View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



July 2011



Game 107 – Busch League Loss

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 5, Cardinals 13

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right

  • Top of the first inning. You might think that while scoring five runs, the Cubs looked impressive. You would be wrong. It was perhaps the most unimpressive five run inning possible. Here is what it looked like:
  • Error, SacBunt, BB, BB, Popout, 2B, HR, K
  • More than anything we took advantage of Lohse’s wildness and then made him pay with an opposite field double from Soto and a high pop fly that snuck out near the corner for Soriano. But give the Cubs credit for taking advantage of what was gifted to them.
  • Quade got tossed. It was nice to see Quade out there fighting vehemently after Holliday’s “slide.” It might’ve been “legal” – but it was definitely dirty. For a moment I found myself verbally praising Quade…then I washed my mouth out with soap.

What Went Wrong

  • Bottom of the first until the final out. A two-out homer to Pujols in the bottom of the first was a harbinger of things to come.
  • ESPECIALLY the fifth inning. Here is what it looked like:
  • Groundout, 1B, 2B, IBB, BB, Fielder’s choice, BB, 1B, IBB, BB, 2B, K

The Takeaway
The top of the first was more about the Cubs not messing up their good fortune and seizing upon the moment. Castro’s error/hit could easily have been an out, and it took 6 hitters before we made solid contact. We only had two hits in the inning, and only one more (in the ninth!) in the rest of the game. Basically, the offense felt they’d done their job for the day after the first three outs – with some help from Kyle Lohse. Still, it was nice to see two big hits with RISP.

The fifth was rough – bad luck all around. Lopez created the trouble with hits that forced walks and left the Cubs with no margin of error. Samardzija entered and did his job, got a groundball with the bases loaded…

Holliday went in hard on Castro at second, and that’s an understatement. McCarver’s red-shaded glasses convinced him that Holliday’s hand was over the bag…not bloody likely. The original camera angle was the best, and it showed that Holliday’s slide STARTED at the bag and to the right. To call it a late slide is also an understatement. His momentum was taking him towards centerfield and his “slide” took him about 8 feet PAST the bag. He might’ve been able to grab the bag – if he was a gymnast – so it’s arguably the right call, by the rules. But it was unquestionably a dirty slide.

The replays showed that Holliday’s right leg was doing the can-can in an attempt to trip/injure Castro. Holliday should’ve had one in his back during his next at-bat (instead we walked him!). Freese was the batter, and the replays also seemed to indicate that a good throw would’ve gotten him.

Castro’s not without fault on this play. The “slide” surprised even him, and as he leisurely dusted himself off, Pujols scored. This moment of the game can’t be underestimated. Turn two, end the inning 5-4; instead it was already 5-5, and the inning ended at 10-5 with the game effectively over. It clearly rattled the Cubs and they never regained their composure (Castro made an error corralling a relay later in the inning, Soriano got the credit).

Later in the inning, LaRussa hollered up to his pinch-hitter to “take a strike” with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Everyone heard and saw it; Samardzija could’ve groved a BP fastball for the first pitch. Presumably, LaRussa wanted to provide his reliever with enough time to warm up – he wasn’t ready at that point to pull Lohse. So what does Samardzija do? Four straight balls. That’s your 2011 Cubs!

It bears repeating, things didn’t go our way; but we lost the game when/because we lost our composure and lost focus mentally.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are terrible – that is all.

Trade Talk
Byrd is rumored to be a target of the Braves, among others – with Pence (the Phillies almost have their own All-Star team) off the market Byrd would be in demand. Jayson Stark says he won’t be traded.

Pena was inquired about again by the Pirates. Buster Olney says that he won’t be traded.

Hendry asked Aramis what he wanted to do, Aramis said he wanted to stay. Jim Hendry say Aramis won’t be traded.

