Well. I suppose your reaction to this game will depend solely on whether you are a glass-half -full or glass-half-empty type of person.

Glass half empty: We lost.
Glass half full: We split the series with the Phillies. Come on now, tell the truth. You expected to lose both right? I did.

Glass half empty: Grabow. Again.
Glass half full: Jeff Stevens had himself a nice little outing!

Glass half empty: This team can’t even manage to score with a runner on 3rd and no outs.
Glass half full: Had they not clawed their way back into the game, they wouldn’t have had a chance to blow that. :-)

Win Probability

First Star: Mike Fontenot (!!!!) – WPA = .330
Second Star: Jimmy Rollins – WPA = .308
Third Star: Raul Ibanez – WPA = .287
Honorable Mention: Alfonso Soriano – WPA = .221

Game Notes:

  • Aside from a first inning solo home run by Chase Utley, the first four innings of the game were kinda dry. Three up three down for everyone save for one baserunner for the Phillies (Polanco, single in the third) and one for the Cubs (DLee reached on a Polanco error in the fourth).
  • I love these Phillies’ home uniforms. Last night they wore the red and white pinstripes, which is what they wore when I was growing up. Today they have their cream ones which I like much better. They look old-school to me even though the others are really their “old time” uniforms. There was never any blue involved with the Phillies ever when I was growing up. I do like these uniforms better though. The snooze-fest of the first four innings allowed me to contemplate fashion issues. Then things picked up!
  • In the top of the fifth Soriano led off with a double, later scoring on a Castro single.
  • Bottom of the sixth, tied 1-1, Dempster came really close to getting out of the inning … one out double by Polanco, then Utley walked. Ryan Howard flied out to Byrd advancing both runners. Dempster went 3-0 on Jimmy Rollins, and no sooner did Bob Brenly say he’d probably have the green light with two outs and boom, home run into the right field seats scoring three. 4-1 Phillies.
  • DLee led off the seventh with a solo home run, bringing the Cubs within two. A walk (Soriano) and two singles (Fontenot and Castro) loaded the bases setting the stage for a Colvin sacrifice fly to score Soriano. 4-3 Phillies.
  • James Russell and Jeff Stevens combined for a very nice seventh inning (more on Stevens later).
  • Top of the eighth … Antonio Bastardo-of-the-unfortunate-last-name replaced Blanton, and Fukudome promptly hit a solo home run to tie the game.
  • Then, after Stevens retired the first batter in the bottom of the eighth, Lou brought in Grabow and there’s really no need for me to continue the recap since we all know what happens when Grabow pitches. Two walks and a single later, the Phillies were winning 5-4.
  • Soriano started the ninth inning with what seemed like one of the longest at-bats ever! He was hit by pitch #11, then advanced to third on a single by Fontenot. And there he stayed. Starlin Castro struck out on three pitches, Aramis Ramirez took the count to 3-2 and then struck out on what was clearly ball four … it was a horrible looking swing and I was embarrassed for him. Soto popped out and that was that, with Soriano in the same spot he took up three outs earlier. A really disappointing effort after a good struggle back into the game.

I’ll end with some points to ponder from Joe’s perspective:

I’m beginning to lose faith in our manager’s decision making ability when it comes to the use of our bullpen. The Cubs came out and have said that they want to stretch Carlos Zambrano out in preparation for a return to the rotation. How does Lou begin that process? By bringing Carlos into Wednesday night’s game for 2 freaking pitches. No biggie, we won the game, right?

That wasn’t the case in today’s loss that could have been prevented. Jeff Stevens came in to pitch in the 7th and set the three batters (Werth, Victorino and Polanco) down easily. Instead of being left out there to pitch a little more, Lou goes with the crappy (no, I didn’t mean crafty) lefty, John Grabow. Grabow proceeds to give the lead to the Phillies, and the Cubs lose the game.

I’m sick and tired of managers trying to play the numbers or the handedness of the batter / pitcher rather than using their eyes. There was absolutely no reason to pull a kid that has been lighting it up in multiple inning outings his last 4 or 5 times out in favor of a guy who has been an utter nightmare and is yet another reason why I hate paying for bullpen help. Stevens was not tired, considering he hasn’t thrown since Saturday and should have been left out there. I’m growing tired of Lou’s bullpen use, and ultimately in Lou as my manager.

What are your thoughts?

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Elizabeth Pearson stumbled upon VFTB around 2006, and enjoys encouraging conversation among the wide variety of readers brought together by their love of the Cubs. She’s married, has a Cub-loving pug named Phinneaus, and enjoys biking, hiking, cooking and gardening. She calls Chesterton, Indiana home and hopes to one day retire on Mackinac Island. Connect with Lizzie via email or Instagram.