Once Again, It's Homer or Nuthin' (Mostly Nuthin'); Cubs Lose 2-1 to L.A.
Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.
A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.
Young Randy Wells, starting in place of the injured Rich Harden, delivered yet another terrific start, holding the Dodgers to just 2 runs over 7 innings. He made tough pitches when he had to, fanning seven and walking one. Wells departed with his season ERA still at a glittering 1.80.
The Cubs looked feeble against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf through most of his 7+ innings. The veteran lefty matched Wells with 7 K and 1 BB, but he kept the Cubs off the scoreboard until Scales's blast in the eighth. Wolf helped his cause by inducing three double-plays. Also, as a team, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.
The bottom of the ninth was just a killer. Milton Bradley dropped an ugly but well-placed bunt for a single to lead off the inning, then Derrek Lee followed with another single, moving Bradley to second. After trying and failing to bunt the runners over, Reed Johnson eventually did advance Bradley and Lee with an infield dribbler. Following an intentional walk to Geovany Soto, Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso, subbing for the recently overworked Jonathon Broxton, fanned Scales and Jake Fox to quell the rally and drop the Cubs back to .500.
The basher without a position entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, right after Scales had homered, and he ripped a single to centerfield. Fox then played the field in the top of the ninth, manning third base and actually handling a chance successfully (though Scales was nearly folded in half by Russell Martin as he received Fox's throw to complete a force out at second base.)