WHAT WENT RIGHT
- The sixth inning: The Cubs put pressure on the opponent for a change, even if it was (extremely) short-lived. Carlos Pena’s 8th homerun capped off a four run sixth in which Randy Wells even contributed a base hit. Soto hit a ringing double, which was good to see after his DL stint. Tony Campana contributed with an RBI, and Fukudome added a double to polish his day at 3 for 3 and chase Kyle Lohse.
- Randy Wells: Early on, Wells looked good, only making one mistake to Albert Pujols in the fourth, resulting in a 2-0 lead for St. Louis. He was pulled in the sixth for Sean Marshall, who gave up a game tying hit to Berkman. All four Cardinals runs were charged to Wells, who gave up three hits in 5 2/3 innings in his second start back from the DL.
- The Cubs seemed to have nine lives in this game. The Cardinals had a lot more chances to end the game sooner, but somehow the Cubs found a way out of it. This happened particularly in the tenth when the Cardinals had the bases loaded with one out, but the Carlos Marmol we are used to came in and shut the next two hitters down. Then Marmol hit Molina to lead off the eleventh, but came back with a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play with Matt Carpenter at the plate.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Already ahead 2-0, the Cardinals followed the Cubs sixth with two more runs of their own, tying the game at 4 and leading to extras.
- When it was tied, it never actually felt that way. The Cardinals constantly had baserunners on and always seemed to have the edge.
- The Cardinals bullpen retired 17 in a row at the end of the game, making it virtually impossible for the Cubs to come back.
- Cubs pitchers couldn’t contain Albert Pujols. He ended the day 3-4 with 4 RBIs including 2 home runs, one in walk-off fashion off Jeff Samardjiza. And that was the game.
- Joe Buck’s monotone voice did not help pique my interest in this game in the least.
- Matt Carpenter made his major league debut for St. Louis. His first major league hit, a double, came off Kerry Wood in the bottom of the ninth with no one on and 2 outs.
- Is it just me or do the Cubs always play at least one game in St. Louis that goes into extras?
- The Annual Baseball Amateur Draft starts on Monday. The Cubs have the ninth pick in the first round.
We know the Cubs can’t win them all, but it would be nice to win some. The 2 wins in their last 10 games feel like eons ago. And at this point, the last time we thought the Cubs were possible contenders was the beginning of May. Watching this one, I tried to put how horribly they have been playing behind me. I really couldn’t help but think and hope there was a chance they were going to walk away with a win today. And even then, I have reached the reality that it would almost mean absolutely nothing, but I honestly can’t remember what it feels like to watch a well-played baseball game.
And this is the essence of being a Cubs fan. No matter how infuriated or frustrated we end up after a tough stretch like this, we can’t help but love our Cubbies because we wouldn’t know what to do without that little flame of optimism that comes with a new game and a new day. Currently, all we know for certain is that it’s going to be a long summer. It may not seem like it right now, but some highlights are bound to emerge from the smoke and wreckage we are being subjected to lately. Here’s to salvaging the series with a win on Sunday.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Albert Pujols (.843 WPA)
2nd Star – Carlos Marmol (.459 WPA)
3rd Star – Miguel Batista (.271 WPA)
Guest post submitted courtesy of Rachel Wisinski. Follow her on Twitter @Rachey_Wiz