All’s Not Wells with Randy – Cubs 2, Phillies 5

Game Twenty-One – Cubs 2, Phillies 5
WP – Joe Blanton (2-3) LP – Randy Wells (0-1) Save – Jonathan Papelbon (7)

Randy Wells likely punched his ticket back to Iowa with another bad performance Saturday night. Ryan Dempster is expected to return from the DL to make Thursday’s start in Cincinnati and reportedly Wells was pitching to stay in the big leagues … and he made the front office’s decision very easy.

Randy Wells did not give up a hit in the first three innings and other than a walk and hitting Joe Blanton, he was rather sharp. Wells pounded the strike zone and appeared to be taking advantage of his opportunity … that all changed in the fourth.

Hunter Pence doubled to start the fourth. Thirty pitches, nine batters, three hits and three walks later, including a four-pitch walk to Joe Blanton, Randy Wells’ night was done. Wells could not get through the fourth inning. Wells allowed four runs on three hits with four walks, three strikeouts and a hit batsman in 3 2/3 innings. Wells threw 78 pitches, 44 for strikes … after three, Wells’ pitch count stood at 48, 32 for strikes. That’s how bad Wells was in the fourth inning.

In two starts subbing for the injured Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells allowed six runs, all earned, on nine hits with nine walks, five strikeouts and a hit batsman in 8 2/3 innings.

Michael Bowden made his second appearance in a Cubs’ uniform. Other than serving up a solo shot to Carlos Ruiz in the sixth, his third inning of work, Bowden put together a good outing. Bowden allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts and most importantly no walks in 2 1/3 innings. Bowden threw 33 pitches, 19 for strikes.

Both Shawn Camp and Scott Maine turned in a scoreless inning of relief Saturday night. Maine sat down the Phillies in order in the eighth.

The Cubs offense was a no show Saturday night. After jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out single and stolen base by Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases) and a two-out RBI double by Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI), the Cubs managed just one other run the rest of the night. Tony Campana scored on a fielder’s choice by Castro in the top of the eighth. Dale Sveum’s offense managed just six other hits, eight for the night … and not a single walk. The Cubs made too many routine outs and did not square up many of Joe Blanton’s offerings.

With Saturday loss, the Cubs dropped to 7-14 on the season …

Joe Blanton retired David DeJesus (flied out to center on 1-1 pitch) and Darwin Barney (grounded out to second, 0-2 pitch) to start the game. Starlin Castro drove Blanton’s first pitch on the outer side of the plate into right field.

On a 2-1 pitch to LaHair, Castro took off for second and slid in feet first with his ninth stolen base of the season. Bryan LaHair then ripped a 2-2 pitch into right center. Castro scored easily on LaHair’s double. Alfonso Soriano lined out to Polanco at third (first pitch) to end the inning.

Randy Wells pounded the strike zone in the first … and retired Philly in order on 15 pitches, 11 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the second … 1-2-3 with a strikeout and two groundouts.

Jim Thome grounded out to short (first pitch) to start the second. After Shane Victorino struck out, Wells issued a two-out walk to Laynce Nix (ahead 1-2). Wells refocused and struck out Carlos Ruiz for the third out … 31 pitches for Wells after two, 20 for strikes.

Randy Wells blooped a single into right to start the third. David DeJesus popped out to short (2-1 pitch) and Darwin Barney grounded into a 1-6-3 double play (0-1 pitch) to end the Cubs’ third.

The third inning started with Wells striking out Pete Orr swinging but he hit Joe Blanton on a 1-2 pitch. Wells jumped ahead of Jimmy Rollins 1-2. Rollins popped his next pitch into shallow center. Reed Johnson lost the ball in the lights and Castro caught it 100 feet into the outfield. Placido Polanco popped out to Castro in shallow left (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Wells threw 48 pitches in the first three innings, 32 for strikes.

Other than a two-out infield single by Soriano (hole at short), the Cubs continued to swing early and often against Joe Blanton. The burly right-hander threw 49 pitches over four, 37 for strikes.

