Nothing-for-the-Day with Runners in Scoring Position – Cubs 1, Brewers 2

Game Six – Cubs 1, Brewers 2
WP – Yovani Gallardo (1-1) LP – Ryan Dempster (0-1) Save – John Axford (2)

Ryan Dempster did his job Wednesday afternoon and put his team in position to win a game. For the fifth time in six games, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead but could not hang on and post a victory.

Ryan Dempster took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning after Starlin Castro (0-for-2 with a RBI, a sac fly, a walk and a stolen base) drove in the Cubs only run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Dempster fell behind George Kottaras after surrendering a double to Mat Gamel to start the inning. The Brewers’ back-up catcher launched Dempster’s 2-1 offering over the wall in right and gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead. Dempster pitched out of jams in the first and second inning but the 2-1 pitch to Kottaras (his 99th of the game) was Dempster’s only mistake on the afternoon. Dempster threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes, in his second start of the season.

Ryan Dempster became the 12th pitcher to record 1000 strikeouts in a Cubs’ uniform Wednesday when he struck out George Kottaras swinging in the fifth inning.

The Cubs offense was the difference in the game. The Cubs had numerous chances to tie or take the lead in the last three innings but they could not come up with a hit with runners in scoring position.

Dale Sveum’s team was 0-for-7 with RISP and left eight on base Wednesday. On the afternoon the Cubs struck out 12 times, eight of those coming in the last three innings. The last six outs the Cubs made Wednesday were strikeouts … either swinging or looking.

The Cubs offense outhit the Brewers 6-5, but only two of those went for extra bases (doubles by David DeJesus and Steve Clevenger). Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart (2-for-4) and David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a walk) had a good day at the dish while Geovany Soto (0-for-4 with two strikeouts) and Marlon Byrd (0-for-3, 1-for-21 on season, 0-for-last-19) continued their rough starts to the year.

Other than Ryan Dempster (two runs, five hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a balk in 6 2/3 innings), the other bright spot Wednesday was Sveum’s pen. James Russell struck out the only batter he faced. Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol had their best outings of the season. Wood struck out the side in order in the eighth and Marmol (no runs, no hits, one walk and two strikeouts in one inning) notched his first two strikeouts.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 1-5, their worst start since going 0-14 to start the 1997 season …

Ryan Dempster walked Norichika Aoki to start the game. Aoki was thorn in Dempster’s side Wednesday. Of the 106 pitches Dempster threw, 23 were to Aoki in his three at bats against Dempster. Nyjer Morgan gave the struggling Dempster a gift when he tried to bunt for a hit. Morgan bunted back to Dempster for the first out as Aoki advanced to second. Rickie Weeks hit a 2-1 pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball but bobbled it for his second charged error of the season.

Aramis Ramirez stepped in with runners on first and third with one out … and hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

David DeJesus led off the first with a double to right center (one-hopped the ivy). Darwin Barney tried to check his swing on a 2-1 pitch and tapped back to Gallardo on the third base side of the mound. DeJesus advanced to third as Gallardo threw out Barney at first. Starlin Castro ripped a 2-0 pitch into right. Morgan caught the ball, DeJesus tagged and scored … 1-0 Cubs. Soriano grounded out to third to end the inning.

After one, the Cubs led 1-0.

Dempster pitched his way in and out of trouble in the second.

Mat Gamel led off the second with a long single to right. DeJesus played the ball very well and held Gamel to a single. Alex Gonzalez popped out to first. George Kottaras ripped a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. With runners on first and second with one down, Ryan Dempster committed a balk after a 0-1 pitch to Carlos Gomez. Both runners advanced on the miscue.

Gomez hit a weak, sinking liner to Barney that was caught for the second out. Dempster struck out Gallardo swinging to end the inning. Dempster threw 35 pitches in the first two innings, 21 for strikes.

Bryan LaHair worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the second but Gallardo ended up facing the minimum after Soto grounded into a 4-3 inning ending double play.

The Brewers did nothing against Dempster in the third.

David DeJesus earned a two-out walk in the third … but that was it for the Cubs offense against Yovani Gallardo. After three, the Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead.

Ryan Dempster sat down the Brewers in order in the fourth … at the time, Dempster had retired eighth in a row.

After Castro (grounded out to short) and Soriano (grounded out to second) went down quickly to start the fourth, Ian Stewart singled to center (2-2 pitch). LaHair struck out swinging to end the inning.

Dempster sat Milwaukee down in order for the third inning in a row in the fifth … and Gallardo made quick work of the Cubs in the home half of the fifth (1-2-3).

