Q’s Cubs Throw One Away – Cubs 2 Brewers 5

Game One Hundred Thirty-Two – Cubs 2 Brewers 5
WP – Randy Wolf (11-8) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (4-5) Save – John Axford (38)

The Cubs lost their sixth straight game at Miller Park on Friday night. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run) started the night on a positive note. Castro launched Randy Wolf’s second pitch to deep left center and the first leadoff homer of Castro’s career gave the Cubs an early lead. The Cubs added a run in the third after an error by Randy Wolf, a Darwin Barney stolen base and a double by Jeff Baker (1-for-2 with a double, a RBI and a walk).

The Brewers started chipping away in the bottom of the fourth. George Kottaras hit his third homer of the season, second against Cubs pitching, which cut the Cubs’ lead in half. Milwaukee then took the lead for good after another ugly, error filed inning by Q’s Cubs.

Two errors by Darwin Barney (three errors for Barney in two games) led to three runs in the fifth … and the miscues ended up being the difference in the game.

Corey Hart scored the tying run on a double by Ryan Braun off the top of the wall in right. Reed Johnson played the ball perfectly and got the ball into Barney. The Cubs second baseman tried to throw to third behind Nyjer Morgan but threw the ball into the stands … both Morgan and Braun scored on Barney’s second error of the inning. Darwin Barney tried to make something out of nothing and it cost his team.

With Barney’s two miscues on Friday night along with two more unearned runs, the 2011 Chicago Cubs have been charged with a Major League worst 110 errors that have led to 60 unearned runs.

Rodrigo Lopez completed six innings of work and once again he could not pitch well enough to hold onto an early lead. Lopez allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Lopez threw 101 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija had a rough outing and struggled mightily with his command. Samardzija surrendered the Brewers’ fifth run and allowed one run on one hit with two walks, two strikeouts and a wild pitch (27 pitches, 14 for strikes).

Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a double) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a double in the first inning.

The Cubs lack of offense was once again a problem. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities early but could not cash in with runners in scoring position. Q’s squad managed only five hits and three walks and finished the game 1-for-7 with RISP, seven left on base. Q’s Cubs are a miserable 5-for-49 with runners in scoring position over the last five games and have stranded 44 baserunners.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 18 games under .500 with a 57-75 record …

Starlin Castro launched the second pitch of the game to deep left center. Castro’s eighth homer of the year, and first leadoff dinger of his career, gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Castro also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, one off his career high. Aramis Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a one out double to left. Jeff Baker lined out to right, Ramirez advanced to third and Geovany Soto walked on four pitches.

In what is becoming the norm, Marlon Byrd grounded out to short to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez labored through a 23-pitch first inning (11 strikes) but did not allow a run. Corey Hart struck out looking to start the inning and Nyjer Morgan grounded out to second. Ryan Braun kept the inning going with a two-out double to left.

Lopez fell behind Prince Fielder 3-0 before issuing ball four intentionally. Casey McGehee walked on five pitches to load the bases. Yuniesky Betancourt stepped in and popped out to right on a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Randy Wolf in the second inning.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the bottom of the second with a single to right center. George Kottaras struck out looking. Wolf sacrificed Hairston, Jr. to second but Corey Hart grounded out to third to end the inning.

Starlin Castro flied out to deep right to start the third. Darwin Barney then reached on an error by Randy Wolf. Barney hit a slow chopper to first. Prince fielded the ball and tossed to Wolf but the veteran left-hander dropped the ball. Ramirez flied out to center (first pitch) for the second out.

Barney took off for second on the first offering to Jeff Baker. Barney swiped second and scored two pitches later. Jeff Baker lifted a 1-1 pitch over Hart’s head in right … 2-0 Cubs. Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.

Baker’s double was the Cubs second run scoring hit with runners in scoring position in the last five games.

Rodrigo Lopez retired three of the four batters he faced in the third. Morgan grounded out to second, Braun walked; Fielder popped out to center; Braun stole second but was stranded when McGehee struck out swinging.

