Berken Rocked … Cubs Blanked – Cubs 0, Rockies 6

Game One Hundred Fifty-Five – Cubs 0, Rockies 6
WP – Drew Pomeranz (2-9) LP – Jason Berken (0-2) Save – None

The Cubs took another step toward cementing the second pick in next June’s draft on Wednesday night. The Cubs were shut out at Coors Field and for the second night in a row they lost a game that was put into a rain delay following the top of the seventh inning.

The Cubs dropped to 0-15 on the road this season versus teams in the NL West after Jason Berken put the Cubs in a hole that the offense could not dig out of on Wednesday night.

The Cubs offense was pretty much a no show on Wednesday and another “brain fart” on the bases led to another shutout. The Cubs managed only five hits, two for extra bases, and five walks. Dave Sappelt (2-for-4 with a double) collected a pair of hits and should have driven in the Cubs’ lone run. With runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh, Sappelt pulled a 0-1 pitch to deep left. Josh Vitters (1-for-4) tagged from third but Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) tagged from second. Charlie Blackmon threw to third and Chris Nelson applied the tag on Mather before Vitters crossed the plate.

The Cubs finished the game 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners on base.

For as bad as the offense was on Wednesday night, Jason Berken was worse. Berken struggled with his command and his upper 80s fastball was belt high or above throughout his short outing. Berken lasted only four innings and gave up six runs, all earned, on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Berken threw 73 pitches, 45 for strikes, and three of the Rockies nine hits went for extra bases … including a double by Drew Pomeranz. Berken should have only one more start in a Cubs’ uniform.

Lendy Castillo made his first appearance since the Bryce Harper game on September 6 and tossed two innings of scoreless ball. Castillo, pitching from the stretch, retired the side in order in the fifth and worked out of a second and third, one out jam in the sixth without allowing any runs. Castillo did not surrender a hit, walked two and uncorked a wild pitch. Castillo threw 29 pitches, 17 for strikes.

Michael Bowden took over after the rain delay and pitch two scoreless innings.

The Rockies scored six runs on 10 hits with four walks. Tyler Colvin (2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) and D.J. LeMahieu (2-for-3 with a walk) made their point to the Cubs’ brass for the second game in a row.

Darwin Barney (0-for-4) did not commit an error for the 140th straight game.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 59-96 on the season with seven games remaining on the schedule …

The Cubs did nothing in the first inning. Drew Pomeranz set down the side in order on nine pitches, six for strikes.

The Rockies picked up Wednesday night where they left off on Tuesday. Jason Berken could not find the strike zone and when he did the Rockies squared off on him. Josh Rutledge grounded out to third to start the inning. Berken then issued a four-pitch walk to Charlie Blackmon and missed on his first two offerings to Jordan Pacheco … six straight balls. Pacheco was sitting on a 2-1 fastball (89 mph) and ripped it into left. Blackmon scored all the way from first on Pacheco’s 30th double of the season. Wilin Rosario grounded out to the hole at short. Pacheco advanced to third and trotted home when Tyler Colvin ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Chris Nelson followed with a single over Barney’s head in right center (1-2 pitch). Colvin advanced to third with two down. Jason Berken struck out Andrew Brown swinging (0-2 pitch) to end the inning. Jason Berken labored through a 25-pitch first inning (15 for strikes) and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk.

Alfonso Soriano flied out to right (2-0 pitch) to start the second. Starlin Castro walked on four pitches. Welington Castillo followed and drove a 3-2 pitch into center for the Cubs first hit of the game. Castro held at second with one out. Josh Vitters grounded out weakly to second. LeMahieu had only one play and it was to first. Castro and Castillo advanced to second and third with two down. The Rockies pitched to Joe Mather and in the end it cost Pomeranz four pitches. Mather walked (3-2 pitch) on the eighth pitch of the at bat to load the bases. Berken chopped a 1-2 pitch up the first baseline. Pomeranz fielded the ball and tagged Berken to end the inning … 39 pitches for Pomeranz after two, 21 for strikes.

D.J. LeMahieu lashed a 1-1 pitch into left for a single to start the second inning. Pomeranz could not advance LeMahieu and fouled off a bunt attempt on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Berken uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Josh Rutledge. Welington Castillo did an excellent job of blocking the ball and keeping it in front of him. Castillo picked up the ball and threw a strike to Barney, who tagged out LeMahieu for the second out. Rutledge grounded out to Castro to end the inning. Berken needed 38 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings on Wednesday night.

After two complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0 and were being outhit 4-1.

Dave Sappelt reached on an infield single to start the third. Sappelt grounded a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that Rutledge fielded but his throw to first was off the mark and pulled Pacheco off the bag. Darwin Barney stuck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Sappelt advanced to second on the wild pitch. Anthony Rizzo hit a smash toward first on a 0-1 pitch. Pacheco kept the ball in front of him and beat Rizzo to the base. Sappelt advanced to third with two down. Pomeranz appeared to pitch around Soriano and walked him on five pitches. With runners on first and third with two down, Starlin Castro tapped a 0-2 pitch back to Pomeranz to end the inning … 61 pitches for Pomeranz after three, 35 for strikes. The Cubs were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five on base in their first two at bats.