Norichika Aoki led off the sixth with a single to right, just the third hit surrendered by Dempster. Nyjer Morgan hit a 2-0 liner toward first that LaHair snagged and stepped on the bag just ahead of Aoki for the unassisted double play. Dempster walked Weeks but struck out Aramis Ramirez looking to end the inning.

Darwin Barney reached on a one out single to center in the sixth. Starlin Castro flied out to right. Barney tagged and advanced to second but Soriano struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

With the Cubs up 1-0, Ryan Dempster started the seventh and allowed the tying run to reach second. Mat Gamel pulled a 2-1 pitch into the right field corner for a leadoff double. Dempster struck out Alex Gonzalez for the first out.

Dempster fell behind George Kottaras 2-1. Instead of just walking the lefty, Dempster pitched to him. Kottaras launched Dempster’s next pitch into the bleachers in right … and just like that the Brewers took a 2-1 lead. Dempster walked Gomez with one down. Gallardo flied out to right and Sveum went to his pen for James Russell with two lefties due up.

James Russell replaced Dempster and struck out Norichika Aoki on a check swing (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted an opportunity to at least tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair reached on back-to-back bloop singles but Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd struck out swinging (Soto tried to bunt but could not get the sacrifice down). Sveum went to his bench and sent up Blake DeWitt to hit for Russell … and DeWitt grounded out to third to end the inning.

Kerry Wood struck out the side in order the eighth.

After Francisco Rodriguez struck out DeJesus and Barney to start the eighth, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano reached on back-to-back walks … but Stewart struck out swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol struck out Gamel to start the ninth, the first strikeout of the season for Marmol. After Gonzalez fouled out to Stewart, Kottaras walked. Marmol struck out Gomez looking to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 2-1.

Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto struck out swinging for the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Steve Clevenger hit for Marlon Byrd and ripped a 3-2 pitch from John Axford into left. Joe Mather ran for Clevenger but Reed Johnson, hitting for Marmol, struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the final out of the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza will face Zack Greinke in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Zonk

    As a team, we are now batting .140 with Runners in Scoring Position. 

    The good news is that we can’t possibly be that bad over an extended period. 

    • Zonk

      PS:  …and that figure is .280 with the bases empty, with an OPS of .818!

  • Anthony

    The problem with MLB in general, and the Cubs accentuated, is that real baseball players are eliminated from the talent pools because of business and politics, then Sabercrapola, and plainly speaking, a bunch of guys who never really played the game because of a lack of talent, or a lack or dedication, a lack of baallss, or some combination of each.

    Business: A bunch of never-played Know it Alls who grant bonuses and huge signing dollars on mere speculation that some kid has fast hands, a strong arm, or runs fast. These invested players get the nod each and every time because of sunk costs and some stupid idea that a human being can result in a “ROA”, or return on investment for thise not attuned to the lingo.

    These decision-makers will extend every opportunity to these sunk cost players until either proven right, but we all know that mostly they are proven wrong, and they do everything they can to delay the error, mistake, ridicule forthcoming at the expense of castaway real baseball players. The game of baseball in regards to business stinks. PERIOD!

    Politics: I want my guy, but he wants his guy, and, the other guy wants the barrios player to help the countrymen. Minor league baseball is 55% foreign born, mostly Latino for a reason, and it ain’t because they can be signed for cheap.

    MLB is 27% Latino, and growing every season as Blacks are displaced because they know better, they know what the heck is happening, and the risk/reward to invest blood sweat and tears can go by the wayside because some smartarse Ivy Leaguer who has no baseball skills “knows better”…………..How sad!

    So with this vast pool of talent, human being production is entered into a computer program to try and defy the baseball gods. No matter what these braniac nerds try to do, the game of baseball will always have its say. Players will fail, they always do regardless of what barrios they come from. The game is designed that way.

    No matter what they try and who they try it with, 3 for 10 means you are good, 2 for 10 means bye-bye, and somewhere in between lie a group of players who can keep playing professional baseball granted they fall high up in the following hierarchy:

    The high school large bonus player
    The College junior with a high bonus
    The IFA with a large bonus

    Then you get to the afterthoughts who are loaded with real baseball players.

    The Org guy who puts up results and the College seniors who opted to get a degree first, and then the desperate young ones who have nothing else going on for themselves.

    The overall result?

    MLB, and most of MILB are not the best in the world because many of those who fall under the downtrotten are better and never got the chance long enough because of two things:

    Business and Politics based on many, many poor initial decisions.