The Phillies notched their first hit of the game to start the fourth. Hunter Pence pulled a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner. Wells then walked Jim Thome and put runners on first and second with no outs. Shane Victorino grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice for the first out.

With runners on first and third with one down, Laynce Nix fell behind in the count 1-2. Victorino then took off for second and made it easily without a throw … Wells’ pitch bounced in the dirt. Wells ended up walking Nix two pitches later to load the bases.

Randy Wells fell behind Carlos Ruiz 2-0 and had to throw a strike. Ruiz ripped Wells’ next pitch back up the middle. Pence and Victorino scored … 2-1 Phillies. Wells retired Orr on a pop out to left center (2-1 pitch) for the second out. With runners still on first and second with two outs, Wells fell behind Joe Blanton 2-0 before walking him on four pitches.

Jimmy Rollins broke out of his slump 0-for-13 slump with a bloop double down the right field line. Nix and Ruiz scored … 4-1 Phillies.

Dale Sveum decided he’d seen enough and made the slow walk. Michael Bowden replaced Wells with runners on second and third and two down.

Michael Bowden retired Polanco on a pop out to shallow center (1-0 pitch) to finally end the fourth.

Randy Wells threw 30 pitches, only 12 for strikes, in two-thirds of an inning.

As the rain picked up, the bottom of the Cubs’ order did nothing in the fifth.

Michael Bowden stayed in and pitched the bottom of the fifth. Bowden retired Pence (grounded out to third) and Ty Wigginton, who took over for the injured Jim Thome (stiff back) quickly. Shane Victorino lined a double off the wall in right … but Laynce Nix looked at a close 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

David DeJesus led off the sixth with a single to center. Blanton then stuck out both Barney and Castro swinging … and caught Bryan LaHair looking (2-2 pitch) to end the sixth.

Carlos Ruiz led off the bottom of the sixth and launched a 2-2 pitch deep over the wall in left … 5-1 Phillies. Bowden retired Orr on a fly out to center and struck out Blanton looking (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Jimmy Rollins struck out looking (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

After six complete, the Cubs trailed 5-1.

Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart tapped back to Blanton for the first two outs of the seventh. After Johnson lined a 0-2 offering into left for a single, Welington Castillo struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) for the third out.

Shawn Camp pitched the seventh and other than a two-out single by Ty Wigginton (right field), the Phillies made three quick outs (nine pitches for Camp, eight for strikes).

Tony Campana hit for Camp to start the eighth and reached on a single to left center past Jimmy Rollins. DeJesus struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. A 0-2 pitch to Barney bounced in, Campana advanced to second on a wild pitch. Barney ended up singling to left (1-2 pitch). Campana broke back as the ball was hit just out of the reach of a diving Polanco. With runners on first and third with one out, Charlie Manuel made the slow walk. Chad Qualls replaced Joe Blanton.

Starlin Castro hit the first pitch from Qualls towards second. Pete Orr had to wait on the ball and was able to only force Barney at second. Campana scored the Cubs’ second run. After Castro stole second, Bryan LaHair struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Scott Maine retired the Phillies in order on 14 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the bottom of the eighth.

Jonathan Papelbon faced the Cubs for the first time in a Phillies’ uniform and picked up his seventh save of the season when he struck out Soriano and Stewart for the first two outs … and Johnson bunted back to the mound to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza faces Kyle Kendrick in game three Sunday afternoon.

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  • Trevor Petersma

    Too bad Wells couldn’t keep up the hot start tonight.  Either way, the Cubs are going to have to score more than 2 runs a game to win games.

  • cubtex

    Only caught the last 2 innings of game tonight. I’ll tell you what…..Scott Maine has really good stuff. He can get lefties and righties out and if Marmol continues to struggle this year and Sveum decides to make a switch, I would go with Maine.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Maine DOES have good stuff!