Charlie Blackmon led off the third with his second longball of the season. Blackmon launched a 1-1 pitch to the second deck beyond the right field wall. Jordan Pacheco ripped Berken’s first pitch into left for a single as rain began to fall. Berken continued to struggle and walked Wilin Rosario. Tyler Colvin lined Berken’s first pitch into left … and the bases were loaded with no outs. Chris Nelson then drove a 1-1 pitch into right. Pacheco and Rosario scored, 5-0 Rockies. Colvin advanced to third with still no outs. Andrew Brown rapped into a 5-4-3 double play, Colvin scored and the Rockies took a 6-0 lead. The Cubs finally retired LeMahieu. Berken struck him out to end the inning. Berken threw 61 pitches over three innings, 37 for strikes.

After three complete, the Cubs trailed 6-0 and were being outhit 8-2.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Pomeranz threw 71 pitches, 43 for strikes, in the first four innings.

Jason Berken stayed into start the fourth and Drew Pomeranz drove a 1-2 pitch into right center. The ball one-hopped the wall and Pomeranz ended up at second with a double (second two-bagger of the season). Josh Rutledge hit a bullet (1-2 pitch) right to Castro for the first out. Charlie Blackmon tapped back to the mound and Jordan Pacheco grounded out to third to end the inning … Josh Vitters made a nice diving stop and threw out Pacheco at first. Berken threw 73 pitches, 45 for strikes, in four innings on Wednesday night.

Anthony Recker hit for Jason Berken to start the fifth and lined out to left. Dave Sappelt drove a 3-2 pitch to right. The ball one-hopped the wall and Sappelt ended up at second. Darwin Barney grounded out to second, Sappelt advanced to third but Rizzo grounded out to LeMahieu (again) to end the inning. Drew Pomeranz threw 84 pitches, 51 for strikes, in his five innings of work on Wednesday night.

Lendy Castillo made his first appearance since September 6 and set down the side in order in the fifth.

The Cubs did nothing against Alex White in the sixth.

Lendy Castillo stayed in for the sixth. Castillo walked Andrew Brown to start the inning. Brown swiped second on a 0-1 pitch to LeMahieu. Castillo uncorked a wild pitch on his next offering to LeMahieu. Brown advanced to third and Sveum brought his infield in. LeMahieu ended of walking and the Rockies had runners on first and third with no outs. Alex White bunted LeMahieu to second. Sveum brought his infield back in with runners on second and third and Josh Rutledge stepped to the plate.

Josh Rutledge hit a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. Starlin Castro made an excellent short-hop pick and threw home. Welington Castillo applied the tag for the second out. With runners on first and second with two down, Charlie Blackmon grounded out to second to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs trailed 6-0 and were being outhit 9-4.

Josh Vitters led off the seventh with a bloop single to right. Joe Mather followed and pulled a 1-0 pitch to left. Vitters advanced to third on Mather’s double and Sveum sent up Bryan LaHair to hit for Lendy Castillo. LaHair struck out swinging (1-2 pitch).

Dave Sappelt pulled a 0-1 pitch to deep left. Charlie Blackmon caught the ball. Vitters tagged from third, but Mather tagged from second as well. Blackmon threw to third, Nelson caught the ball and tagged Mather before Vitters crossed the plate … double play, inning over, no runs and another “brain fart” for the Chicago Cubs.

Shortly after Mather’s ridiculous baserunning gaffe, Jim Joyce put the game into rain delay and the grounds crew rolled out the tarp.

Michael Bowden took the hill for the bottom of the seventh after a one hour and 24-minute rain delay. Bowden was sharp and if not for Welington Castillo being charged with catcher’s interference on a 2-2 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Bowden would have retired the side in order. Bowden collected three outs on 14 pitches, 11 for strikes.

After a long rain delay and seven innings of play, the Cubs trailed 6-0.

Rob Scahill took over for the Rockies in the eighth and struck out Darwin Barney swinging (0-2 pitch) for the first out. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk. Alfonso Soriano lined a 1-0 pitch into right. Andrew Brown dropped the ball and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out … but Starlin Castro pulled the first pitch he saw toward third. Chris Nelson started the around-the-horn double play to end the inning.

Michael Bowden stayed in for the eighth and struck out Andrew Brown to start the inning. D.J. LeMahieu followed with a single to center, his fifth hit of the series (5-for-6). Rob Scahill bunted LeMahieu to second for Josh Rutledge. Bowden struck out Rutledge swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down by a touchdown …

Rob Scahill walked Welington Castillo to start the ninth but Josh Vitters grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Joe Mather tapped a 0-2 pitch back to the mound to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Jhoulys Chacin on Thursday afternoon in the series and season series finale with the Rockies.

