Cubs Offense Delivers Another Loss – Cubs 2, Nationals 4

Game One Hundred Twenty-Five – Cubs 2, Nationals 4

WP – Dan Haren (8-11) LP – Chris Rusin (2-3) Save – Rafael Soriano (32)

On a night with the wind blowing out, the Cubs managed only a pair of solo home runs and dropped game two to the Nationals.

The Nationals just kept on hitting and hitting and hitting on Tuesday night and finally pulled away in the ninth inning. The Nationals scored four runs on 14 hits and Cubs pitching issued seven walks with only four strikeouts.

Chris Rusin was hit pretty hard and gave up two runs on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The Nationals put the leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings against Rusin and eight of the nine innings on the night. Rusin got away with several hard hit balls and was able to limit the damage. Rusin threw 81 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Blake Parker and Pedro Strop kept the Nationals off the board but James Russell and Kevin Gregg gave up a pair of runs in the ninth. Gregg really struggled with his command. Gregg allowed an inherited runner to score and gave up a run of his own on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning.

Cubs pitching did not record a clean 1-2-3 inning on the night.

Brian Bogusevic (1-for-4 with a home run) tied the game at one in the fourth with his first home run in a Cubs’ uniform and Donnie Murphy (2-for-4 with a home run and a double) added a solo homer in the ninth off Rafael Soriano that cut the Nationals lead to 4-2. Murphy has hit a career-high seven home runs in just 14 games.

Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) reached base three times on Tuesday thanks to errors by Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman. But he did not score a single run. Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with a strikeout and four runners left on base) continued his struggles with runners on base.

Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4) and Darwin Barney (1-for-4) managed the Cubs other two hits.

A day after scoring 11 runs, the Cubs scored two runs on six hits on Tuesday night and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while leaving six men on base.

The Cubs have scored 13 runs over the first two games of the series … and 12 of those runs have scored on seven home runs.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 17 games under .500 with a 54-71 record.

Bryce Harper pulled Chris Rusin’s second pitch of the game into right for a single. Ian Desmond then hit a tailor-made double play ball to second. Barney fielded the ball cleanly, but had to wait for Castro to get to the bag. Castro was pulled over toward the hole. Castro then appeared to lose the grip on the ball when he tried to throw to first. Castro put the ball in his pocket and Desmond took over at first.

Ryan Zimmerman pulled a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner. Desmond scored standing and kicked the ball out of Castillo’s glove. Zimmerman went to third on the error with one out. Chris Rusin walked Jayson Werth to put runners on the corners with one down. Wilson Ramos rapped into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Rusin threw 12 pitches in the first, six for strikes.

Junior Lake reached on an error by Ian Desmond to start the Cubs’ first. Darwin Barney could not get the bunt down and flied out to left (1-2 pitch). Lake took off for second on Haren’s first pitch to Rizzo. Lake swiped second but held when Rizzo flied out to shallow right. A wild pitch on the first offering to Schierholtz allowed Lake to move up ninety feet. Schierholtz struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Nationals jumped on Chris Rusin to start the second inning. Tyler Moore ripped a 1-2 pitch back up the middle and into center to start the inning. Anthony Rendon followed with a double into the right field corner. Scott Hairston stepped in with runners on second and third with no outs. Hairston tapped a 1-0 pitch in front of the plate. Castillo picked up the ball and threw out his former teammate for the first out. Rusin struck out Dan Haren swinging and Bryce Harper tapped the first pitch he saw right back to Rusin to end the inning. Rusin did a good job of pitching out of the jam and needed 29 pitches, 18 for strikes, to complete two frames on Tuesday night.

Donnie Murphy led off the second with a double to left center. Bogusevic worked a full count before grounding out to first. Murphy advanced to third with one out. Haren struck out Castillo swinging (2-2 pitch) then retired Castro on a flyout to right (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Haren threw 39 pitches, 25 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Chris Rusin faced the minimum in the third after giving up a leadoff single to Ian Desmond. Zimmerman lined into a 5-3 double play and Werth flied out to left for the third out. Rusin was hit pretty hard in the third but kept the Nationals off the board … 39 pitches for Rusin after three, 23 for strikes.

Junior Lake doubled down the left field line (3-2 pitch) with one out in the third. Barney flied out to center and Scott Hairston made a sliding catch near the line in left to take away a hit from Anthony Rizzo to end the inning. The Cubs made Haren work … 56 pitches for Haren after three, 38 for strikes. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with RISP and left three men on base in their first three at bats.

Rusin pitched his way around the Nationals’ fourth leadoff single in four innings. Wilson Ramos reached on a swinging bunt to the third base side of the mound. Rusin struck out Moore swinging. Anthony Rendon hit a weak grounder to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball cleanly and threw out Ramos at second. Barney dropped the ball in the exchange, but it would not have mattered. Rendon took over at first with two down. Rusin picked off Rendon to end the inning. Rusin threw 53 pitches, 33 for strikes, over four innings.

