Cubs 2, Cardinals 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Today the Cubs played another competitive game, only to be beaten once again by the better team (and who isn’t better?) The sweep was consummated by yet another walk-off homerun by Albert Pujols and the Cardinals put the Cubs to sleep for 2011 by beating them 3-2 in the 10th inning. The North Siders are now 11 games behind the Cards, 11 games below .500 and are sporting a 6 game losing streak. I don’t want to berate these guys because it’s obvious they are trying, that notwithstanding it’s time for major surgery.

Why? Because the fans deserve better and the Ricketts family is with the fans on this one. I really like the new owner – he’s seen all the time welcoming fans to the stadium, he’s accessible and a true Cubs fan. He even put his money where his mouth is. Despite the commitment his team is spiraling like a plane with a missing tail fin – nothing seems to be working and the fans are voting with their dollars. Attendance is down about 5000 fans per game and it’s just the beginning of June, wait until they get a load of August when it’s hot! I’m going to follow protocol with format in just a few minutes but let’s be honest with one another – it’s time to go another direction with this team. Half-truths aren’t going to work, it’s time to start over, even if that means a rebuilding phase. I’ve been in the corporate world since 1979 and I’ve worked for companies as small as $20 million a year in sales to as large as a few billion. Sometimes you have to realize that your vision is imperfect and it requires change and I think that is where the Cubs are. I am confident that Tom Ricketts will make some moves after 2011 and am also hopeful for the future of the organization. That having been said here are the game highlights:

What went right:

  • Ramirez had a good game offensively doubling in the first two runs; he also singled later in the game.
  • Bottom of the 6th: Barney made a terrific play up the middle making a 4-6 putout to end the inning. This was a pivotal moment in the game and it got the Cubs out of the inning.
  • Bottom of the 8th: Sean Marshall was masterful climbing the ladder on Pujols – this guy has found his game again and Sean got him looking for high cheese. Well done sir!
  • I’m glad that Quade found a way to insert Brad Snyder – this guy has done it at AAA Iowa. I like his approach at the plate but he needs to put on a few pounds of muscle. Brad could be a low cost high end contributor, I hope that Quade will play him more frequently now that the Cubs are done for 2011. Let’s see what this guy can do.

What went wrong:

  • Without belaboring the point the Cubs gave up another walk-off, this time courtesy of Lopez. Why is this guy even on our roster? And why in the Sam Hill are we letting a notorious Cub Killer beat us?
  • Ramirez showed us why he’s not the defensive third baseman he used to be at third during the bottom of the seventh – he totally fumbled a transfer from his glove hand to his throwing hand resulting in an E5. Fortunately he got Theriot at second in a fielder’s choice on the following play.
  • Tyler Colvin is now hitting under .090, I really feel sorry for this guy but he needs to proceed directly to Des Moines and play every day. I’m not giving up on Tyler at all; in fact it’s perplexing as to why he hasn’t done anything since he got hurt. My guess is that five at bats a day for thirty days will get him back on track.

Tomorrow the Cubs go to Cincinnati to play my worst enemy, the Reds. It’s unlikely that I will be able to see any of the games since WGN will not be televising and the Reds organization chooses to black out Nashville, TN. The consolation prize is that I won’t see any Cubs losses but I wish them well and hopefully this six game skid will come to an end against Dusty’s team.

On this date in baseball history:

  • 1982: Cal Ripken began his consecutive games streak, a record that may withstand the test of time (at least for a while.) As a litmus test I would put it in the same category as Hack Wilson’s RBI record – some day someone will beat it but it won’t be any time soon.
  • 1989: The Sky Dome became the new home stadium for the Blue Jays. Funny how it happened in mid season – I can remember when it was the twelfth wonder of the world and it was drawing three million fans a year. Those days are long gone and the Jays have not been a significant team since then. Perhaps they should have a Welcome Back Carter Day.
  • 2000: On this date the Florida Marlins used their first round draft pick to select first baseman Adrian Gonzalez; for some reason they decided not to keep him. And finally:
  • 2002: The Houston Astros re-named their stadium “Minute Maid Park,” replacing the stigma of the former sponsor Enron. I’ve been to this ballpark and it’s not a bad place to see a game (despite the fact that it has a choo-choo.) Houston wasn’t the only city to have a stadium named after a corrupt company – my hometown football venue was named after Adelphia and the Regas family’s progenitors will likely spend the rest of their natural lives in jail. That having been said the Enron spectacle was one of the worst corporate scams this nation has endured – their top management scammed innocent investors and gamed the energy market in California with it’s market manipulations. I’m glad that Jeff Skilling got what he deserved but saddened that Ken Lay didn’t die with a guilty plea on is record, nor did he get the jail time that he so rightly deserved.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Ryan Theriot (.471 WPA)

2nd Star – Albert Pujols (.371 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Zambrano (.320 WPA)

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