An Uggla Eighth – Cubs 1, Braves 3

Game Thirty – Cubs 1, Braves 3
WP – Kris Medlen (1-0) LP – Kerry Wood (0-2) Save – Craig Kimbrel (10)

Ryan Dempster battled his was through seven innings Tuesday night and left with the game tied at one. The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent the entire game but Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a walk) was able to double in Tony Campana (1-for-4 with a run scored) with two out knock in the sixth.

Kerry Wood took over in the eighth and could not find the strike zone. Wood gave up lead-off single to Michael Bourn then walked Martin Prado. Prado was trying to bunt Bourn to second but Wood could not throw him a strike. Wood induced a grounder off the bat of Freddie Freeman to second. For some reason, Adrian Cardenas underhanded the ball to Starlin Castro from at least 30 feet away, if not more. Freeman beat Castro’s throw to first then Wood walked Brian McCann to load the bases.

Dan Uggla delivered the knock-out. Uggla ripped a 1-1 pitch into left center that plated both Michael Bourn and Freddie Freeman. With the backend of the Braves pen, the game was over at that point. Wood picked off McCann at second then as he left the field threw his glove and hat into the stands. Kerry Wood gave up two runs on two hits with two walks and no strikeouts on 22 pitches, nine for strikes.

Ryan Dempster was not sharp Tuesday night but was still able to keep his team in the game. Defensive positioning played a big role while Dempster was on the mound. The Braves smoked several balls right into the defense. Dempster allowed one run on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings. Dempster once again received no support. The offense has scored a grand total of eight runs while Dempster was on the mound over his five starts.

The Cubs offense managed only five hits Tuesday night but still had chances to score runs in a two-run loss. The Cubs finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.

Alfonso Soriano drove in the Cubs’ lone run and played well in the field again. Starlin Castro (1-for-4) added another hit and while he did not record a hit, Bryan LaHair (0-for-3 with a walk and four left on base) worked a walk in the second and now has reached base safely in the last 26 games he’s played.

With Tuesday loss, the Cubs dropped back to 12-18 on the season …

Ryan Dempster made it through the first inning without allowing any runs but was not sharp. Dempster pitched from behind in the count but allowed just one hit, a one out single to Martin Prado. Freddie Freeman swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch but Prado was running and advanced into scoring position with two outs. Brian McCann smoked a 3-2 pitch toward first that Bryan LaHair snagged to end the inning. Dempster threw 19 pitches in the first, 11 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the first inning.

Dempster continued throwing from behind in the count in the second inning … but ended up facing the minimum. Dan Uggla led off with a single to center (2-1 pitch). Chipper Jones flied out to right center (0-1 pitch). Dempster quickly fell behind Jason Heyward 3-0. Dempster battled back and struck him out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Uggla was running with the pitch and Geovany Soto threw to second. Soto’s throw was on the first base side of the bag. Castro made a running catch and tagged Uggla on his shoulder as he passed by … strike ’em out, throw ’em out.

Bryan LaHair walked to start the second (3-1 pitch). Alfonso Soriano continued to struggle and struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the first out. Ian Stewart hit a 2-1 pitch toward first. Freeman bobbled and had to settle for one. LaHair advanced to second with two outs.

Geovany Soto put together a long, 12-pitch at bat that ended with him looking at strike three (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster retired the Braves in order in the third. Dempster threw 45 pitches in the first three innings, 28 for strikes.

Adrian Cardenas led off the third and hit a routine grounder to second on Delgado’s first pitch. Ryan Dempster ripped a 2-1 pitch toward the third baseline. Chipper Jones made an outstanding diving catch and threw out Dempster at first.

David DeJesus pulled a 1-1 pitch into right for the Cubs’ first hit. DeJesus ended up at second with a double but was stranded when Campana struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Nada to Zilch after three.

Martin Prado led off the fourth with a single to right (1-1 pitch). Freeman smoked a 1-0 pitch to Castro in the shift for the first out. Brian McCann flied out to center but Uggla ripped a single to left through the shift (3-2 pitch). Chipper Jones lined Dempster’s first pitch into left center. Soriano made a nice running catch to end the inning … 61 pitches for Dempster after four, 37 for strikes.

The Cubs could not take advantage of a gift from Chipper Jones to start the bottom of the fourth. Starlin Castro hit a routine grounder to third, Jones bobbled and Castro beat his throw to first. LaHair hit a slow roller to first. Freeman fielded and touched the bag as Castro advanced to second. Alfonso Soriano walked (3-2 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out … but Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Braves finally got to Dempster in the fifth. Atlanta had hit Dempster rather hard in the first four but nothing fell in … until the fifth.

