Game One Hundred Thirty-Five – Cubs 2 Mets 4
WP – Mike Pelfrey (10-10) LP – Randy Wells (10-8) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (30)
The Cubs completed their season series against the Mets with a 3-3 record due in large part to another pathetic output by their offense … and more questionable, at best, defense.
In a game that Andres Blanco turned in one of the best plays one will ever see from a shortstop, it was an error by Aramis Ramirez that led to the Mets taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth. The Cubs offense was horrible again and showed little to no patience against Mike Pelfrey. They did not make him work, managed only one walk against a pitcher that has been dealing with a lot of confidence issues. Pelfrey was averaging nearly four walks (3.59) per nine innings entering his start on Sunday against the Cubs.
Randy Wells did not have one of his better outings. He retired the Mets in order only two times in six innings but still pitched good enough to win the game. Wells allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits in six innings without a walk and two strikeouts.
The Cubs wasted another quality start from Randy Wells. In the last 38 2/3 innings, Cubs starters have allowed just three earned runs.
Daniel Murphy drove in both runs against Wells and all four of the Mets’ runs on Sunday afternoon. Murphy finished a double short of the cycle … a solo homer in the fourth, his ninth of the year and a RBI single in the fifth following Ramirez’s eighth error of the season. Murphy added a two-run triple in the seventh off of Kevin Gregg to cap his day.
The Cubs’ offense managed two runs, both scored by Jeff Baker on doubles by Geovany Soto … one in the fifth and one in the ninth off of Francisco Rodriguez. Once again the Cubs allowed a pitcher having a sub-par year against every other team dominate them due to a poor game plan … and a less than effective approach at the plate. The Cubs recorded only six hits and two walks on Sunday afternoon.
The middle of the Cubs lineup finished 1-for-11 … a single by Milton Bradley and a walk by Derrek Lee. Aramis Ramirez was just 1-for-14 in the weekend series.
Lou Piniella made more and more confusing moves on Sunday afternoon. From starting Bobby Scales in left to using Aaron Miles for the injured Andres Blanco to waiting too long to bring in Sean Marshall not to mention using Kevin Gregg at all in a close game.
The Cubs were 85-50 after 135 games a season ago and will enter play on Labor Day just a game over .500 with a 68-67 record … The Cubs’ offense set the tone in the first inning. After Sam Fuld led off the game with a single, took second on a wild pickoff attempt and advanced to third on a productive out by Bobby Scales (ground out to second), Derrek Lee struck out and Aramis Ramirez popped out to second on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs swung early and often against Mike Pelfrey. The Mets’ starter threw 105 pitches, 70 for strikes, in eight innings. While the Mets may look at Sunday as a good sign moving forward for Mike Pelfrey, they must keep in mind he was facing a team that is just mailing in the remainder of the season … regardless of what they are saying in public.
The Cubs did not put two runners on base at any time on Sunday afternoon against Mike Pelfrey and Francisco Rodriguez …
Daniel Murphy gave the Mets a one-run lead in the fourth. Murphy launched a 1-1 pitch from Randy Wells to the second deck in right for his ninth homer of the year. Andres Blanco then robbed Jeff Francoeur of a single.
Andres Blanco dove behind the second base bag, gloved the ball then threw from the seat of his pants blindly to first base. Derrek Lee made a great stretch and scoop to complete the play.
Following the Blanco highlight, Cory Sullivan singled to left. Brian Schneider followed with a single to right. With two outs and runners on first and second, Wells uncorked a wild pitch that advanced both runners. Anderson Hernandez grounded out to first to end the inning.
Luis Castillo reached on a two-out single to center in the fifth. David Wright then hit a routine grounder to Aramis Ramirez. Wright reached on the error and Castillo scored the go ahead run on a single to center by Daniel Murphy … on a 2-1 pitch. Jeff Francoeur grounded out to short to end the inning.
With the Cubs down by only one run, Kevin Gregg gave up a single to Mike Pelfrey on a 2-2 pitch to start the seventh … Pelfrey’s fifth hit of the year. The ball was just out of the reach of Jeff Baker.
Angel Pagan then dropped a bunt down the third base line. The Cubs’ defense led to the Mets putting two on and no outs in front of the heart of what is left of their batting order. Aramis Ramirez, who’s mind was not in the game once again, was playing too far back and could not make a play on the speedy Pagan … and to add insult to bad defense, no one was covering first.
Luis Castillo struck out looking and David Wright grounded out weakly to third. His broken bat grounder was not hit hard enough to turn two. With runners on first and third and two outs, Daniel Murphy launched a 2-2 pitch over Sam Fuld’s head in center. Fuld misread the flight of the ball, got a glove on it but could not haul it in. Pelfrey and Wright scored, 4-1 Mets.
After Gregg walked the free-swinging Jeff Francoeur, Piniella brought in Sean Marshall to face Cory Sullivan. Marshall struck out Sullivan looking to end the inning.
The Cubs season ends one month from Sunday … 27 left on their schedule.
Ted Lilly will face Daniel McCutchen in the first of three against the Pirates on Monday morning (11:35am C.T. first pitch).