View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



June 2011



Game 70 – Questionable Send of Pena Leaves Cubs Short

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 3, Yankees 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

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

  • Aaron

    Nice recap, Katie. I also didn’t understand sending Pena. Soto’s swing looked a lot like a home run on tv but once I saw how shallow it was, there was no way Pena was going to be safe unless it was a terrible throw to the plate. Also, here’s hoping we can manage a “gem” from Zambrano, instead of just a quality start.

  • Evan

    I know hind sight is 20/20, but I really have to question some of Quade’s decisions…letting Dempster hit in the bottom of the 5th when he’d already walked 6 and thrown over 100 pitches (I know the bullpen has been used a lot lately, but still…)? Keeping Samardzija on in the 9th after he struggled in the 8th (again, I know the bullpen has been taxed…)? And why didn’t he have Geo lay down a bunt in the 9th to get the tying run in scoring position? Geo’s been struggling all season, and of course he hit into a rally killing double play. And oh yeah, why is Blake Dewitt still batting 3rd?!?! I know these are tough decisions for a manager, and maybe I’m being too hard on Quade…but he managed in the minor leagues for 17(?) years, maybe there’s a reason why he never got a shot in the big leagues before…

  • Was silently screaming at my TV yesterday when Dempst surpassed the 115 pitch count. I don’t care what inning it is, start a shower for this man at 100 pitches and at the very first sign of trouble after that hand him a bar of soap.

  • Lizzie

    Geo isn’t bunt-savvy. I don’t have any problem with Quade having him hit instead. I DO have a problem with him swinging at the very first pitch a’la all Cubs this season. (I know that’s an exaggeration, it’s just a pet peeve of mine.) Sending Pena was a bad choice. For heaven’s sake the catcher could have taken a couple-three-six puffs of a cigar while he stood there with the ball waiting for Pena to bowl him over. Now if you’re playing AGAINST the Cubs of course you send the runner because those types of outs are rarely guaranteed with the Cubs’ substandard defense. But other teams make those kinds of plays.

  • PackerCubBull

    A hot shower and a bar of soap sounds good to me right about now. Just biked for an hour and my shirt is soaked.

  • PackerCubBull

    And Lizzie you are correct. The only other player I would run on on that play is Juan Pierre, because his arm is a noodle. If I had to chose a LF for my all-city team, I would take Soriano, because he at least has power and a cannonball arm.

  • cap’n obvious

    pretty sure Northwestern, or even North Park has a leftfielder I’d choose over Soriano or Pierre.

  • Larry Sproul

    Hate to lose any game but another close one ?? By the 5 th inning Dempster was toast . Why let him bat ? This is the same stuff Lou did and how did that work out ?

    Sending Pena was just plain foolish . Martin had enough time to eat a small ham sandwitch . These baserunning mistakes continue if it was the coaches fault shame on him . Yankees make a error but Cubs cant doing anything with it . If you breakdown this game it was the Cubs to win and they just could not .

  • Buddy

    Bad teams find ways to lose games, and the Cubs are certainly a bad team.

  • Lando87

    I was almost on cloud 9 yesterday when the Cubs looked like they could take the series, what a heartbreaking loss. I’m glad we didn’t embarrass ourselves on national television at least (though we have another chance tonight!)

    Anyone else notice that the Redbirds have been playing like the Cubs lately? They’re eking out these wins after that 7 game skid.

  • Norm

    Well, Cubs were lucky it was so close, but yeah, Pena should’ve been held up.
    Campana can’t get on base and should never be used as the first pinch hitter. Pinch running would’ve been nice at the end of the game.

  • Lizzie

    Alas, not Z, Wells.

  • Katie

    Alas, I was mistaken.

  • I agree with Norm. Among the available pinch hitters in any game, Campana should be the last used in hopes that he might be useful as a pinch runner. His on base percentage is .255.

    That he occasionally starts does not bother me as much. He’s got to get some at bats somehow.

    Now that Quade has stopped batting Castro third, I would say my two biggest gripes would be use of DeWitt (in left and batting third) and use of Campana (pinch hitting too early in the game).

  • Buddy

    An interesting game turned ugly in a hurry tonight.

  • MJ

    I was at the game. Paul Sullivan sat right behind me. I did not go out to dinner with him a la Doc.