A Homely Return Home: Cubs Lose to Florida, 4-2
The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.
You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...
- Ted Lilly held Florida hitless into the sixth inning and wound up allowing 5 hits and no walks through seven innings
- Alfonso Soriano raised his average to .340 with three more hits, including a double; he also drove in both Cub runs
- Soriano gunned down Hanley Ramirez when Ramirez tried to score from second on a single by Jorge Cantu in the 8th inning
- Geovany Soto reached base two more times, on a single and the 23rd walk he has accepted this year, and his OBP for the season remains around .500
- Though Florida starter Nate Robertson came into the game with an ERA a shade under 5.00, Cub hitters did little against him—just two runs and seven hits over Robertson's six innings—and they did nothing against three Marlins relievers after Robertson left
- Starlin Castro made three errors; one led to Florida's first run and another saw him boot a ground ball hit by Hanley Ramirez, after which Castro lackadaisically retrieved the ball, allowing Ramirez to scamper all the way into second base
- Lilly fell completely asleep twice (I mean that metaphorically, not in a Ken Griffey sort of way), allowing Chris Coghlan to take a running lead on his way to stealing third base in the 6th, and then again in the 7th, when Cody Ross got a running start off of third base before scoring on the front end of a perfectly executed double steal
- Coghlan's double off of Lilly in the 6th inning, which ended Lilly's no-hitter and his shutout, was Coghlan's first extra-base hit in 105 at-bats this year
- Aramis Ramirez struck out two more times and were it not for a wind-blown popup single, he would have gone 0-for-4...again; Ramirez is now hitting .163
The defeat leaves the Cubs a season-worst five games under .500 at 14-19. They're now 6 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and just 3 games ahead of the last-place and NL-worst Astros.
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump