Game Fifty-Two – Cubs 5 Braves 8
WP – Kyle Davies (3-3) LP – Carlos Zambrano (5-5) Save – None
Another day and another drama for the Chicago Cubs….just when the Faithful thought this season had reached its lowest point, along came Friday afternoon at Wrigley. The Cubs made several poor defensive plays before a passed ball and a throwing error by Michael Barrett apparently pushed Carlos Zambrano over the edge. Zambrano had a horrible day on the mound and after the conclusion of the 5th inning Zambrano and Barrett exchanged words and then punches, not just once but twice. After coaches and teammates separated Zambrano and Barrett in the dugout, round two took place in the clubhouse with several reports stating Barrett ended his day in the hospital receiving stitches for cuts to his mouth sustained in the fight in the clubhouse.
The Cubs did score 4 of their 5 runs on the day in the final two innings of the game. Derrek Lee hit his 5th home run of the season in the 4th inning. Aramis Ramirez and Jacque Jones hit homeruns to close the gap but with the fight in the dugout between Zambrano and Barrett, the game became meaningless after the 5th inning. Lou Piniella stated in his post-game press conference that both players would be disciplined on Saturday and ended his press conference by saying…. “I only have so many players I can play and it’s about time some of them started playing like major-leaguers. Or get somebody else in here who can catch the damn ball or run the bases properly.” Carlos Zambrano had a birthday that neither him nor the Faithful will soon forget and another chapter can be added to the infamous history of the Chicago Cubs. Zambrano did not receive any help from his defense. Ryan Theriot lost a ball in the sun to start the game. Matt Murton dropped a routine fly ball. Alfonso Soriano misplayed a ball in left, although he did throw out Jeff Francoeur at the plate in the 4th for his 6th outfield assist of the year. Jacque Jones misplayed a ball in center and proceeded to throw the ball into the ground. Aramis Ramirez could not turn a would be inning ending double play in the 1st inning….but Carlos Zambrano is a Major League pitcher and should not react the way he does seemingly every time something does not go the way he thinks it should. Zambrano and Barrett blew up and maybe this will light a fire under this team and get them playing the way they should be.
There are always three sides to every story and unfortunately for the Cubs no one can be right this time. Derrek Lee said after the game, “I do not know what we are right now. We are a bad team. We have to do something different. Obviously the meeting did not work, you can only talk so much.” Everyone on this team is incredibly frustrated….
Before the 5th inning Zambrano had thrown 70 pitches and had not been sharp. He faced the minimum in the 3rd but allowed hits in every inning he pitched with most coming with two strike counts. The Cubs closed the gap to 2-1 in the 4th and then Zambrano walked Edgar Renteria on 4 pitches to start the 5th inning. Brian McCann singled to right and Andruw Jones lined out to Ramirez for the first out of the inning. Jeff Francoeur doubled to left center (1-2 pitch), Jacque Jones took a bad route on the ball and threw the ball into the ground that allowed McCann to score from 1st. Scott Thorman walked….Zambrano’s second walk of the inning. Pete Orr singled to left but Soriano threw Francoeur out at the plate. With Kyle Davies at the plate, Zambrano and Barrett had communication problems. Barrett was set up outside, the ball went in and the passed ball allowed Thorman to move to third but Barrett tried to throw out Thorman at 3rd, the throw was wide and went into left. Davies then doubled over the head of Murton, Zambrano was just serving it up at this point. Kelly Johnson doubled to right to score Davis and close the book on Zambrano….5 innings pitched, 13 hits, 7 runs, 6 earned, 2 walks and no strikeouts on 97 pitches.
Saturday is a new day and hopefully a new beginning.
Rich Hill will take the mound and likely throw to Koyie Hill while Barrett recovers from his injuries. A report on ESPN Friday night stated Barrett also had a black eye. The Cubs will attempt to get back in the win column against Chuck James.