Jason Heyward pulled a 0-1 pitch into the right field corner. Heyward ended up a third with a triple. Tyler Pastornicky lifted Dempster’s first pitch into right. DeJesus caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate … but it was late. Heyward scored, 1-0 Atlanta. Randall Delgado ripped Dempster’s first pitch into left. Dempster struck out Bourn swinging (1-2 pitch) and retired Prado on a fly out to right to end the inning. Dempster threw 71 pitches, 46 for strikes, in five innings.

Adrian Cardenas and Ryan Dempster went down quickly to start the bottom of the fifth. Cardenas popped out to McCann and Dempster hit a chopper to Chipper. David DeJesus worked a walk but was picked off first with Campana at the plate to end the inning (1-3-6).

At the end of five, the Cubs trailed 1-0 and had managed only one hit.

Freddie Freeman smoked a 1-1 pitch back up the middle to start the sixth. The ball caught Dempster for the first out. Dempster issued his first walk of the night to Brian McCann (3-1 pitch). Dan Uggla struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Jones grounded out to second on Dempster’s 90th pitch, 56 for strikes.

For the third time the Cubs put the leadoff hitter on. Tony Campana slashed a 2-1 pitch into left to lead off the sixth. Starlin Castro popped out to right (first pitch) for the first out. LaHair grounded out to Uggla in the hole. Campana advanced to second with two down.

Alfonso Soriano quickly fell behind 1-2 but kept battling Randall Delgado and worked the count full. Soriano went with a 3-2 pitch, drove it into right and plated Campana with the tying run. Fredi Gonzalez made the slow walk and brought in Eric O’Flaherty to face Ian Stewart. Stewart hit a routine grounder to Uggla (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster ended his night by retiring the Braves in order in the seventh. Dempster threw 102 pitches over seven innings, 63 for strikes.

Kris Medlen sat down the Cubs in order in the bottom of the seventh.

Kerry Wood took over in the eighth and the game got out of hand … quickly. Michael Bourn led off with a single to center (0-1 pitch). Martin Prado tried to bunt Bourn into scoring position but Wood could not throw him strikes. Wood walked Prado and put runners on first and second with no outs.

Freddie Freeman hit a 1-0 pitch to Cardenas at second. Cardenas made a long underhand toss to Castro and forced Prado but Freeman beat Castro’s throw to first. With runners on first and third with one out, Wood issued a four-pitch walk to McCann to load the bases.

Dan Uggla smashed a 1-1 pitch past Castro into left center. Bourn and Freeman both scored and pretty much ended the game. With the Braves up 3-1 and runners on first and second with one down, Chipper Jones fouled out to Soto. Wood then fell behind Jason Heyward 3-0.

Starlin Castro snuck in behind McCann and Wood picked the Braves catcher off at second to end the inning. Wood tossed his glove and hat into the stand as he made his way into the dugout.

The Cubs had a chance in the eighth against Jonny Venters to jump back in the game again … but came up empty. After David DeJesus appeared to get hit to start the inning, Dale Sveum argued to no avail but DeJesus ripped a single into right center and ended up at first anyway.

Tony Campana bunted right back to Venters and DeJesus was forced at second. With Campana at first, Starlin Castro singled to left center. Campana missed second on his way to third and had to go back. Instead of runners on first and third with one out, the Cubs had runners on first and second with one down … and Bryan LaHair hit the first pitch to second, 4-6-3 inning ending double play.

Shawn Camp allowed a one-out single to Jack Wilson in the top of the ninth. But that was all and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-1.

The Cubs did nothing against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth … game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Paul Maholm faces Tim Hudson in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Neil

    Rizzo just hit his second three-run homer of the night

    • Dorasaga

       Neil, is this the first time, I don’t know, this year? that you use an opposing team (not Cubs) player as your title?

      • Neil

        I have this season. I think Chris Capuano was one, Mike Leake and Roy Halladay were also used. Could not resist tonight’s.

    • Bryan

      I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous that he’s still sitting in AAA.  He’s got the hot-hand going….play him at the big league level already.

  • paulcatanese

    Nice Uggla recap Neil:)
    I have to have a little humor after this one
    Positive, nice couple of plays by Soriono.

  • Dorasaga

    Nothing alarming, but I hope avid fans realize that pitcher performance has been dramatically boosted since 2010, and even more out of balance now (pity batting).

    Baseball reference league average:

    On-base: 0.316 NL, 0.317 AL
    Those used to be 0.340 and even better for the batting…

    OPS (count slugging): 0.703 NL
    Think around 0.720 two years ago, and, hold your breath! 0.740 three years ago.

    That’s 40 points dropped, poop, nothing for hitting, the last three years to now.

    Old school batting average: 0.249 NL, ten points drop from old days…

    I’m not surprised that, this year, there are 12 pitchers with ERA below 2.0, and 49 pitchers below 3.0; so, are we looking at the New Dead Ball Era?

