Game Thirty-Seven – Cubs 0 Cardinals 3
WP – Joel Pineiro (5-3) LP – Ted Lilly (5-3) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s offense allowed Joel Pineiro to shut them out on Tuesday night…the Cubs managed only three hits in a game that lasted two hours and five minutes. The Cubs were overly aggressive all night and simply did not make Pineiro work. He threw only 92 pitches and faced just one over the minimum in nine innings. The Cubs worked a three-ball count twice and did not manage a single walk. The three hits base hits belonged to Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and a two-out double by Mike Fontenot in the fifth.
Pineiro kept the ball down and when the Cubs did not swing at the first pitch seldom missed out of the strike zone with his first offering…of the 27 outs Pineiro recorded, 17 were on the ground.
Ted Lilly did not pitch a bad game. He uncharacteristically walked three batters, one of which led to the game’s first run. Lilly made only two mistakes in seven innings and one cost him two runs. Lilly gave up a two-out single to Brendan Ryan on a 0-2 pitch in the fifth, then served up his tenth homer of the season to the next batter, Colby Rasmus, on a 1-2 pitch. With the way the Cubs were swinging early and often against Pineiro the game appeared over at that point.
Ted Lilly has been on the losing end of two of the Cubs’ three shutouts this season.
Sometimes a pitcher puts together a great game and just beats the opposition but on Tuesday night the Cubs aggressiveness had more to do with Pineiro’s first shutout since 2002 than he did. The game began on a good note but went south quickly. Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a single to left. After a 2-1 pitch to Ryan Theriot, Yadier Molina picked off Soriano from first. The replay showed Soriano was safe but that play set a tone for the entire evening.
Derrek Lee recorded the Cubs second hit to start the second inning but was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Milton Bradley. After the double play, the Cubs quit working the count against Pineiro.
Pineiro retired the Cubs on eight pitches in the third and an unbelievable four pitches in the fourth. What has been a staple of the Cubs offense for over a year was nowhere to be found on Tuesday. No patience by the offense whatsoever…
Ted Lilly gave a struggling offense a helping hand in the first inning. Lilly walked Brendan Ryan to start the game. Colby Rasmus sacrificed him to second but Lilly retired Albert Pujols. Lilly fell behind Yadier Molina 2-0, then the Cardinals’ catcher lined a single into center…Ryan scored, 1-0 Cardinals
Tuesday was Ted Lilly’s first career loss at Busch Stadium and it is not too often a Major League pitcher performs the way Lilly did and losses the game.
Wednesday is a new day…and Lou Piniella might think about making some changes to his starting lineup.
Ryan Dempster is expected to face Chris Carpenter on Wednesday night. The Cardinals ace is expected to be activated from the DL and make his first start in six weeks. The Cubs offense must have a better game plan….