NLDS – Game Two – Cubs 4 Diamondbacks 8
WP – Doug Davis (1-0) LP – Ted Lilly (0-1) Save – None
Diamondbacks Lead Series, 2-0
Lou Piniella said after Game One there was plenty of baseball left to be played but after his crew’s lackluster performance in Game Two time could be running out. The Cubs were outplayed for the second game in a row by what was supposed to be an experienced Diamondbacks’ team. The Cubs offense has been non-existent and Lou Piniella has not received anything from the players that are supposed to be delivering. The Cubs put runners on base in every inning but came away with only 4 runs. They left 9 on base and recorded only 1 hit with runners in scoring position. Alfonso Soriano added a couple of hits but struck out 3 more times, 4 in the series and is 2-for-10 in the first two games. Aramis Ramirez has yet to record a hit or reach base, 0-for-9. The ‘Big 3′ are 4-for-27 in the series with a walk and a run scored.
Geovany Soto gave the Cubs a brief lead in the 2nd inning with a 2-run shot to left. Soto became the first Cubs’ rookie to hit a home run in the post-season since 1932. Daryle Ward added a pinch-hit double in the 6th that accounted for the Cubs other 2 runs.
The Diamondbacks played another solid game in the field and took away several hits behind Doug Davis. The ‘Crafty Lefty’ once again dominated the Cubs; he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in 5 2/3 innings with 8 strikeouts and 4 walks. The D’Backs played solid fundamental baseball and took advantage of every opportunity the Cubs gave them. Chris Young gave the D’Backs the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning with a 3-run home run off of Ted Lilly. The Diamondbacks scored all 8 of their runs in the first 5 innings.
Ted Lilly picked the wrong time to have his shortest outing of the year. Lilly had little to no control and was over throwing from his first pitch of the game. The typically mild-mannered Lilly even threw his glove to the ground after surrendering the home run to Chris Young, certainly a rare sight to see on a Major League ball field. Lilly lasted on 3 1/3 innings, gave up 6 runs on 7 hits with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.
The Cubs have dug themselves a huge hole in a short series, maybe facing elimination will finally allow this team to relax, have fun and just play baseball. The Cubs, once again, are trying to hard and appear to not be playing with much confidence. They are obviously extremely tight….they are trying to hard to make things happen instead of taking what the Diamondbacks are giving them. Unfortunately it is the same problems that have hurt this team all season but are magnified in the playoffs.
Matt Murton led off the 2nd with an infield hit. Geovany Soto followed with a home run to left and the Cubs appeared to be on their way to a big inning and a nice win. Jacque Jones followed with a 4-pitch walk but Ted Lilly could not lay down a bunt and Alfonso Soriano looked at strike three to end the inning.
Mark DeRosa and Jacque Jones both walked with 2 outs in the 6th. Daryle Ward pinch-hit for Ronny Cedeno who was announced as the pinch hitter for Michael Wuertz. Ward came through with a double over the head of Chris Young in straight away center. Soriano then struck out on 3 pitches to end the inning.
In the 9th, Soriano reached on a 1-out single to center off of Jose Valverde. RyanTheriot appeared to hit a game ending double play but Augie Ojeda dropped the toss from Drew (he took his eyes off the ball while attempting to make a barehanded catch and throw). With runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out, Derrek Lee struck out. The runners advanced on a passed ball by Chris Snyder. Aramis Ramirez struck out to end the game.
Ted Lilly struggled in the 1st inning with his command; he would not be able to find it. Lilly threw 79 pitches in his abbreviated outing. He walked Chris Young to start the game but did not allow a run to score. Lilly and Soto appeared to have communication problems….they were never on the same page.
After the Cub offense scored a pair in the top of the 2nd, Lilly could not give his team what they needed, the all-important shutdown inning. Chris Snyder reached on a single to center. Augie Ojeda (4 hits in the series) struck out looking after Lilly issued a walk to Justin Upton. Doug Davis sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Chris Young then gave his team the lead with one swing. Lilly’s response was slamming his glove to the mound in disgust.
Stephen Drew reached on an infield single; he scored on a triple by Eric Byrnes. Lilly retired Conor Jackson on a groundout to 3rd. Lilly appeared to settle down in the 3rd inning. He gave up a single to Snyder but retired him on a double play. Lilly faced the minimum on 6 pitches.
Augie Ojeda reached on a bunt single in the 4th. Ojeda was obviously out of the baseline but was not called out….Piniella did argue. Lilly walked Chris Young with 1out. Stephen Drew then tripled to right, both runs scored. Lou Piniella made the slow walk and removed Lilly. Kevin Hart made his post-season debut in impressive fashion…. Hart struck out Byrnes and Jackson to end the inning.
Hart walked Mark Reynolds to start the 5th and walked Justin Upton with 1 out. Piniella lifted Hart for Scott Eyre. Augie Ojeda promptly singled to center off of Eyre’s left hand. Eyre left the game but appeared to be fine after. Michael Wuertz replaced Eyre.
The D’Backs then scored their second run of the inning on a suicide squeeze by Doug Davis. Davis placed the bunt perfectly, scored the run and was safe at 1st. Young struck out and Drew grounded back to Wuertz to end the inning.
Kerry Wood dominated in his 2 innings of relief. Wood struck out 1 and gave up a hit. Ryan Dempster threw a perfect 9th.
The Cubs face a very tall task in mounting a comeback in the series….but again, anything can happen in a short series. It really can.
The Cubs are off on Friday for travel and will resume play on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley. Rich Hill is scheduled to face Livan Hernandez.