Randy Wolf retired the Cubs in order in the fourth on six pitches.

The Brewers got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Betancourt grounded out to first to start the inning and Hairston, Jr. popped out to Soto.

George Kottaras launched a 2-2 pitch from Lopez (with two outs) over the wall in right. Kottaras third homer of the season, second against Cubs’ pitching, cut the Cubs lead in half. Randy Wolf struck out swinging on Lopez’s 72nd pitch of the game (44 strikes).

The Cubs went down in order again in the fifth … seven straight retired by Randy Wolf at the time.

The bottom of the fifth was another one of those innings for Q’s Cubs.

Corey Hart started the inning by ripping Lopez’s first pitch into left field. Nyjer Morgan popped up a bunt that fell just out of Lopez’s reach. The Cubs pitcher made a strong throw to Barney covering first but he took his foot off the bag. Morgan reached on Barney’s error … and the Cubs were in trouble.

Lopez fell behind Ryan Braun 2-0. Ron Roenicke called for a double steal and both Hart and Morgan advanced ninety feet. Lopez got the call on a 3-0 pitch to Braun.

Ryan Braun lined Lopez’s next offering (3-1 pitch) to right. The ball hit the top of the wall in right and bounced back to Reed Johnson. Hart scored easily to tie the game but Morgan made a wide turn at third. Barney saw Morgan off the bag and tried to make a play that was not there. Barney’s throw ended up in the stands … both Morgan and Braun scored on Barney’s second error of the inning (12th of the season) and gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

Prince Fielder (first pitch fly out to center), Casey McGehee (foul out to Soto) and Yuniesky Betancourt (lineout to left on first pitch) went down quickly (four pitches) to end the inning.

But the damage had been done and after five complete the Brewers had a 4-2 lead.

Jeff Baker worked a one out walk in the sixth and advanced to second on a 1-6-3 fielder’s choice off the bat of Geovany Soto. Soto hit a 3-2 pitch off Wolf’s leg. Betancourt barehanded the ball and threw out Soto at first.

Marlon Byrd grounded out to second to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez faced the minimum in the sixth, his last inning of work. Lopez issued a one-out walk to George Kottaras but was thrown out at second on a botched hit and run. Roenicke called for a hit and run but Wolf swung and missed at Lopez’s first pitch. Wolf ended up grounding out to second on Lopez’s 101st pitch of the night (63 for strikes).

Reed Johnson reached on a one-out single in the seventh. Tyler Colvin hit for Lopez and grounded out to second. Johnson advanced to second and that was it for Randy Wolf.

Takashi Saito struck out Castro swinging to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the bottom of the seventh … and had zero command. Samardzija gave Soto a workout as he missed his spots badly early in the inning. Corey Hart walked on four pitches to start the inning. Morgan popped up a bunt to Soto in foul ground. Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Ryan Braun. Hart advanced to second and Samardzija eventually walked Braun.

Prince Fielder ripped a 2-0 pitch into left. Hart scored easily … 5-2 Brewers. Samardzija struck out McGehee and Betancourt to end the inning.

Francisco Rodriguez made quick work of the Cubs in the eighth.

Ramon Ortiz worked around a leadoff single by Hairston, Jr. in the bottom of the eighth and a two-out infield single by Corey Hart without allowing any runs. Nyjer Morgan grounded out to first to end the inning.

The Cubs managed a hit against John Axford in the ninth … a one-out single to right by Marlon Byrd that ate up Prince Fielder and ended up in the outfield. Following a Soriano strikeout, Reed Johnson put together an excellent at bat. Byrd took second on defense indifference and ended up at third on a wild pitch. Johnson walked to put runners on first and third with two outs.

Blake DeWitt hit for Ramon Ortiz and hit a smash to Fielder at first. Fielder snagged the one-hopper and beat DeWitt to the bag … game over.