    I mean, suddenly most Cubs pitching are more like Cy Young than their old selves. The league improved in pitching, probably due to external factors unrelated to pitching talent. The Cubs need to work better for the lead, or else they are just mediocre.

    • Dorasaga


      League average 3.72 ERA, like everyone’s an ace now…

      • GaryLeeT

         Or hitters are not juiced any more.

        • Dorasaga

          The league has been after PEDs since 2006. I don’t think “juice effect” can last seven years and hurt batting dramatically for three straight years… Factors in consideration: bigger strikezone, less bounce and more slip to the baseball…

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yes, you are very correct. Thus far, this is 1968 again….

  • Neil

    Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 6RBI; Brett Jackson: 1-for-3, 3B, 2BB, 3R, 2K;
    Josh Vitters: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 4RBI, 2R

    Chris Rusin: 1R, 3H, 2BB, 5K in 6IP in Iowa’s 13-2 win Tuesday night

  • bpot92

    Is Bryan LaHair technically a rookie, or has he lost his rookie eligibility ?

    • Tom U

      Bryan LaHair is eligible for Rookie of the Year

      • GaryLeeT

         Then why isn’t he on MLB.coms “Top Rookies Tracker” under the Stats category?

    • Tony_Hall

      Determining rookie status:
      A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in themilitary service and time on the disabled list).

      Lahair is not eligible for ROY.  He had 136 AB’s for Seattle in 2008.

      • cubtex

        I thought that was correct. He has had too many at bats.

  • Henry

    Is it time for Kerry Wood to retire?  Alot of potential, alot of Cub love, and alot of disappointment!  It is time to cut bait! We now what he is going to bring at this time.  There are plenty of young guys in the bullpen that could have done the same thing.  The difference is we are trying to grow them into Major League pitchers.  Wood is done!  This year is all about growing and finding players for next year and the years to come!

    • J Daniel

      Another smart move by Theo and group – really – letting Wood prove he is done.  We all love Kerry but he is done and I am pretty sure Theo and boys knew it.  They were getting bashed when it appeared Kerry was not going to re-sign.  They knew they were not going anywhere this year so it was a good faith move.

      • paulcatanese

        Well now it gets down to the nitty-gritty for Theo and group, they know a decision needs to be made with Wood, touchy to say the least.
        Thats what they get paid the big bucks for, but does not make it any easier, I don’t envy them.

        • John_CC

           While it is certainly a tough decision for Hoyer and Epstein, think about Woody. He knows he’s cooked, he knows that this his last year and he loves the Chicago and the Cubs. He knows what he SHOULD do…but the problem is he is a professional athlete. He is a competitor. He will always think he can right the ship and do better next time, that is who he is.

          Last night someone posted that it’s time for one of the Cubs living “all-time greats” to give him a talk.  I guess that means either Williams or Banks.  It might be the easiest way for everyone involved.  Unfortunately, I feel it’s going to have to Hoyer and Epstein that have to talk him down.  Season ending injury?  But who wants to go out like that?

  • Tony_Hall

    Interesting scouting report on Bryan Lahair….from 2006! 

    • paulcatanese

      Looks good to me, thanks for the post Tony.

    • Cloycub13

      The scouting report that I needed was his first spring training in Cubs camp… Neil posted a picture of the palm trees at Fitch Park and Lahair hit a BOMB that hit the top of the palm trees (It was circled). I will dig in the archives and see if I can find it.

      • Cloycub13

        Can’t find it… but it is in there somewhere. Needless to say it was impressive.

  • cubtex

    Let’s put things in perspective here. Kerry Wood has thrown 4.1 innings so far in 2012. Why would you release him now and continue to eat millions and millions of dollars? He is only signed for this year with a team option for 2013. Give me a break! He signed an incredibly under market contract last year just to come back to the Cubs. Give this guy some time to finish out his career with the Cubs. This team is flawed. They will struggle to score runs against good pitching, they have a below average defense, their bullpen is terrible so lets not pretend that Kerry Wood is the problem on this team.

    • J Daniel

      Agree 100% – but let’s not bash Theo and the boys for allowing Kerry to finish a Cub. 

    • John_CC

       We agree!!!

    • Henry

      I am not bashing Theo and Company.  I am just stating the fact that I believe Wood is done.  He is constantly hurt and he is not very effective.  It is time for a younger player to develop. Lendy Castillo could have given up the 2 runs just as easily.  Had that happened management could have used it as a learning moment.  Lendy Castillo also could have retired the side without giving up a run.  What a boost to his confidence that would have been.  I am just using Castillo as an example here.  The key is develop pieces for next year.  We are not accomplishing anything running Kerry Wood out to the mound!