Game Recap

Let the autopsy report on this ghastly series read: three games, two runs, 14 hits, three losses.

Lou Piniella made a lineup change on Thursday night, sliding Mike Fontenot from third base to the more familiar ground at second and starting the seldom-used Ryan Freel at third. The moves paid dividends...to the Cardinals:

For the second night in a row, the Cubs failed to support a deserving starting pitcher with any offense and they lost another low-scoring game to the Cardinals.

Tuesday night in St. Louis...

Joel Piniero, coming off three consecutive losses, recorded the Cardinals' first complete-game shutout of the season. He faced only 28 hitters, threw only 28 non-strikes (never reaching a three-ball count), only allowed one man into scoring position, and dispatched the Cubs in 125 minutes, the Cards' fastest game in almost three years.

Rookie Colby Rasmus, who had just two singles in 25 AB against lefthanded pitching this season, bashed a 2-run homer off of Ted Lilly.

And the Cardinals, who lost three straight to the Brewers in their just concluded series and overall had lost 10 of their previous 14 games, won.

Glad we could help.

Out-of-town scoreboard note: Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, who pitched one shutout inning Tuesday night, now has an ERA of 5.71; former Cubs closer Kerry Wood, who pitched just two-thirds of an inning Tuesday night—and a rollicking two-thirds of an inning it was—now has an ERA of 8.31.

The Cubs claimed a rain-shortened victory Wednesday night, winning behind: Ted Lilly, who pitched into the seventh inning and improved to 5-2; Alfonso Soriano, who hit his 53rd career leadoff home run; Geovany Soto, who hit his first homer of the season after 96 plate appearances; and George Herman Theriot, who banged out two home runs and now has five in the month of May. (He had seven career homers in 380 games heading into this month.)

On the 39th anniversary of Ernie Banks' 500th home run, Milton Bradley hit a titanic, two-run blast in the sixth inning to lead the Cubs and RIch Harden past Jake Peavy and the Padres.

In the first inning, Harden gave up a leadoff double to Brian Giles and one out later, a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez. He limited the Pads to just two more hits and held them scoreless over the remainder of his six innings, at one point retiring 13 San Diego hitters consecutively.

In Houston, Ted Lilly straightened himself out after a ragged beginning—four-pitch leadoff walk to Kaz Matsui, gopher ball to Miguel Tejada; Miggy's first home run in 116 at-bats this season—as the Cubs beat the Astros, 8-5, to sweep the two-game series at Minute Maid Park.

The Cubs have now won six of seven and have climbed to four games above .500 for the second time this year, heading into a weekend series in Milwaukee.

The Cubs drop the finale versus the Giants to split the series and end the homestand at 4-2.

Why the Cubs Lost:  Clearly Lou laid some money on the Giants taking this game, trotting out the entire bench and resting every regular he could. While I'm sure there batting averages appreciated not seeing Tim Lincecum, the paying fans must have thought it was still March and spring training. I'm all for resting the regulars, but maybe Lou would consider spacing it out a bit next time. 

Sean Marshall gave up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the first, which probably isn't the strategy you want to employ against Tim Lincecum. He then shut down the worst offense in the league for the next six innings, before the first two runners reached off him in the 8th. Jeff Samardzija proceeded to hit Bengie Molina - Molina's first time reaching base via HBP or BB all year - and then gave up a double to Aaron Rowand who hadn't had a hit in about a week.Then another single on a drawn in infield to Randy Winn before finally retiring Juan Uribe on a popout. After walking Emmanuel Burriss, Lou had seen enough and summoned Neal Cotts who did a much better job than Samardzija of preventing the inherited runners from scoring.

The Good: Marshall looked good from innings two to seven and Neal Cotts took one pitch to get two outs in the 8th. Bobby Scales in his major league debut, got his first hit and almost a second if not for a fine diving play by Winn. Scales also made a few nice plays at second base. Lincecum did retire 11 in a row at one point, but the Cubs did hit a few balls hard at least and were in the game until the pitching imploded in the top of the 8th.

Death Pool:  Probably be Bobby Scales getting sent down to make room for Friday's starter, but don't overlook Jeff Samardzija and his 8.10 ERA heading back to Iowa and someone like Chad Fox getting the call-up.

Tags: 

With Aramis Ramirez back in the starting lineup, the Cubs won their fourth in a row, defeating the Giants, 4-2, on Monday night at Wrigley. The Cubs will have a chance to finish a 5-1 homestand when the teams meet Tuesday afternoon.

Why the Cubs won: Ryan Dempster, coming off his first loss and poorest start of the young season last week in Phoenix, earned his second victory with his best start of 2009. Dempster kept the Giants off the board until the sixth inning and allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks over seven.

In short:

The Bulls game was great.

The Blackhawks game became compelling.

And the Cubs game...made me glad the Bulls and Blackhawks games were on.

Tags: 

The Cubs drop the finale in Phoenix and the series, finishing the roadtrip at 2-4. Hey, they won 2 games.

Why the Cubs Lost: Ryan Dempster came out of the gate rolling breaking pitches up in the hitters' eyes while generally missing the plate. He did settle down for the most part after the first inning, besides a Chad Tracy home run in the third, but the Cubs offensive funk didn't need the degree of difficulty to start the game. It looked like Dempster was done after six and allowing four earned runs, but a Mike Fontenot double play to end the top of the 7th sent him back out for the bottom of the inning. Dempster walked the leadoff batter on four straight and was promptly removed and had another run tacked on to his total. He ended the day with 97 pitches, 61 for strikes, 5 earned runs in 6 innngs pitched and a 5.10 ERA in April.

Tags: 
Easy Win
W - Zambrano (2-1)
L -  Petit (0-2), Kryptonite, Mortals.

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1.  Z. Pitches
Not so much a dominant game from Z as a comfortable game.  Zambrano walked two and K'd three, working one weakly hit ball after another.  Only in the seventh did the "scattering" of eight hits result in a serious rally, and by then the game was out of reach.

 

2.  Z. Hits
Zambrano had arguable the two hardest-hit balls of the night, with a lined shot of a double to very-deep right-center and an opposite-field home run, as well as a single. 

 

3.  Others Hit
Soriano had the first and biggest blow, a three-run homer in the third, followed by a Fontenot two-run shot in the fourth.  Koyie Hill continued his good start to the season, with three hits, and Bradley looked good with a couple of lined singles and a walk.  Soriano in particular looked locked in, just barely missing a leadoff homerun and patiently letting Petit pitch around him for a walk in another at-bat.

 

The never-in-doubt details, below.
Tags: 

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.

Tags: 

The Cubs drop the opener to the St. Louis Cardinals on a warm night in St. Looey. Before we get to the recap, it's a busy Saturday here at TCR, so be sure to check out the other stories on here today.

Mike Wellman's Recap from Iowa

Dr. Hecht Returns from China

Transmission Recaps Parachat Last Night

Tags: 

The Cubs dropped their first series of the year losing two of three to Dusty and the Reds. The unfortunate details after the jump.

Tags: 

Righthander Johnny Cueto dominated Cub hitters Wednesday night, and a strong outing by Ted Lilly (7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, just 1 unearned run allowed) was wasted as Cincinnati ended the Cubs' three-game winning streak.

Why the Cubs lost: No O—the offense produced no runs and four hits against Cueto in his seven innings. Overall, the Cub bats delivered six measly singles, two each by Soriano and Lee, and one apiece from Fukudome and Ramirez. In both the first inning and the fourth, they managed to put two runners aboard, but failed to capitalize. In total, Cub hitters only had four opportunities to hit with men in scoring position.

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