Game One Hundred Fifty-Seven – Cubs 4 Reds 5
That is the only condolence this site can give the Faithful…. The bullpen blew another lead on Monday afternoon in Cincinnati. It looked like for a while the Cubs were going to hand the Reds their 13th shutout of the season. They scored 4 unearned runs in the 1st inning off of Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miller threw 5 shutout innings….he allowed just 3 hits. But the inability to retire the side, more 2-out walks and as Dusty called it “a tired bullpen”, the Reds scored 5 runs in the 7th and 8th to take the final game of the series. Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a pinch hit, 3-run homer in the 8th off of Scott Eyre, that was the difference in the game. Griffey had not played in a game in nearly 3 weeks.
Wade Miller was very effective although after the game he said (from Cubs.com):
“It was all right,” Miller said of his outing. “I didn’t feel particularly that well. I was able to go out there and get outs and that’s all I can ask for.”
He held the Reds to just 3 hits through 5 innings and pitched well enough to win. The bullpen of Novoa, Aardsma, Ohman, Wuertz and Eyre gave up 5 runs on 2 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts and the home run to Griffey….that line tells it all. The Cubs scored all of their 4 runs in the 1st off of Arroyo, they made him work. He threw 43 of his 113 pitches in the 1st inning alone but the rest of the afternoon they made it way to easy. Juan Pierre singled (he recorded 2 hits on the day to take his season total to 196) and with 1-out Aramis Ramirez walked. Matt Murton reached on an error by Rich Aurilia to load the bases. Angel Pagan hit back to Arroyo, Ross could not handle the throw and Pierre scored. Ramirez scored on a ground out to 1st by John Mabry and Henry Blanco singled to left to score Murton and Pagan. Arroyo intentionally walked Ronny Cedeno and Wade Miller struck out swinging to end the inning.
Arroyo finished the day after the 7th, he gave up 4 runs, all unearned, on 4 hits, walked 2 (one intentional) and struck out 5. The Cubs have now scored just 1 earned run on Arroyo in the last 29 innings. The Cubs managed just 1 more hit and walk all afternoon.
Wade Miller was effective, as stated, despite throwing 86 pitches and only 44 strikes. The Cubs outfield recorded 9 putouts while he was on the mound and of the 15 outs he recorded 2 were strikeouts, 12 fly outs and only 1 ground out. The Reds made it very easy for Miller and while he was on the mound, it was very routine. Roberto Novoa took over for Miller in the 6th and threw a perfect inning. David Aardsma retired the first two batters he faced in the 7th, then gave up back-to-back walks before being replaced by Will Ohman. Ohman walked the only batter he faced and Michael Wuertz gave up a single to right off the bat of Rich Aurilia to plate Olmedo and Denorfia. Scott Eyre struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning….he was booed as he walked back to the dugout.
Eyre took the hill again in the 8th and retired Edwin Encarnacion to start the inning. Eyre walked Brandon Phillips, gave up a pinch hit single to Norris Hopper before striking out David Ross. Griffey then stepped to the plate and hit his 27th of the season into the right field bleachers, number 563 of his Hall of Fame career that tied him for 10th on the All-Time list with Reggie Jackson.
The 2-out walks and ineffectiveness of the pen cost the Cubs again. While Dusty was right in the fact his bullpen is tired….so are his excuses. It would be better for him to say, “My guys blew the game.” But instead, and up to the very end, he continues to make those (blank) excuses.
The Cubs will stumble home to finish the nightmarish season. They have just 5 left….2 against the Brewers and 3 against the Rockies with a day off in between. It would be nice see them win their last 5….something they have not done all season. Sean Marshall is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday night against one of the Brewers very exciting rookie pitchers, Carlos Villanueva.