Cubs Wilt in Desert Heat
The Cubs drop the finale in Phoenix and the series, finishing the roadtrip at 2-4. Hey, they won 2 games.
Why the Cubs Lost: Ryan Dempster came out of the gate rolling breaking pitches up in the hitters' eyes while generally missing the plate. He did settle down for the most part after the first inning, besides a Chad Tracy home run in the third, but the Cubs offensive funk didn't need the degree of difficulty to start the game. It looked like Dempster was done after six and allowing four earned runs, but a Mike Fontenot double play to end the top of the 7th sent him back out for the bottom of the inning. Dempster walked the leadoff batter on four straight and was promptly removed and had another run tacked on to his total. He ended the day with 97 pitches, 61 for strikes, 5 earned runs in 6 innngs pitched and a 5.10 ERA in April.
That's when the bullpen got its chance to piss all over itself as Carlos Marmol came in showing the signs of a four day layoff...22 pitches just 5 for strikes. After walking in two runs, it was Jeff Samardzija's turn and he did strike out two, but sandwiched them around a bases clearing Justin Upton double to put the game from joke to laugher' territory. Kevin Gregg got his shot in the ninth and after 35 pitches of which only 18 were strikes, he walked in a run (3 walks total) and then had some parting words for the home plate ump, who I don't think actually ejected him. If he indeed did not get ejected, and considering the argument went on a lot longer and Gregg seemed as agitated if not more than Milton Bradley did, there seems to be a bit of a unsurprising double standard going on by the umpires.
On the other side, Doug Davis dazzled with junk ranging from 68-83 mph taking 50 pitches to get through the first 2 innings Naturally, the Cubs start hacking and Davis gets through the third in eight pitches and just 66 over the next five innings.
Armchair Managing: Let's start with Lou deciding to give Geovany Soto the start over Koyie Hill after saying Soto would rest a few days. Soto went 0-3 with a walk, two strike outs, a passed ball and two stolen bases allowed. The other questionable decision was to bring in a in a rusty Carlos Marmol with a runner on, in what was still a close game. I would think you'd want to ease him in a little but more and Marmol was predictably wild, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Death Pool: Cubs still seem undecided about whether to put Aramis on the disabled list or not, but he's probably closest to being replaced on the roster. Neal Cotts remains safe by virture of not pitching since Sunday.
The Cubs are back home for four against the Florida Marlins, aka Cubs kryptonite, and then two versus the San Francisco Giants.