More errors and more runners left on base …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Yovani Gallardo in game two on Saturday night.

Quote of the Day

"If a baseball could talk, it would sound like Ron Santo." – Pat Hughes - Remembering Ron Santo #10 (1940-2010)

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  • Ripsnorter1


    Do you want your $10 million dollar slugger to be bunting with two strikes?
    Mr. .196 has been doing this of late. I think he’s 2 for 5 in the category.My answer: no. 

    • Richard Hood

      It matters the situation. The last 2 times he has done it has been with no one on to lead off an inning when we needed base runners. In that case I would say yes.

      Everyone’s job in that case should be the same thing. Get in a position to score.

      What is really funny is that early in the year when Adrian Gonzalez was pulling everything because he was jumpy (back in April). He pulled the same thing like 3 times in a week and they stopped putting the shift against him then he got hot. Never once heard one person say he was a power hitter and shouldn’t ever try to just get on base. Because everyone understood that if you make them pay for the shift eventually you will make them stop doing it.

    • John_CC

      2 for 5 is .400!  It’s better than his swinging average…

      • Richard Hood

        And in the 2 for 5 were two great plays by a 3rd baseman in Cincy in the same game. So he actually got it down 4 out of 5  that makes it something that has to be in the defenses head. Leave it to Rip to tear on someone for actually trying to make the defense work.

        • Ripsnorter1

          No, he’s fouled out for strike three three times of late.

          • Ripsnorter1

            And Rich, while I’m ripping on Pena for actually making the defense work, I have a question for you:

            IF YOU WERE THE CARDS MANAGER, DO YOU WANT ALBERT PUJOLS BUNTING REGULARLY? After all, it would make the defense work. He might raise his batting average a few points, too. 
            What do you think?

          • paulcatanese

            Rip, only if you are willing to play third halfway in and then charge for what may be a fake bunt and then him swing away. Still think they would play deep for him and hope he bunts.

    • paulcatanese

      Pena bunting keeps the dust down around home plate.

  • cubs1967

    just a thought…………wouldn’t the $6M the cubs could of unloaded on the yanks w/ pena been used to offset the 18M to release zambrano??

    is tommy clueless really gonna make a new GM keep pena, trade Z instead of releasing him, and soriano??

    will any good GM take this mess??………….no bu hahn or colletti would and they are JH clones.

    every organziation starts at the top; why does it seem the cubs eternal optimism is headed towards disappointment again w/ the GM hire when you consider pena and his 6M could of been used to launch zambrano for a net of 12M…………

    and if brett jackson is not called up…………….well then………

    103 yrs and counting…………..there is NO grace period…………and the owner doesn’t GET the game………….he’s a token baseball fan and it shows.

  • Richard Hood

    My question is after seeing some of the stats that Rip pulled out on Barney’s defense is it time to really think about moving him while his value is high ? I know some of us think that his defense is going to end up being pretty good but how can we not hold him accountable for being the worse defensive 2nd baseman in the majors? 

    • paulcatanese

      Richard what also has to be taken into account are the feeds he gets from the left side of the infield. More than a few times Aram has been late gettjng the ball to Barney, as well as Castro with his. The blame should go a little further than just Barney, and coupled with the fact that he is new to second base all contributes to his average. Uggla may have 30 HR, but is atrocious at 2b and gives up runs as well with his defense.

      • Richard Hood

        So what you are saying is that numbers lie and Barney is not statistically the worse 2nd baseman in the majors?

        According to the Zone Rating system the only worse fielders are Weeks, Dan Uggla, and Johnson in the NL. That is not good. Lets just admit that no matter what we think of his hustle, smarts and baseball instincts there is enough negative about him to think really strongly about moving him before the new wears off.