So the untradeables are now at least: Castro, Marmol, Garza (presumably), Byrd, Pena, Ramirez, Dempster, Wood, Marshall, Barney, Baker (explicitly), Soriano and Zambrano (obviously).

In the midst of all of this, Hendry has said that the team needs rebuilding, not a complete overhaul (according to Gordon Wittenmyer). I wholeheartedly disagree. And I’d point to the VFTB podcast question about how many current Cubs will remain when this franchise again revisits the playoffs. Only about 5 or 6 names were bandied about – this team needs an overhaul. As long as we’re not sending a ton of cash with these guys in a trade, I’d love to save the payroll.

  • cap’n obvious

    Nice recap Jedi…fortunately, on the left coast, we got the feed of the Angels-Tigers game…zzzzzzzzzzzzz. MLB network’s highlights of the Cub game, which I backed up and re-ran a couple times, showed Holliday’s slide to be dirty at BEST, and borderline awful. This is the type of play that the NHL calls “intent to injure.” Quade did the right thing for the first time in weeks by going out and getting run. He should have Earl Weavered Cousins, who again proved that there are NCAA D1 umpires across the country who should be working the bigs, while the big league guys man snack bars at little league parks in Iowa. Castro is the franchise right now, and we are lucky he is not seeing an orthopedic surgeon in St Louis right now…which I suppose would be easier than finding a dentist there, but I digress.

    If Dempster has EVEN ONE testicle, Holliday will take one in the back tomorrow. No playoff shot or not, the Cubs need to take a stand on that one. At this point, what difference would Quade or Dempster getting suspended make? Larussa and his smug “good clean baseball” garbage be damned. Have 17 glasses of wine and go for another drive Tony…that was as dirty a play at second as I have ever seen. Sure, I am frustrated by the Cubs putrid play on the field, but when I see stuff like that stand in the majors, it’s hard for me to coach young boys and high schoolers to play it straight and do things the right way. Holliday was not trying to break up a double play, he was trying to injure one of MLB’s up and coming stars.

  • Jedi

    cap’n – I’m out here on the Pacific Coast too. So I had to listen to the game on radio, then suffer through the replay on MLB.TV after (listening to Buck and McCarver shamelessly talk smack about the Cubs when the result is already known is about as bad as it gets).

  • I’m on that coast too, Vancouver BC. We get Fox Seattle and Fox Rochester, which had the Cubs game on yesterday. I’m trying to figure out if that makes me lucky or not.

  • Norm

    Olney said Pena wouldn’t be traded by the trade deadline, I would guess that means he’ll be traded in August in the hopes that more than just one team is looking for a LH bat for the playoff run.

    • Jedi

      With the Pirates getting Derrek Lee we’ll have to pray someone else wants Pena (D-Backs maybe?). So we’ve already lost the team who had shown the most interest.

  • Buddy

    And I thought last year’s team had terrible pitching.

  • Buddy

    D-Lee going to the Pirates. M. Bourn to the Braves.

  • Larry Sproul

    Michigan had to watch Tigers-Halos game . Not even radio coverage up here thank God !! The ESPN game Sunday night should give the crew alot to talk about .

    Wonder how long Ricketts is going to put up with this mess ?

  • walterj

    watched the game yesterday …must say this is the worst team i have ever watched .i agree though , that holiday should be hit in the back today .

  • Jedi

    Add Reed Johnson to the list of guys that we wouldn’t trade – he is part of our plan next year too according to Hendry. Never mind that he’s not under contract.

    That’s nine position players not including Tyler Colvin. So the theory from the front office is that 2011 was a fluke?

  • Jedi

    Baseball tonight crew unanimous before Sunday’s game – the Cubs must retaliate against against. Didn’t say it in as many words, but that was the clear message.

  • Jedi

    *against Holliday

  • Jedi

    Gutless…we’re not going to get a better chance to throw at Holliday. Sadly, the BBTN crew is right, LaRussa would’ve gotten payback, the Cubs laid down like dogs.