    Screw it. I did.

    • OttawaBob

      Tony, No disrespect, but did the Cubs cut your favorite nephew or something???????

  • cubs1967

    where’s all the team theo lovers??…………look at this mess in 2012…..and really 2013……..WOW!

    ricketts’ historic numbers:

    this year will be 1st year not to draw 3M in a decade.

    1st owner not to sell out cubs convention

    2 of 3 yrs as owner has seen team record worst each year; 1st time since 1964-1966 cubs have continually worst record 3 yrs in a row

    this year will make 3 of 4 yrs as owner with worst record each year; 1st time since 1946-1949

    will continue the historic most embarassing record in all of sports; 104 yrs and counting; NO championship

    lowered payroll 40M from 1st year of ownership; tix prices higher since taking over as owner; yet wants cubs fans to be PATIENT!

    p.s. cubs lose on thursday will be 1st 4 game sweep by brewers in their history at wrigley………..

    • Zonk

      I am not a “Theo Lover” but I am Theo respecter.  He successfully built 2 World Series Champions in Boston, and is respected throughout baseball.  He’s said it’s a rebuilding year, and we are only 6 games in.

      It sucks, but there was no way to make this a contending team this year, none.  Not even if we spent $100 mil on free agents.  We are that much in the hole on young talent.

      There is a plan, it sucks but we have to be patient.  Boston fans were, and were rewarded.  And they started with far more talent than we have.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Boston has the same 1-5 record as the Cubs this year. 


        • Zonk

          They still have two flags though.  And so what?  Theo isn’t the GM over there now.

    • Neil

      I just posted the recap. No time for replies. This is the last time, please stop the nicknames. You labeling people as ‘Theo Lovers’, is no longer acceptable here.

    • Tony_Hall

      We are all still here, but I have been on a baseball field all night.  Plus it’s pointless to talk to you and your rants.  

      Not sure what you expected this year, but we have gotten a good outings by the starting pitchers.  The bullpen has lost games this year, with our vets, Marmol and Wood.  Offensively, Soto and Byrd have been awful and will be gone soon enough.And June is something, it is when teams start to make trades and teams start to bring up their prospects, that they had start the year in the minors, to get a little more seasoning, and gain a year of control.  But go ahead and keep blasting everyone who mentions that something will happen with player X in June.  

    • Cubsfan1893

      Dude really if you hate the team this much you dont have to watch. Your way too quick to judge and you dont even have all your facts straight. 

    • Steve Rock-Vegas

      We’re all still here, we’re just tired of responding to you and wasting our energy on YOU.  As a matter of fact, I’ve actually begun spending my time reading other sites with more inteligent fans.. Sorry Neil, but you have about 4-5 constant posters who are ruining the blog and don’t have an ounce of common sense.  When someone, who claims to be a fan since 1967, can’t understand a simple rebuilding plan and give it more time then four months to play out is completely blind and only WANTS to see them fail so he can thump his chest and claim, “SEE, i told you they suck and THEO knows nothing”.  I won’t call out the rest of the negative posters on here, everyone else already is plenty aware of you, but you 1967, are clueless to what’s being done by theo and jed and only follow them so you can list your reasons for hating them.  You’ll see me go silent now, and it’s not because “you won” some debate battle, it’s becuase I’m done arguing with stupid (sorry Neil) and will only read the articles and move on to other sites with more inteligent fans who can disect the team with more realistic lenses.  In a nutshell, YOU and a few of your playmates have ruined this forum for me and I know several others who are tired of YOU.

    • Chris Pinder

      Why even bother to follow the team at this point?

  • paulcatanese

    Sveum pinch hit for Byrd? Thats a start in the right direction.

    • Zonk

      To be fair to Byrd, his BABIP is now .062.  Not saying he’s looked great, but that’s some tough luck so far.  

      We also need to root for him to turn it around, because that will net more back in trade value (as I expect him to be gone when trading season starts in earnest)

      • cubtex

        It’s .062 because he hits little taps in the infield. He hasn’t hit many balls hard.

        • paulcatanese

          Zonk, I don’t wish for anyone to be bad, but for me to believe that Byrd is going to turn it around is a real stretch.
          I really think the hit he took last year has changed his approach completely at bat.
          He can say all he wants that, it didn’t affect him, but he hasn’t been the same scince.
          He has been average before he came to the Cubs and continues to be so.
          The only way he could turn it would be to start hitting home runs and extra base hits before June, and I just dont think he will,at least not in the amount he would need to make him valuable in a trade.
          Wish I felt different cause Byrd really hustle’s, but thats not gonna get it done.