        • cubtex

          Numbers don’t always tell the whole story. The same goes for WHIP with pitchers. You need to look at all factors. For WHIP…if your defense is poor at turning double plays and the pitcher has to pitch to that extra batter and gives up a hit or walk….that effects his WHIP.
          For Barney, he is very raw at turning double plays. I have been watching him carefully all year. Having played shortstop his whole career…it is a skill that takes time to master. I agree that maybe Barney’s value will never be higher and if he can be moved in a package for a starting pitcher, I would do it. Barney has been one of the bright spots in this dismal season..but you have to look past that and realize that he is a lower ceiling player.

          • Richard Hood

            Oh I agree that he is a bright spot but he is the same as 3 guys we got in our system. Marwin Gonzalez could be ready to go come spring if he does go to AFL this year and plays more postions. We now see Barneys limitations we need to move him before the rest of the league catches up to what we know.

          • Brp921

            Anyone is tradable for the right price. Let’s not forget that Barney has put together a very solid rookie year though, and the three other guys may or may not be able to do that if given the opportunity. As for Barney’s defense, it should get better as time goes on. He’s a smart heads up guy.

        • paulcatanese

          Richard, if you say that Weeks,Uggla and Johnson are worse than Barney then he is not the worst 2nd baseman in the NL. That aside, if pitching can be obtained for him while he is at a good level, move him. No one is above a good trade, it just depends on the return. I am not a stat person and just watch day in and day out, stats can be decieving.

          • J Daniel

            So with all of that said, what would you expect the return to be for him in a trade?  Can’t be much?

          • cubtex

            I think you would need to package him with a prospect for a decent return. Maybe Barney and Rusin for a Gavin Floyd. That is my assumption of what Barney’s value would be.

          • Richard Hood

            I actually think his value is higher for other teams than it is for us. He can be a really good defensive shortstop like a Wilson type without the offense. He won’t kill you offensively and will get to most balls. The only problem with that is we have a good young SS in Castro and that would probably be Barneys best position. So his value is relative to the team you are talking about. If you wanted to move him to say StL the value would be better than shipping him to the White Sox who have a young SS and a young 2nd baseman. But I think he can be a good trade piece for pitching.

          • paulcatanese

            I think Richard answered that better than I could as I also think his best position is shortstop. He would fare better for another team such as the Cards. He is in the running for rookie of the year and would be a feather in the Cubs hat if he could pull it off. Castro last year as a rookie hitting .300 ahd then Barney this year. I personaly would not trade him, but then that is my heart thinking and not my logic. Dont think I do not feel the same way about
            all of the kids that come up as I think thats the way to go. I supported LeMahue when he was here, I just like the hustle and enthusiasm that they all bring. Kind of like Darn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

          • cubtex

            Paul…I am like you. Stats are definately something to factor in evaluating….but it should not be the only thing.

  • paulcatanese

    Barney with two errors last night, probably figured with all of the other errors that have happened around him, no one would notice.

  • paulcatanese

    Cant forget Byrd, three ground outs and a bad hop single and no rbi’s again, but the rookie will be chastised, wouldnt be surprised to see DeWitt at 2b tonight.

  • Matt Collins

    todays lineup

    • Ripsnorter1

      What? Hill not starting?????

  • Chuck

    Did Jim Hendry ever lead the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch?

    • paulcatanese

      He should have as he is built like an opera singer.

  • BosephHeyden

    So…when do we fire Quade?  They’re out of it at this point (I mean, even if we win the next 20 in a row and Milwaukee loses the next 20, we’re still two behind them) and we really don’t need Soriano playing anymore .  If you wanna play Reed and Byrd because they are still hitting, go ahead.  And if you want to play Pena at first because he’s got power again all of a sudden, feel free.  But, as I mentioned before, this is a three step process to get the team on the right path:  the first step was done when Hendry was fired, but Kenney and Quade are still here and, of those two, Quade is the biggest threat to the future of this team.  Wish him well, let him go, put an assistant on the bench with marching orders to not play unproductive vets and to play potentially starting rookies, and we’re good.

    I just don’t understand how this is always so hard for the Cubs to figure out.

    • paulcatanese

      Should have fired him yesterday.