New Lineup Fail
The Cubs drop the opener to the St. Louis Cardinals on a warm night in St. Looey. Before we get to the recap, it's a busy Saturday here at TCR, so be sure to check out the other stories on here today.
Why the Cubs Lost: Give credit where credit is due, but Adam Wainwright was pretty brilliant for the first six innings and if Skip Shumaker doesn't make an error in the 7th, he may have been brilliant for seven. This three-game valley the Cubs have found themselves in has been against Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and Adam Wainwright, so at least it's not some Triple A scrubs. Sometimes you just get beat and the Cubs were in all of these games.
The new lineup - for one game at least - sure didn't work out though. A combined 2-13 with Ryan Theriot in the leadoff spot leaving 5 men on base. In the 7th, Theriot comes up with bases loaded and no outs and promptly grounds into a double play. I know I would have rather seen Soriano striking out there...at least it would have saved an out a the time.
But the big moment and why I never really minded Soriano batting leadoff came in the 9th. Milton Bradley walked as a pinch hitter with 2 outs and the Cubs down one run and Gathright pinch ran for him. That turned over the lineup and would normaly give Soriano a fifth chance to affect the game, but he was still two batters away. Instead Theriot is up and there was no way he was going to put the team ahead and pretty unlikely he could even tie it up unless Gathright stole second and that's not likely with Yadier Molina behind the plate. That means you're talking at least two more batters reaching just to tie the game (Theriot walk or single and hopefully Fukudome coming through). So when I say that I don't mind Soriano batting leadoff, last night's game was the perfect example. He may not be the prototypical leadoff hitter, but you are taking anywhere from 40-80 PA's a year from him by moving him down in the order depending on the slot (also, a little less since we're not talking a full year now).
Also, wanted to mention how damn good Albert Pujols is. I know I should be berating a Cardinal, but he flashed some fine defensive skills yesterday starting a nice 3-6-3 double play and then punked Carlos Marmol in the 8th after a single. I was on my drive home by that point, but the Cards radio announcer - former Sox announcer John Rooney I believe - noticed immediately that he had a huge lead and talked up how he already stole two bases on the homestand. Marmol apparently never looked over and Pujols practically had a running start for a crucial stolen base.
The Good: Dempster had a pretty nice outing I thought besides the 5th. I have nothing else.
Death Pool: It looks like Aramis Ramirez or Milton Bradley might be headed to the disabled list so the Cubs can call up someone to fill out the short bench. With 6 spots open on the 40-man, they can have their pick of the litter at Iowa but expect it to be someone who can play third base - possibly Bobby Scales.
Up Next: Sean Marshall vs. Mitchell Boggs in a Saturday afternoon tilt. Hopefully the Cubs offense can wake up against a lesser pitcher.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.
I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.
Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.