Game One Hundred Forty-One – Cubs 4 Braves 8
For the second consecutive game Cubs’ pitching allowed a home run to start the game and eventually surrendered three total on the evening….the difference in the game. Angel Guzman exited with 1-out in the 5th and when he was not serving up gofer balls, he was very sharp and struck out 7 on the night without giving up a single free pass. Tim Hudson was just better and pitched around a bad defensive game.
The Cubs scored 3 runs on 2 hits in the 2nd inning to give them a brief lead but could only add a Jacque Jones home run in the 6th the rest of the game. Cubs pitching struck out a total of 12 on the night to go along with 3 walks but half of the Braves hits were for extra bases. Guzman is still winless in his big league career and the Cubs have hit a new season low….29 games below .500 and 15 short of 100 losses, only the Kansas City Royals have more losses in the Major Leagues. The Cubs have not beaten the Braves in Atlanta since the 2004 season and if they keep giving up an estimated total of 1300′ worth of long balls they could be looking at another season series sweep. Marcus Giles started the home run parade to leadoff the game for the Braves, Guzman did settle down and struck out 2 of the next 3 batters he faced, he got out of the 1st and showed a tremendous amount of composure. Could Angel Guzman be tipping his pitches? It seems like during Friday night’s game and in his start against the Pirates the hitters were waiting on the fastball from Guzman and when he threw it….they were waiting for it and simply killed the ball, Friday was more of the same. Guzman has the stuff but the question remains could he better suited out of the pen instead in the starting rotation?
The Cubs scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning off of just 2 hits. They also walked twice in the inning (those pesky walks) and received 2 gifts from the Braves. Jacque Jones walked to lead off the inning, moved to 2nd on a grounder to 3rd off the bat of Matt Murton who was safe at 1st on a throwing error by 3rd baseman Willy Aybar. Ronny Cedeno walked and Geovany Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice by Aybar that should have been a double play….sound familiar? Jones scored. Angel Guzman recorded a swinging bunt single, with 2 outs, again to Aybar and Juan Pierre came through with a big 2-out single to right that scored Cedeno and Soto. Brian McCann dropped the throw from Jeff Francoeur when Soto ran into his mitt.
The Braves added an insurance run without the benefit of a hit in the 8th. Roberto Novoa was on the mound, again, hit Matt Diaz to leadoff the inning. Diaz stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a single by Giles, he was caught in a run down and tagged out by Derrek Lee. Diaz scored on a wild pitch by Novoa and a great slide. Granted Diaz advanced to 3rd on the hit by Giles, he was given a single but the Cubs keep finding ways to give away runs.
The season is almost over and, as previously stated, the players have obviously decided to “mail in” the rest of the season. It has to be hard to go out to the ballpark, play a kid’s game, get paid a lot of money to do so (in most cases millions), under perform and go home….it is a rough life but somebody has to do it.
Wade Miller is scheduled to make his Cub debut on Saturday night in Atlanta. The Cubs need to play a complete game before the season ends.