Cubs Lose First Series of the Year
The Cubs dropped their first series of the year losing two of three to Dusty and the Reds. The unfortunate details after the jump.
Why the Cubs Lost: Micah Hoffpauir's glove was the main culprit, costing the Cubs two to three runs. He badly misplayed a flyball by Chris Dickerson into a triple that made the game 1-0. The wind had something to do with it, but a decent RF'er definitely makes the play. Then in the 7th, with runners on 1st and 2nd, he tried to come up throwing on a single by Alex Gonzalez and the ball bounced off his glove making sure two runs score(one may have scored anyway) and Gonzalez made it to third base. A nice play on a suicide squeeze attempt by Zambrano did erase Gonzalez though.
Z pitched well for the most part, but he did throw away a pickoff throw to first base, although it did look like a play Derrek Lee could have made. Wily Taveras made it around to third base on the error and after Z struck out Dickerson, Lou came out to see if Z wanted to walk Joey "Cub-Killer" Votto and set-up the double play with the righty Edwin Encarnacion up next. Z's hubris won out and they brought the infield in and Z got ahead quickly. With Geovany Soto setting up low and outside, Z let one up on the inner half of the plate right at the belt and Votto ripped a double to left-center. The fantastic movement on Z's pitches can be a curse as much an asset at times.
After giving up that second run, the Cubs mounted a rally on a hit and error that put Alfonso Soriano at second base and a Ryan Theriot single up the middle to make it 2-1. The first pitch to Kosukue Fukudome saw Theriot stealing and get this...he was thrown out. A great throw by the catcher right on the bag, but nonetheless, Theriot stealing hasn't been a good idea since 2007.
And the bullpen gave up 3 runs in two innings....so great effort all around.
The Good: The Cubs finally scored a run and Z pitched much better than the boxscore shows, a victim of poor defense for the most part.
Death Pool: Luis Vizcaino surprisingly took the first honor but I still think Neal Cotts leads the way for the next victim. He came in to face Joey Votto and fell behind 3-1, making it 3-2 and then - afraid to walk anyone - left a few pitches down the middle that Votto fouled off and then eventually took out to left center.
Up Next: The Cubs try to find their bats in St. Louis this weekend who just finished off sweeping the Mets.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.