Game One Hundred Forty-Three – Cubs 1 Braves 2
The Cubs had hits in the first 8 innings but were unable to plate any of those base runners. The Cubs only run of the day came on a solo shot, line drive, off the bat of Freddie Bynum in the 6th. The Cubs had chances in the 7th and 8th to tie the game but were unable to bail out Juan Mateo who pitched a very good game.
Mateo allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings of work but was unable to record the 3rd out in the 6th inning and back-to-back opposite field doubles with 2 outs by Adam LaRoche and Brian McCann was the difference in the game. David Aardsma was perfect in relief and struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. The Cubs cannot manufacture runs; they struck out 15 times on the afternoon and did not walk once. Juan Mateo gave the Cubs a quality start and pitched good enough to win, the offense could not string together any hits and have not figured out how to hit to the opposite field….143 games in the season. Cormier kept painting the outside corner on everyone except for Jacque Jones but the Cubs just kept trying to pull the outside pitch….and that is not going to happen. All the offense did was make a mediocre, at best, pitcher look like another Cy Young candidate. Come on, 10 strikeouts against a pitcher that only struck out 10 total in 3 games in August (13 2/3 innings, 2 starts, 1 relief appearance). The Cubs refuse to recognize what the opposition is doing, make adjustments and figure out how to win the game….just pathetic.
The offense recorded 3 doubles, not one scored, not one advanced and left Henry Blanco on 3rd after leading off the 7th with a triple. Ronny Cedeno, who has been hitting better of late, struck out. Scott Moore, pinch hitting for Mateo, grounded out on the first pitch he saw….the first pitch, he had been sitting on the bench the entire day, never faced Cormier, yet he swung at the first pitch….how does he expect to be successful? And Juan Pierre struck out to end the inning.
There was a scary moment in the game. In the 2nd inning, Matt Diaz hit a liner up the middle that went off the pitching hand of Mateo. Mateo, a la Carlos Zambrano, stuck out his bare hand and attempted to catch the ball, it deflected to Cedeno who recorded the out. Mateo stayed in the game and was fine. Also, Freddie Bynum and Ronny Cedeno turned a double play, it was not pretty but it was a double play that saved a run later in the inning.
The Cubs will stay in the ATL and try to salvage the last game of the series on Monday night. Rich Hill against John Smoltz, it should be a very good pitching match-up.