Game 70 – Questionable Send of Pena Leaves Cubs Short
Cubs 3, Yankees 4
Guest post contributed by Katie Cernek
What Went Right:
- Dempster managed to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, without surrendering any runs. He kept the Cubs in the game by striking out 6 and holding the Yankees to 3 runs over 5 1/3 innings.
- Soto’s arm was on point to 2nd base today. He threw out Granderson, and should have thrown out Martinez if DeWitt had been ready.
- Peña hit his 11th HR of the season. It was a 2 run blast to right, to tie the game at 2 in the fourth inning.
- Reed Johnson has been an excellent clutch player since coming off the DL, with a sensational game-saving catch in the 9th inning yesterday, threw a bullet to home to nail Swisher at the plate today, and electrified the crowd with a solo shot off future Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera, to pull the Cubs within a run in the bottom of the 9th.
What Went Wrong:
- Pitching. Dempster had control issues. He walked 6 batters in just 5 1/3 innings pitched. His first-inning ERA is over 11.0 this season. In typical fashion, he loaded the bases with a single sandwiched between two walks in the first.
- Samardzija had his usual problems: he walked 3 in 1 1/3 innings pitched, and gave up a run, which was the difference in the loss.
- Sloppy defense on the Gardner rundown (1-3-4-3-4-2-6). Also, DeWitt was apparently snoozing when Soto tried to gun down Martinez’s steal attempt, and he was late covering second base.
- It was a poor coaching decision to send Peña on a shallow fly ball by Soto, which ended up being an inning-ending double play.
- DeWitt was unproductive, once again, in the 3-hole, going 0-3.
- The only RBIs came from home runs.
- Castro is the only regular in the lineup not to be sidelined by an injury this season
Despite the loss, the Cubs are playing their best ball of the season. They have yet to win 3 in a row, but they won the last series, and they have an opportunity to win this series tomorrow. If they cut back on DeWitt- and Peña-type mental errors, it would change the outcome of the games. We need a good, quality start from Zambrano tomorrow, and the bullpen needs to come through in the clutch. It would also be nice to see Campana in the lineup, not just as a pinch hitter, because he tends get on base and manages to score. If Castro and Soriano keep hitting well, and the Yankees keep making errors, we should be able to come away with a win tomorrow.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Alfonso Soriano (.236 WPA)
2nd Star – Carlos Pena (.198 WPA)
3rd Star – Cory Wade (.154 WPA)
Cubs Hitting: -.499 WPA
Cubs Pitching: -.001 WPA