Game Two – Cubs 2 Brewers 8
WP – Jeff Suppan (1-0) LP – Ted Lilly (0-1) Save – None
In his post-game press conference, Lou Piniella said, “Yesterday we got beat, today we did not play well.” And those few words summed up the Cubs performance on Wednesday afternoon. The Cubs did not hit with runners on base, threw the ball around and gave a very good team too many extra opportunities….add all of those up and that typically equals a loss.
The day started off on a bad note when Ted Lilly’s first pitch was hit onto Waveland Avenue by Rickie Weeks….and it did not get any better as the day progressed. Once again Jeff Suppan dominated the Cubs. Former Cub, Jason Kendall reached base all 5 trips to the plate and finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, 2 doubles, 2 RBI’s and a stolen base. Ryan Braun was 3-for-5 and added a RBI. The Brewers offense pounded out 14 hits against Cubs’ pitching.
The Cubs hit two more home runs, one each by Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto that accounted for the 2 runs. All 5 runs scored in the first two games by Lou Piniella’s crew have come via the long ball. The Cubs are not hitting and Piniella added during his press conference, “These guys will hit, just give them a little time,” then he said, “Alfonso Soriano will be back in the leadoff spot on Thursday.”
For the first time since 2001, the Cubs are 0-2 to start the season….let the tinkering begin. Ted Lilly’s outing was both good and very bad. After giving up the leadoff home run to Rickie Weeks, he settled down and retired 7 in a row before Jason Kendall reached on an error by Aramis Ramirez. Lilly pitched around the error and a balk in the 3rd before giving up 2 more runs in the 4th.
The Cubs defense did not help but Lilly struggled with his command in the 4th and left with 2 outs in the 5th after giving up 4 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts, a balk and a hit batsman. The Brewers scored on 3 consecutive hits in the 4th that included 2 doubles and a missed cut off throw from Felix Pie.
The run in the 5th came after Jason Kendall doubled to lead off the inning. Lilly retired the next two batters he faced but hit Prince Fielder to end his day. Kevin Hart came in and gave up a 2-out single to Ryan Braun that plated the run.
Kevin Hart allowed the Brewers sixth run of the day in the 6th without giving up a hit. Corey Hart walked to start the inning, stole both 2nd and 3rd base. Jason Kendall walked and stole 2nd off of Hart. Geovany Soto made a bad decision and tried to throw out Kendall….instead the ball ended up in center and Hart scored on the play. Kevin Hart allowed a run on 2 walks and 3 stolen bases….again, without a hit.
After a great spring, Carmen Pignatiello allowed a run on 2 hits in 2/3 of an inning. Bobby Howry gave up the Brewers last 2 runs after 2 outs in the 9th. J.J. Hardy singled, Tony Gwynn, Jr. singled and Jason Kendall doubled (his second of the day) to left center to plate both runs.
The Cubs offense could not string together any hits. They had runners on base in 7 of the 9 innings but the only 2 runs came off of home runs. Until Lou Piniella’s offense learns how to play fundamental baseball, the struggles with scoring runs will continue.
Lou Piniella’s changes will start on Thursday and hopefully he can pull the right strings and put a much-needed ‘W’ on the board.
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to make his first start since 2005 on Thursday afternoon in the series finale against Dave Bush.