          • paulcatanese

            Sorry, I meant the response for Zonk.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I agree with you, Paul, but I’ll add this: 

            Byrd wasn’t right before he got hit in the eye. Prior to that devastating hit by pitch, he had been plunked a few times in the previous ten days. My personal opinion is that somehow, for some reason, he couldn’t see the ball anymore. 

            I’m concerned for his health if he keeps stepping out there….

  • Aaron

    Cubs are 1-5, 3 1/2 games back, and absolutely no signs of life offensively…

    what shouldn’t be surprising to anyone on here, much less the front office, is the fact that the offense is THIS dreadful.

    Anyone remember what I posted in Spring Training about this offense?


    That’s your 2-4 hitters in the lineup, and all 3 of them are free swingers.

    Soto didn’t used to be a free swinger, but so far this year, that’s all he’s done is swing at the first pitch. Then you have the dreadful Byrd. On the bench, you have Baker, DeWitt, and Johnson…all of whom swing at the first pitch.

    So, on the entire damn team, the only patient hitters the Cubs have are DeJesus, LaHair, and Stewart. Clevenger and Mather…the jury is still out. 

    3 patient hitters on the whole team?!?!? WOW.

    All you have to do is look at the Cubs’ opponents thus far. Both the Nationals and Brewers have taken a lot of pitchers, increasing pitch counts, and getting into the pen quicker. The Cubs have lost 3 games because of the pen thus far. They should technically be 4-2 right now if not for the pen…..But that’s what winning teams do…they take pitches, get around strong starting pitching into the other team’s pen, take advantage, and steal games. Bad teams can’t close games out. Bad teams also are piss poor offensively, and are horrible with RISP…which this team is.

    Consider the times Byrd and Soto have grounded into very untimely double plays this year already….They’re usually swinging first pitch after the pitcher just walked someone. Consider the times Johnson and DeWitt have pinch hit this year already…BOTH of them have come on with guys that just walked, and they just couldn’t wait to swing, going after the first pitch. Castro, late in the game with bases loaded and a chance to tie/win the game, swings at the first pitch, and ends up striking out to end the game on 3 damn pitches…..

    Pretty much says it all right there, doesn’t it?

    We already know that Byrd, Baker, DeWitt, and Johnson likely won’t be on this team next year. Ditto Soto in all likelihood, (barring an injury to Clevenger or Castillo), considering his cost will go up exponentially this year and his effectiveness is at an all-time low once you consider last year’s stats too.

    A spark plug like Campana could be nice in CF until the risk of Super Two with Jackson is up. Does everyone see why signing veterans like Baker, DeWitt, and Johnson was incredibly foolish this year? With Byrd’s horrendous start, they could’ve just plugged in Campana, but they can’t do the same with Johnson, because he’s almost the exact same player as Byrd and he’s beyond the starting type at this point in his career. While I don’t believe Campana is either, at least he’ll bring more speed, and you just never know…people thought the same of Pierre when he first came up, but he surprised folks for a few above average years.

    It’s time to cut the cord with the veterans and just move on, or this year is going to get REALLY ugly. Theo and Hoyer haven’t seen anything yet. They might’ve heard from Ricketts that fans were pissed last year, but this year is even more pathetic…they just have better defense it seems….and better starting pitching.

    • OttawaBob

      So you think Campana is the difference maker here!!… wow OK!!  I’m not trying to sound like a jerk here Aaron, But this team isn’t getting fixed this year no matter who they bring up.  What if Jackson is hitting .230 on May 15  You still want him promoted??  Rush him here to win 3-4 more games?  Patience Aaron PATIENCE!!! 

      • Aaron

        How in the world did you get “difference-maker” out of this:
        “While I don’t believe Campana is either, at least he’ll bring more speed, and you just never know”

      • brent carmona

        Cmon man, would you either want byrd or campana in center?

        The jury is out on byrd. First it was reported he lost forty pounds, then it was corected to twenty. Where is his already average power going to come from now? Not to mention, his pathetic approach at the plate, hack hack hack its so repulsive I want to puke.

        Campana>byrd any day of the week.

  • Anthony

    Nelson 0-3 with 2 K’s, another fine performance

  • Steven Tamara Petty

    OK.  is it time to trade dempster now while he has a 1.88 era?  Maybe, possibly to the Twins who lost their opening day starter?  Thoughts?

    • Strent

      To early for that kind of trade, Twin will most likley try out someone from the minors.