Cubs Can't Fend Off Gnats
Sobering thought...the Cubs just got beat 2 of 3 at home by the worst team in baseball the last two years. Sure, anyone can win a 3-game set, but the Cubs sure didn't look like a better team at any moment in this series. And yes, the Nats are a better team this year than year's past, but they also were missing Ryan Zimmermann for the set. All of that is just a convoluted way of saying that the tea leaves aren't really predicting a bright 2010 future at the moment for the Cubs.
The Good: The Cubs walked 4 times(Colvin, Fukudome x2 and Nady) and had 9 hits including Theriot and Fukudome getting on-base 5 times in total. Dempster had a solid 8 IP, 3 ER affair with just one walk and 6 K's. Marlon Byrd's circus catch losing the ball in the sun. I wonder how the media and crowd reacts if he doesn't make that catch as they were sure quick to jump on Bradley last year for losing the ball in the sun.
The Bad: 21 LEFT ON-BASE! 11 as a team including Marlon Byrd leaving 6 all on his own. In the 7th, Fukudome and Lee led off with singles, but then Aramis Ramirez grounded into double play on a 3-2 pitch in on his hands promptly erasing the rally. Colvin couldn't deliver the 2-out RBI. In the 8th, Byrd singled to right which the right fielder fumbled for a gift double. Fontenot is allowed to swing away after two singles already in the game and pops up to the shorstop. Aargh!!! You know the one good time to sac bunt, is when you need one run and can get a runner to third base with less than two outs. Or just make sure you pull the ball. Tracy, Nady and Theriot couldn't pick up the run either (more on that in the moment). Dempster did give up two solo shots to Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn with the wind howling in.
The WTF? Back to the 8th, after Byrd "doubled" and Fontenot popped up, Lou pinch-hits for Koyie Hill. Smart. He pinch-hits with Chad Tracy though. Dumb. He's already gonna have to use Geovany Soto in the top of the 9th for Hill, just use your hottest hitter. I know Chad Tracy has had an illustrious pinch-hitting career before this year in like 100 PA's or something, but let's use a little common sense. Tracy predictably strikes out, Nady walks (still could have used Soto there if you wanted to) and Theriot can't deliver the 2-out RBI.
Next Up: The hot-hitting Diamondbacks test the Cubs starting pitching for a 4-game set.