Game One Hundred Fifteen – Cubs 2 Rockies 10
Rich Hill could not make it through the 5th inning and returned to his previous Major League form. Hill walked 5 and only struck out 2 and gave up 6 runs on 6 hits. Hill had little to no command and threw an incredibly high 96 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, 96 pitches….unbelievable!!! After his last two outings at Wrigley the Cubs had to have liked what they saw but on Friday night in Colorado….the frustration continued.
How can a pitcher that has had so much success at the Triple-A level be so inconsistent at the Major League level? Hill has been just short of brilliant with the I-Cubs and has now showed with the big league club how he is capable of pitching. The talk is that Hill is very stubborn and does not listen, if that is the case the Cubs must find someone that can reach Hill on a consistent basis and allow this very talented pitcher a chance to reach his full potential with the Cubs….and not another organization.
Bottom line….on Friday night the Cubs were shelled by the Rockies….the entire team played to form in 2006. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities early to give Hill a lead to work with but they were unable to and after a rough 1st inning, Hill was not able to get comfortable on the mound. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone but his biggest problem on the night, was a familiar theme….he simply could not throw strikes and get anyone out. While the Cubs as an organization (the I-Cubs have the lowest OBP in the PCL) obviously do not believe in taking walks, ballgame after ballgame, they continue to give them out.
Friday night the Cubs gave the Rockies 7 extra base runners, while the Cubs recorded only 2 and the second was with 2 outs in the 9th. Remember….”walks just crowd the bases”. One of the seven walks was to the pitcher….Aaron Cook, how do you walk a pitcher? Novoa walked Aaron Cook, he looked clueless at the plate when Rich Hill struck him out on 3 straight pitches earlier in the game….this is not the American League, throw strikes, retire the 8th and 9th hitters and quit wasting pitches and creating situations later in ballgames that help the opposition. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!
As good as the bullpen as been, they were due for an off night and Friday was it. Before Friday, Michael Wuertz had a 0.87 ERA since his last call-up and the league was hitting .114 against him. He allowed Hill’s final run to score on a double by Ryan Spilborghs and gave up a run of his own on a single by Luis Gonzalez (not the former Cub, the other one). Novoa WALKED THE PITCHER and Scott Eyre gave up 3 runs in the 8th off of 2 home runs. Eyre left both balls out over the plate, one was a line drive to left by Choo Freeman and the other was a 2-run shot to center by pinch hitter, Jason Smith….his first home run at Coors Field.
The Cubs left 8 on base, all in the first 6 innings, did not record a hit in the last 3 innings and 5 of the 8 were left on base in scoring position when the game was still within reach. Jacque Jones hit his 19th home run of the season in the 6th and John Mabry singled home Angel Pagan in the 4th for the other run on the night.
Angel Guzman is scheduled to be recalled from Iowa to start on Saturday night….the Cubs will start three rookies in this series and hopefully the next two will out perform Rich Hill.