

At the end of three, the game was tied at two and Casey Coleman had thrown 59 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Geovany Soto gave the Cubs the lead right back. Soto led off the fourth with his 13th homer of the year down the left field line. Marlon Byrd followed with a single and advanced to third on a single to right by Alfonso Soriano. Soriano took second when Bogusevic missed the cut off man.

With runners on second and third with no outs, the Cubs went down in order … Colvin (strikeout swinging), Coleman (pop out to second) and Castro (ground out to first).

The Astros took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Coleman did not get a call on a 1-2 pitch to Bud Norris with one out. Norris ended up with a single to center but was erased on a 6-4 fielder’s choice off the bat of J.B. Shuck.

Jose Altuve blooped a single into left and Martinez walked to load the bases.

Matt Downs ripped a 1-2 pitch into center. Shuck and Altuve scored … 4-3 Astros. After Jimmy Paredes singled to right (10th hit off Coleman), Mike Quade went to his pen for John Grabow.

Grabow retired Bogusevic on a flyout to center to end the inning.

The Cubs pen (Grabow in the fifth, Ramon Ortiz in the sixth and seventh and Jeff Samardzija in the eighth) did not allow a hit over the last 4 1/3 innings and the Astros managed only one runner (walk in the fifth by Jason Michaels off Grabow).

The Cubs had plenty of opportunities to at least tie the game.

Darwin Barney led off the fifth and reached when Norris hit him on a 1-1 pitch. Barney stole second with Ramirez at the plate. Ramirez and Pena walked to load the bases with no outs.

Geovany Soto (struck out looking), Marlon Byrd (struck out swinging) and Alfonso Soriano (pop out to center) could not deliver.

David Carpenter took over in the sixth. Colvin fouled out. Jeff Baker hit for Grabow and looked at strike three. Starlin Castro singled to center and stole second but Barney blooped out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order for the second and last time in the seventh. Brad Mills used three pitchers and each one got the job done. Carpenter retired Ramirez on a fly out to center (3-1 pitch), Sergio Escalona retired Pena on a ground out to first and Fernando Rodriguez, Jr. caught Soto looking at strike three to end the inning.

Tyler Colvin reached on a two out single to left in the eighth. Reed Johnson hit for Ramon Ortiz and dropped a bunt up the third baseline. Johnson reached and Colvin advanced to second but Castro grounded out to short to end the inning.

After Jeff Samardzija sat down Houston in the bottom of the eighth, Darwin Barney led off the ninth with a single to right. Aramis Ramirez singled to right. Barney advanced to third with no outs and Tony Campana took over at first for Ramirez.

Carlos Pena popped the first pitch to Altuve in shallow right. Campana stole second with Soto at the plate. Soto ended up hitting a grounder to short. Barney was caught in a run down and was eventually tagged out. Campana advanced to third but Byrd grounded out to second (0-1 pitch) to end the game.

It is very difficult to go 0-for-13 with RISP and leave 12 runners on base … and the Cubs made it look easy. Wonder which player will get thrown under the bus for this loss?

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs have Thursday off and open a three-game series at Wrigley against the Cardinals on Friday. Randy Wells is scheduled to face Jaime Garcia in the opener.

Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • paulcatanese

    Not Byrd, he wont get thrown under the bus he is Qua’s CENTER FIELDER, and will not be benched. Colvin will though, couldnt deliver today, it was all his fault.

    • Ripsnorter1

      It has to be a new player. It cannot be a vet–no, not by any means. QQuade is running the show.

      So who played who isn’t a vet?
      ColvinBarney
      Castro
      Campana
      Coleman

      As for RISP, Coleman was 0-1.
      Barney was 0-1.
      Castro was 0-2.
      Colvin was 0-2.
      Campana was 0-0.

      It looks easy to me: blame any or all of them.
      Collectively, the youngsters were 0-6 with RISP.

