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.
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.
Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!
What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.
Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...
Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.
Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.
I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.