Schierholtz struck out swinging and Murphy grounded out to third for the first two outs in the fourth.

Brian Bogusevic stepped in and lifted a 2-2 pitch into the wind. The ball ended up in the bleachers in right center and Bogusevic’s first homer as a Cub tied the game at one. Castillo grounded out to third to end the inning. Haren threw 70 pitches, 48 for strikes, over four innings.

Chris Rusin issued a two-out walk to Harper in the fifth … but that was all. Rusin needed 68 pitches, 41 for strikes, to complete five frames on Tuesday night.

The Cubs wasted a chance to take the lead in the fifth. Junior Lake reached on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the first then went to third on a single to right center by Darwin Barney. Haren caught Anthony Rizzo looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. Haren threw 89 pitches, 63 for strikes, over the first five innings.

The Nationals took the lead in the sixth after Ryan Zimmerman doubled to center to start the inning. Jayson Werth followed with a single to right and put runners on the corner with no outs for Wilson Ramos.

Ramos lined a 2-1 pitch to Barney for the first out. Tyler Moore pulled Rusin’s first pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball but threw low to second. Barney could not catch the ball. Werth stumbled and Barney tagged him for the second out as Zimmerman scored the go ahead run. Anthony Rendon singled to center. With runners on first and second with two down, Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Blake Parker with Scott Hairston due up.

Davey Johnson countered with Adam LaRoche. Blake Parker jumped ahead of LaRoche then started shaking off Castillo. LaRoche worked a full count then Parker put him on and loaded the bases for Dan Haren. Parker retired Haren on a grounder to short for the third out.

Nate Schierholtz led off the Cubs’ sixth with a single to right … but he did not advance. The Cubs were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base over their first six at bats.

The game remained 2-1 Nationals through the seventh and into the eighth inning.

Pedro Strop made his first appearance in a week and Wilson Ramos greeted him with a double into the gap in right center. Denard Span bunted Ramos to third. Anthony Rendon popped out to Barney for the second out. Strop then walked LaRoche to put runners on the corners with one down. Chad Tracy hit for Drew Storen and flied out to left to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Tyler Clippard in the eighth.

The Nationals added onto their lead against James Russell and Kevin Gregg in the ninth … and put the game away. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a double to the corner in right off James Russell. Dale Sveum went to his pen for Kevin Gregg.

Ian Desmond plated Harper with a single to right. Castillo then threw out Desmond trying to steal second for the first out with Zimmerman at the plate. Gregg walked Zimmerman and Jayson Werth to put runners on first and second with one down. Gregg caught Ramos looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Denard Span singled to center (2-2 pitch) and plated Zimmerman with the Nationals fourth run. With runners on second and third with two down, Sveum went back to his pen for Michael Bowden. Rendon fouled out to Rizzo to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 4-1.

Donnie Murphy greeted Rafael Soriano with a homer into the bleachers in left center … and cut the Nationals lead to 4-2. But Soriano retired Bogusevic (strikeout), Castillo (strikeout) and Castro (flyout to right) in order to end the game.

Jake Arrieta faces Ross Ohlendorf on Wednesday night.

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    If they see Strop as a future closer lets get on with it.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I would agree. Why let Gregg pitch when you plan to let him
      leave via FA.

    • cubtex

      Unlike you….I don’t think Strop would succeed as a closer. It takes more than stuff to succeed in that roll. That being said….I agree with you. Now is the time to experiment with him there. With the team not competing, who cares if he blows a couple of saves…at least it won’t cost them much and you are able to evaluate him in that role.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The starting pitching has kept us in games. The offense
    has been very poor. This is good! Let’s get that draft pick!

    BTW Scott Hairston hasn’t made much improvement.
    He’s still hitting .179. In fact, Washington only has given him
    35 AB, and he’s hitting .212 for them with 0 HR and 0 RBI (.303 slug).
    He hit .172 for us with 8 HR and .434 slug.

  • Ripsnorter1

    James Russell:
    Look at these OBP splits:

    April…..162
    May……300
    June…..412
    July……414
    Aug……045 plus last night’s 1 BF, 1 H allowed

    • GaryLeeT

      These days, he’s a left only no out guy.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I agree. They should have traded him.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Junior Lake:
    Hmmmmm. Take out his first week, and here’s what you get:

    Last 28 days:
    .265 BA…..306 OBP…..392 slug
    Now that’s fairly close to his MiL numbers, and about what you can/should expect
    from Jr. Lake, I suspect.

    His last 14 days:
    .295 BA….368 OBP….409 slug
    That’s pretty decent out of your CF.

    2 SB….3 CS

    LH/RH Splits:
    RHP…..267 BA….315 OBP….419 slug
    LHP……421 BA….436 OBP….605 slug

    • 07GreyDigger

      I agree again Rip! Everyone’s been saying he’s been playing great, but you have to look past the total numbers and see how he’s really been playing. He’s a great super sub, but not a starter.

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