      Oh by the way,……
      Pena was 0-5 on the day, and 0-1 with RISP.
      Sorry-oh-no was 0-2 with RISP.
      Byrd was 0-2 with RISP.
      Soto was 0-2 with RISP.

      That means, collectively, the vets were 0-7 with RISP……..
      BLAME AND BENCH THE YOUNGSTERS!

  • Ripsnorter1

    THINK ABOUT IT……………………….

    The Cubs are a lousy 54-70. That’s 16 games under .500.
    Marmol has blown 8–count ‘em–EIGHT saves.

    So if Marmol had converted all eight, what would that mean?
    70 losses would now be 62 losses, right?
    And 54 wins would be 8 more wins, or 62 wins.

    THE CUBS WOULD BE A .500 TEAM JUST THAT EASY.

    And don’t forget, QQuade has blown about 20 games, by my count.
     Aaron figures 15 I think. 

    ANY WAY YOU CUT IT, THE CUBS COULD HAVE BEEN COMPETITIVE IN 2011 WITH A REAL MANAGER & COACHING STAFF/

    • jw

      I agree – although most people think a good manager will win you about 5 to 7 games extra, its clear a bad manager can lose you way more. Truly it is the managers job to keep you in a game by getting the most out the players and abusing their best attributes. Quaqua effectively brings out the worst in his players effectively allowing them to lose.

      • studio179

        Plus, Quade calls you out in the media if you are a kid/young player and you make a mistake. But if you are a vet and mess up, Quade goes into denial and says all is good…effort is good…battling…put the bad game behind us…blah, blah. 

    • roseyc

      20 games is about right and not to mention the ripple effect of those losses

  • Demitri

    Are we going to reach 100 losses this year?

    • Qqqqq

      100 losses is almost impossible.
      Unless you think they will go 8 & 30 the rest of the way?
      Maybe 88 or 90 losses, just my opnion.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I know…I KNOW!…..

    Oh, the team on the field is terrible, but our draft was top notch!!!We got the best group of draftees ever seen on a playing field! [Drink a lot of Kool-Aid right here]. Yup, Tim Wilken, he’s a pro’s pro.
    He’s a scout’s scout. [Consume more Kool-Aid at this point]. With his drafting ability, the Cubs are going to be winners for sure in just 3 or 4 more years!!! [Completely douse yourself is Cubbie Kool-Aid at this point]. HEY HEY! THE CUBS ARE ON THEIR WAY!!! [Fall down drunk with so much Cubbie Kool-Aid that all reason and sense of reality vanishes from your mind].

    Now….for the brave of heart who really want to know what the Cubs drafted in 2011, I present (at the risk of my life), ESPN’s analysis of the Cub’s signings:

    “The Cubs took a bunch of tough-sign players who slipped not just on bonus demands but also because of baseball concerns, [ya'll just read that last sentence again,  because here's the proof:] from Dillon Maples’ arm action to Shawon Dunston Jr.’s disappointing performance this past spring to Daniel Vogelbach’s DH-ness to Trevor Gretzky’s general rawness in all areas of the game. They spent the money to at least get those players in the bank, topping them off with first-round pick Javier Baez, who immediately becomes the system’s best long-term prospect. Scouting director Tim Wilken has always marched to his own beat, but you won’t find many scouts willing to bet against him, [that's because he's real good at a poker table. He can't draft, but he can play poker] and he did go for major upside on those picks as well as earlier signing Zeke DeVoss. The club has had a horrible year on the field, magnified by the Carlos Zambrano fiasco but really just caused by a terrible roster and front-office delusions of grandeur, so this draft class has to be a bright spot for eternally suffering Cubs fans.”

    You want to suffer from delusions of grandeur? Just believe all the hype about the 2011 draft class of the Cubs.

    • erniesarmy

      This fish is rotten from the head down, Rip.

      If Ricketts actually cared about fielding a winning team these types of bogus drafts would never happen. Why? Because, if he cared about winning, he would have fired most of these clowns the very second he realized these guys (Wilken, et. al.) are not part of the solution, but THE problem. I include Quade, Hendry, Kenney, and most of the coaching staff in that pool.

