Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight – Cubs 0 Cardinals 2
Shutout….again. The Cubs could not figure out Jeff Suppan and recorded only 5 hits in 8 innings, it was Suppan’s second longest outing of the season. The Cubs actually recorded only 1 clean hit, Chris Duncan misplayed 3 balls in left that resulted in doubles and the 4th hit was an infield single. The offense could not get going and when they did have runners on, they could not get them in….the Cubs were clogging those bases again.
Juan Mateo took another tough loss; he pitched a good game despite giving up 10 hits. Mateo threw a lot of pitches and was behind most of the hitters he faced but he allowed only 2 runs, 1 earned and pitched out of trouble all night. Mateo should have 3 wins this season, he has pitched that effectively, but a no-decision against the Astros and Friday night’s close loss to the Cardinals has left him with a losing record. A team cannot win a game on 5 hits and 3 walks (those pesky walks that clog bases) although 3 of their hits were doubles, thanks to Chris Duncan….horrible defense on Friday night. The Cubs continue to make mediocre to average pitchers look like Cy Young candidates. Their aggressiveness led to an 8-pitch 2nd inning and a 9-pitch 6th and 7th innings for Suppan….18 pitches 6 outs that is very effective. The Cubs will not make pitchers work despite the fact that other teams do that to them….can the Cubs coaching staff and management not see this? This team under Dusty Baker will never improve their OBP….please note that stands for ON-BASE PERCENTAGE, something the Cubs cannot do….get ON-BASE. Beside the fact when you can make a pitcher work deep in a count the more likely he is to make a mistake.
Take your pick on which was worse….the offense or the defense. While the Cubs could not score their lackadaisical defense led to both runs for the Cardinals. Chris Duncan led off the 3rd with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out by Pujols and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Scott Rolen. The fly out was not deep and right in front of Jacque Jones, Jones just-kinda-went-after-the-ball, caught it and Duncan tagged, Jones did not put himself in a position to make a strong throw, the throw was weak and up the line….Duncan scored.
The second run of the game came after an error by Aramis Ramirez, his 10th of the season and another….kinda-dive-after-the-ball-after-it-has-already-gone-into-left-field, play. Scott Rolen reached on the error by Ramirez in the 5th and scored on a single to left by Juan Encarnacion. While Ramirez has played a very solid 3rd base this season, he clearly had a bad night. Jacque Jones on the other hand, while he has made some very good plays in the field and has a solid year at the plate, for the most part his defense, especially his arm, has been one of the problems this season.
The Cardinals did not outplay the Cubs by any stretch; it was in fact, quite a boring game. The Cardinals left 15 on base. The best part of the game was Jim Edmonds striking out 4 times….the Golden Sombrero. The Cardinals are in for a quick trip to the post season, if they make it that far.
Rich Hill is scheduled to face Chris Carpenter on the Fox Game of the Week; it would be a great time for Hill to have a big game on National Television.