Cubs' Worst Game in, Oh, About 48 Hours: D-Backs 7, Cubs 2
The Cubs dropped their fourth game in five as Arizona's Dan Haren pitched a complete game, three-hitter to beat Ted Lilly, who just pitched like hell.
Why the Cubs lost: Aside from Alfonso Soriano's leadoff home run, Mike Fontenot's eighth-inning solo shot, and Lilly's third-inning single, the Cubs could do nothing against Haren.
On the mound, Lilly had little command of his breaking ball and it was painful to watch him try to steer his pitches over the plate. After walking but two hitters in his first 18 2/3 IP this season, the Cub lefty passed four men in his five innings Monday night. Worse, a number of the pitches that were in the strike zone got massacred, including one to Arizona catcher Chris Snyder (hitting just .094 coming into the game), that wound up 425 feet or so from home plate, in the seats beyond straightaway center field.
On defense, Fontenot, continuing to fill in for the injured Aramis Ramirez, looked awful, committing two errors, getting betrayed by his footwork on a routine ground ball (resulting in an "infield hit" for Justin Upton), and dropping the ball after what would have been a caught stealing on the Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds in the early going. Fontenot also allowed a chopper hit by Haren to go over his head for a two-run double during the home team's decisive four-run, fourth-inning rally.
Speaking of caught stealing, the Diamondbacks weren't, not in five other attempts against the Lilly and Soto or David Patton and Soto batteries. Arizona seemed to come into this game determined to test Soto's balky right shoulder and the results for the Cubs on this night were dismal. I would think we can expect to see a lot more of this from Cub opponents in the near future.
On a positive note: Kosuke Fukudome gunned down Reynolds, attempting to score from third on a medium-deep fly ball. Fukudome threw the ball to Soto on the fly and Reynolds was tagged out without ever touching home plate. Also, Jeff Samardzija followed Patton to the hill and struck out two men in his one inning of work.
In honor of the Chicago Blackhawks, winners of their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames, here are your 3 stars of the game: Dan Haren, Dan Haren, and Dan Haren.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne 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.