Game Thirty-One – Cubs 3 Cardinals 5
WP – Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) LP – Jason Marquis (1-2) Save – Jason Isringhausen (10)
Ron Santo said it all when he named Sean Gallagher the Chevrolet Player of the Game following the loss to the Cardinals on Sunday night. The Cubs could not find a rhythm either on the mound or at the plate and dropped their third straight series. Jason Marquis was once again very ineffective and could not find the strike zone on a consistent basis. Marquis walked the bases loaded in the 1st inning and a total of 5 on the night but the biggest was a 2-out walk to Adam Kennedy in the 4th inning. Albert Pujols followed with a 2-run double down the left field line just past the outstretched glove of Mark DeRosa that proved to be the difference in the game. Marquis gave up 5 runs on 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Reed Johnson doubled in the Cubs’ first run of the game but that was the only run scoring hit of the game for Lou Piniella’s crew. The other two runs were scored off sacrifice flies….one in the 2nd by Alfonso Soriano and the other in 7th by Kosuke Fukudome. Derrek Lee had a rough night at the plate with a rare 0-for-5 performance.
The Cubs finished a very disappointing week against the Brewers and the Cardinals with a 2-4 record….but it’s only May 4th and they are still 18-13 on the season. The Cubs continued to be very patient at the plate. The one positive over the past week is they are making the opposing pitcher work….just some days are a lot better than others. They must work on their fundamentals….mostly hitting behind runners and going with pitches. Basically taking what they are given instead of trying to hard to make something happen. Derrek Lee turned in an impressive at bat on Saturday simply taking what he was given….once the entire lineup embraces the same approach at the plate five to six runs a game will once again become the norm. It’s all about adjustments.
The Cubs offense missed Aramis Ramirez as the middle of the lineup finished the night 0-for-11 with a RBI and a walk. Alfonso Soriano was 1-for-4 with a RBI but saw just 15 pitches in 5 trips to the plate.
The Cubs jumped on Todd Wellemeyer in the 2nd inning after Geovany Soto led off the inning with a double. Mike Fontenot walked on 4 pitches and Reed Johnson followed with a double down the left field line on a 3-1 pitch. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs, Jason Marquis popped out and Soriano followed with a sacrifice fly to center….2-0 Cubs. Ryan Theriot grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs wasted a leadoff double by Mike Fontenot in the 4th after Reed Johnson popped out, Marquis tapped back to the mound and Soriano struck out on 3 pitches.
The Cubs loaded the bases for the 15th game in a row in the 7th. Ronny Cedeno was hit by the first pitch from Kyle McClellan. Soriano singled to center and Theriot singled to left to load the bases….with no outs. For some reason Cedeno was held at 3rd and Derrek Lee popped out to right for the first out. Tony La Russa brought in Randy Flores to face Kosuke Fukudome.
Fukudome hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Cedeno to cut the Cardinals lead to 5-3 but Mark DeRosa flied out to center to end the inning.
At no other time in his brief Cubs’ career was Marquis command problems more evident than on Sunday night. At times Marquis had pinpoint control. He hit his spots and kept the ball down. But more often than not, Geovany Soto would setup inside and the pitch would end up either over the heart of the plate or way outside. A good example came in the 3rd inning when he struck out Rick Ankiel on 4 pitches and a batter later, he walked Chris Duncan on 4 pitches.
Sean Gallagher gave up just a hit in his first 2 innings of 2008. Gallagher hit the mid 90’s with consistency on his fastball and looked much different than a year ago.
Lou Piniella’s crew had plenty of chances to win the finale of the weekend series against the Cardinals….hopefully Sunday ended a week that was just a blip and not the norm for the remainder of the season.
The Cubs open a 3-game series in Cincinnati on Monday night. Ryan Dempster will face Johnny Cueto in the opener. The Reds are reeling and always play their best against the Cubs….