      If he can pound the strike zone, he’ll be a stud. That’s been his issue. 

      But I like him, and he needs to stay up here. 

      Let’s talk Lenny Castillo……they are going to ruin him if he doesn’t get some minor league time.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Should Joe Mather get a start at 3B for the next month?

      • paulcatanese

        Why not? He certainly could not do any worse. Not too familiar with his glove though, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

      • cubtex

        Stewart is not the long term answer at 3rd. You got to play him in hopes he gets on a little hot streak so you can move him in a deal.

  • Chadaudio

    Great summary Neil.  

    Question for anyone… I know Castillo went 0-3, but did he look ok?  What did you guys think?  Is he a big league catcher?

    • Neil

      Castillo was okay tonight. I have been higher on Castillo than some. He can hit, great arm, must improve on his game calling and defense. He played well in Iowa. Jamie Quirk said prior to the game that the coaching staff is happy about the progress he made with Iowa this year.

      • Chadaudio

        Cool.  Thanks Neil.

  • paulcatanese

    Real bummer for Clevenger, that oblique strain is kind of like a broken rib, intense pain with almost every breath, I don’t know that they can do anything for it except rest.

    • Chadaudio

      Yeah, I couldn’t believe it.  What a bummer.

  • Baron_S

    At Some stage, Ian Stewarts gonna have to show something

    .169 avg, .234 OBP,.268 slugging??

    • Ripsnorter1

      I am glad you noticed. I was comparing his stats this year with last year’s disaster, and they are pretty close:
      2011……156 BA…..243 OBP…..221 slug 0 HR in 136 PA
      2012…..179 BA……247 OBP….284 slug 1 HR in 73 PA

      So he has a little more than half the PA as he did all of last year.

      I am glad you pointed it out.

      Joe Mather…where are you?

    • John_CC

       Unfortunately, I think Ian Stewart is showing us what he is, which is not a very good hitter. Sadly, he looks like one of the many promising young prospects that, whatever reasons, cannot put it all together at the ML level. 

      I had never watched him prior to this year, but it is hard to tell what’s wrong. I love his defense but at the plate he appears so out of it to me. He doesn’t look like he’s pressing; I mean his ABs are not all horrible looking – like what Byrd looked like or Aramis most of the first half of last year, where they get up there and just hack and look lost. He doesn’t look lost, he just doesn’t hit the ball enough. 

      Come on Josh Vitters!

      • GaryLeeT

         Stewart’s kryptonite is that breaking ball down & in.  He just can’t stop himself, and often misses by feet, not just inches.

        • cubtex

          Exactly. He has a huge hole in that swing and he was exposed at the mlb level.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree with both of you. As a left handed hitter, the down and in pitch should be meat for a lefty.
            Keeping the ball away should be the downfall but it isn’t in his case.

  • GaryLeeT

    First the Hawks early exit, then the Rose injury as the Bulls were poised to win a championship. There is no where to turn for for good news in Chicago sports.  Well, I think the Bears had a good draft, and if Cutler stays healthy, many prognosticators are saying they are in the mix for a SB run next year. So we got that going for us. Plus, I think today’s pitching match-ups for the Cubs, gives them a good chance to take back to back series.

    • Brp921

      It’s looking like less than sixty wins for the Cubbies this year.

  • Coachdon

    You’re right, Castillo has some decent stuff but is not a Major League quality pitcher now. Some time in Tennessee would do him good if they could find a way to get him there without losing him. And it hurts the Cubs bullpen, because you are really a man short there.

  • cubtex

    You got to feel for Garza today looking at that lineup. Look at those 5 thru 8 hitters! Baker,Stewart,Mather and W Castillo :)

    • Chadaudio

      Yeah, but at least DeWitt isn’t playing?  The only real loss is having Baker in RF.  I think Mather can produce what Soriano is doing right now (and play better D).  W. Castillo can produce what Soto is currently doing on offense.  And Stewart is going to play no matter what so…