Game One Hundred Fifty – Cubs 2 Brewers 6
WP – Mark DiFelice (1-0) LP – Jason Marquis (10-9) Save – None
It was just one of those nights. The Cubs were flat and were not able to make the adjustment at the plate after Mark DiFelice replaced Ben Sheets in the 3rd inning. Sheets left with tightness in his right forearm after giving up a run in 2 innings of work….a solo home run by Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers bullpen shutdown the Cubs offense and the only run they allowed came in the 9th inning on what should have been a game ending double play.
While the Brewers bullpen was putting zeros on the board, the Cubs bullpen allowed the Milwaukee to tack on 3 runs in the 6th to put the game away. Angel Guzman replaced Jason Marquis with 1-out in the 6th and recorded the last two outs….but Guzman struggled in the 7th and allowed 3 runs without retiring a batter.
Randy Wells made his Cub debut in the 9th and retired the Brewers in order with a strikeout on 10 pitches.
Jason Marquis set the tone for the evening. Marquis gave up a single to Mike Cameron to start the game, then walked Ray Durham and Ryan Braun to load ’em up for the Brewers’ hottest hitter. Prince Fielder cleared the bases with a double to right and broke the game open in the 1st inning. Marquis’ lack of command put the Cubs in a big hole they could not dig out of.
Aramis Ramirez cut the Brewers lead to 3-1 in the 2nd with his 25th home run of the season. It was the first longball for Ramirez since August 28th….for the sixth straight season Aramis Ramirez has hit at least 25 home runs.
Mark DiFelice picked up his first career big league victory with 2 innings of shutout ball. With the departure of Ben Sheets, Dale Sveum had to use seven relievers to win his first game as the Brewers’ interim manager.
Other than the home run by Ramirez and a couple of very good defensive plays….one by Mike Fontenot and the other, Alfonso Soriano throwing out Corey Hart at the plate, the Cubs just looked out of sorts after Sheets left the game. They were geared for the Brewers’ ace in what was labeled the biggest start of his career, and they ended up swinging and missing at a lot of off speed stuff….and Country Joe West’s liberal strike zone did not help.
With the loss the Cubs lead over the Brewers dropped to 8 games with a big rubber game on Thursday afternoon…. Wednesday night was just one of those games a team losses during a long season. They could not find a rhythm against a majority of the Brewers’ bullpen and not one hitter in the lineup faced the same pitcher twice on the night. While many thought Ben Sheets leaving the game would benefit the Cubs, it actually turned out to be the exact opposite.
Rich Harden is scheduled to face Dave Bush in the last game of the season against the Brewers at Wrigley on Thursday afternoon. The Cubs missed a big opportunity to take a step closer to their first goal on Wednesday….Thursday is a new day and from Lou Piniella’s tone, and short post game press conference, he will have his team ready to play.