    • paulcatanese

      I like that post Rip, but dont want to go there, as the draft represents new hope for Cub fans and dont want to spoil their dreams about these kids.
      A lot of money was put out front here for prospects and hope it goes well for those choices, but a couple of them were “name” players that may not pan out at all, but because of money and household names will be given every chance to suceed.

    • Aaron

      Rip,

      I wouldn’t bash the Cubs as much as you seem to be doing for the draft…and I know part of that you were posting from another blog on ESPN, but your comments at the end prove that you agree somewhat with that assessment.

      But I totally get where you’re coming from, bro…I really do. It’s tough to trust something that continually lets you down as this team is really good at doing.

      But I want to caution you about being so down on this draft. 

      First of all, Vogelbach is WAY more athletic than everyone is saying. Yes, he had weight issues, but he runs a lot faster than you’d think. Scouts have actually rated him as an above average runner, and he’s more athletic in the field as well, and I’ve seen video of both the baserunning and fielding that backs this up. He’s not the DH-type everyone is trying to label him as.

      I’ll tell you this, however….the guys like Garcia (now retired), Weismann, Socorro, Zapenas, and Levitt will likely never amount to much. (obviously Garcia won’t for sure).

      But guys like: Baez, Vogelbach, DeVoss, Zych, Scott, Rosario, Gretzky, Schlecht, Dunston Jr, Martin, Maples, Marra, Pugilese, Hoilman, Klafczynski, Shoulders, Jensen, Easterling, Maltos-Garcia, McDonald, and Urban likely have a chance to be above average MLB players, and that’s a significant haul if you ask me.

      I’m not as high on the likes of: the afforementioned Weismann, Socorro, etc., but also Lopez, Lockhart, Andreoli, McKirahan, Dickson, and Francescon.

      Obviously, anyone can surprise you and be productive, just as guys like Campana can surprise you by contributing. And guys can also surprise you by tanking, or as scouts would say “crapping themselves” when they reach the upper levels and flame out. So I acknowledge both sides of the coin.

      The thing with this draft that is completely different is the Cubs took a lot of versatile players that were overslot, so a lot is expected of them. In the past, they’d take a chance on a few athletes, but not much was really expected.

      Gretzky (OF, 1B, 3B), Shoulders (1B, 3B), DeVoss (2B, OF), Baez (anywhere but catcher is his projection), Schlecht (OF, 1B), Lockhart (middle IF), etc. have a great deal of versatility, and they all bring solid bats. 

      This is one of the first drafts I can remember where you literally could great an entire lineup and rotation  (and feel very comfortable doing so) and project it out in just a year or two, as I believe a majority of them can move quickly through the system.

      For instance:
      C-Rosario, Marra
      1B-Vogelbach, Hoilman
      2B-DeVoss, Lockhart
      SS-Baez
      3B-Shoulders
      LF-Gretzky, Klafcyznski
      CF-Dunston Jr., Martin
      RF-Schlecht

      Rotation: 
      Maples
      Scott
      Jensen
      Urban
      Maltos-Garcia

      Closer:
      Zych

      I’m not saying this because I’m a homer for this team, as you well know…..but I’m just saying that it easily is one of the best drafts the Cubs have had in our lifetime.

      That entire lineup and rotation would rival anything we have in the system right now, except for maybe including Brett Jackson, as well as hanging onto the likes of: Castro, Barney, W. Castillo, Cashner, Carpenter, Vitters, McNutt, Dolis, and the currently injured Whitenack. You could even include guys like Flaherty or LeMahieu that project as solid MLB guys, and you already have a solid base to work with.

      That’s how solid teams are built….If you already have solid, but unspectacular base of future MLB players, and you add a bunch of high ceiling guys to the mix…your chances of succeeding go up exponentially, versus sticking with the Cubs plan the last few years of selecting “high floor” type of players. 