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Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • cubtex

    Dale Sveum….”Went 30 years without seeing it but unfortunately had to see it twice in last 2 weeks.” ???? This guy is clueless! He is not being evaluated on wins and losses. The team has continued to make baserunning mistake after baserunning mistake. He has done an awful job of handling the bullpen. His bunting contest in spring training was a huge waste of time. His platoon lineups were extremely unsuccessful. He did a terrible job with LaHair,Vitters and others. What is this guy being evaluated on? What has this guy done well?

    • Aaron

      I have to admit that I was perplexed to say the least about the hiring of Sveum. Honestly, I believe they either wanted Mike Maddux, or someone from the Red Sox that they knew, and Sveum fit that bill. Had they got their first choice (again, I’m guessing here that Maddux was their first choice), I believe their end goal in mind was to convince Greg to be his brother’s pitching coach….maybe I’m wrong. In my opinion, 1 of 2 things happened. Either…
      a) Mike realized the Cubs weren’t poised to win for at least 3 years, and he loved winning with the Rangers, or…

      b) Greg was reluctant to be the pitching coach, so the Cubs moved on, as he was the key to hiring Mike

      I think Greg’s decision to go to the Rangers immediately after their decision with Mike makes option “b” a lot more likely.

      I also was a little upset that Epstein didn’t even give Sandberg an interview. I think he would’ve found more “Phillies Way” which would be the anti-thesis of how the Cubs were playing at that time, and certainly much closer to how the Red Sox operated. I understand that Theo wanted to distance themselves from the losing of the past, and that was also pretty evident with their reluctance to sign Kerry Wood right off the bat. So I understand why they might’ve lumped Sandberg in with the past losing, and they probably realized that they might have to fire him, which might cause an uprising in the fan base, but Sandberg was clearly the guy for the job if Girardi wasn’t a FA…which he wasn’t.

      All you had to do with Sandberg was listen to how the minor league guys talked about him. They all respected him and were taught to play the game the right way. Look at what he did with Barney for crying out loud.

      Initially, I thought Sveum might’ve been a good choice, with his no-nonsense approach in Spring Training, and emphasis on playing the young guys, building from within. It turns out he was all talk. From relying on veterans, to double-talk with veteran errors vs young player errors, etc. It’s all a clusterf$$$ right now.

      How can Sveum bench guys like Vitters, Castillo, and berate Castro, when he can’t do the same with guys like Soriano, Valbuena, DeWitt (when he was still with the team), and even Rizzo?

      The double-talk is what gets you in trouble with players. They see the favoritism, and look less favorably on you, and do not play as hard for you….I don’t care who you are…it just happens. You’re dealing with young players that want to make a living, and you’re screwing with them.

      I don’t know what the future will look like, but in my opinion, guys like Dolis, Vitters, Campana, LaHair, etc. will likely be gone, and he’ll give Jackson, Valbuena, Volstad, T Wood, etc. all the leeway in the world to win spots.

      The last few months of the season, it’s like we’re literally watching a replay of Quade. I loathed how he managed a game, and slowly but surely, I am getting there with Sveum too.

      • cubtex

        well said!

      • Brp921

        I agree. They should have promoted Sandberg.

    • paulcatanese

      Cubtex, look on the bright side,not many managers are as
      consistant as he is, they win once in a while.
      And Ozzie may become available to keep it going in the same direction:)

      • cubtex

        not many are responding to him. It is obvious. He is an extremely poor field manager and motivator.

    • roseyc

      I agree with you 100%. I don’t see any difference with him and Quade. He doesn’t make stupid statements like Quade and false hope. His bullpen choices and lineups are mystifying. He’s gone too long with some and not long enough on others with lineups. I still think Castro needs to be moved to third. 25 errors is not good at any stage of learning or growth. Also since there aren’t a whole lot of good third basemens in baseball period. Plus the Cubs system has plenty of shortstops. Agreed with the bunting analogy. The team doesn’t bunt well and he doesn’t know how to use it properly. Now granted the Cubs have talent defiencies and they will get beat on talent alone but in close games he doesn’t outmanaged the opposition. His strategy is based on what he is being told to do much like Quade.Soriano is better overall but I don’t give Sveum a whole lot of credit for that. I think Theo and Co.decided to make him a more tradeable product.

      • brent carmona

        Quade lost the clubhouse and did not have respect from the players. No way dale is like quade, maybe with the ‘vet’ lineups i can see that but being that vitters/bjax are overmatched he doesn’t hae a choice

  • cubtex

    Former Cub prospect Adam Greenberg(who was hit by a pitch in the head in his only mlb at bat) is going to get an at bat with the Marlins this year. Good for him! It would have been a good move for the Cubs to do this(especially this year) but I am happy for him regardless.