      The Cubs system is already pretty deep at catcher, CF, middle IF, and relief pitchers, so when you add a bunch of corner IF and OF types to the equation, your chances of success will obviously go up.

      • paulcatanese

        Aaron, I do like Vogelbach, from what I have seen. True its limited, anly one tape, but I agree that he is one that could produce in the long run.Saw a short tape on Baez and Dunston and really was not that impressed, but thats it, but then I shouldnt make a decision based on the one viewing, have to wait and see.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Here’s a Tim Wilken quote from 8/16/2011…..

    “-Tim said that in the past five years, the Cubs are tied for third in getting their picks to the majors (some with other clubs via trades or releases). The Cardinals, according to Tim, rank first, with 20, followed by the Padres (14), Cubs (13) and Reds (13).”

    Okay, let’s count ‘em:
    1. Casey McGahee
    2. Josh Harrison
    3. James Russell
    4. Darwin Barney
    5. Tyler Colvin
    6. Geo Soto
    7. Jake Fox
    8. Micah Hoffpauir
    9. Casey Coleman
    10. Tony Campana
    11. Al Albuquerque
    12. Sam Fuld
    13. Chirinos

    Nice list, eh?

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    6 of 13 are on the Cubs today, but only 3 should be:
    Soto
    Russell
    Barney.

    Colvin ain’t right.
    Campana is not a ML OF, imo.
    Coleman–not a ML pitcher unless he learns a new pitch. He hasn’t a good enough #2 and #3 pitch to keep the hitters honest. And as WIlken says, “If a pitcher hasn’t got velocity, then there’s only a 10% chance that they can make it having good control.”

    • cubtex

      I don’t think that list is accurate Rip. What about Cashner and Shark?

    • jfish1219

      were is starlin castro on that list?

      • cubtex

        and then you need to add Chris Carpenter too.

        • cubtex

          and DJ LeMahieu

          • Ripsnorter1

            The list flexes due to who is in the majors at the time as Wilkins was speaking, and who is sent down. The quote is from Wilkins, and the numbers are his, too.

            Shark is here, Carpenter and LeMahieu are not. Fox is now down, Hoffpauir is in Japan, and Cashner is on the DL.

      • Ripsnorter1

        He was not drafted, but signed right out of Latin America, the Dominican Republic, to be specific.

        • jfish1219

          ahh ok that makes sense 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brett Jackson: 2-for-4, RBI Triple, BB, 2R in Iowa’s 9-7 win over Salt Lake. Walked in 9th
    & scored go ahead run on Luis Montanez’s bases clearing two-out double

  • roseyc

    Take last night’s game and we blew an easy( or should have been easy) win. Which sets up this loss. You can’t put a stat on it and can’t see it but it erased our momentum and then they can’t hit in the clutch today. Instead of going for the sweep they loose the series Quade will blow that game off and this one too and blame can go around but the atmosphere is not conducive for winning. That is  why comeback wins are so important. Because everyone is feeling the effort and the effort produces a win. Quade is a cancer and he stopped our momentum last night dead in it’s track. Now we are back to where we were… not knowing where we are going. Quade is not giving this team a direction …my mistake the direction is down. Why can’t Ricketts see this or is he that ignorant. How did they make their money anyways? Neil…anyone?

  • UPNorth

    Anyone else see the TV shot in the Cubs dugout after the game?  Pena was sitting at the end of the bench just staring out onto the field.  A-Ram as he was walking through the dugout to head to the clubhouse was shaacking his head as in disbelief.

    • paulcatanese

      Believe it or not, thats actualy a good sign, too many losses the view from the dugout was one of smiles and thats not good. I often felt that how can you lose and have a smile on your face? That would tell me that those who did were more interested in individual efforts and not team. To see them upset and down is a step forward in my eyes as maybe they are starting to think like a team.

  • paulcatanese

    We keep watching what Brett Jackson does every day, I guess we are the only ones keeping track as he is still there, just wonder how long it’s going to take for the brass to recognize what he is doing?