Game 77 – Cubs lose rubber game 6-3
Cubs 3, Royals 6
What went right:
- The Cubs mounted two good offensive onslaughts – the first was in the third when Geovanny Soto homered to make it a 4-1 ballgame. During the fourth Reed Johnson hit a ball hard and landed on second – DeWitt doubled him home and the Cubs reduced the lead to two. Soto then doubled home DeWitt and the Cubs were back in business with a one run deficit.
- In the sixth the Cubs had two nice defensive gems – firstly Reed Johnson made a nice shoestring catch to save a base hit. On the next at bat Starlin Castro ranged to the left and picked off a ball that was headed for left center and Pena made a nice pick at first digging a ball to complete the out.
- Carpenter came in in the eighth and he was bringin’ it. I’ve been rather concerned about Cashner’s setback because this guy was showing us the kind of lightning that one would expect from a seventh or eighth inning set-up guy. Now Carpenter appears to fit that role and it’s nice to see someone come up from AA and fulfill a needed spot.
What went wrong:
- Randy Wells struggled right from the get-go. The first six runners reached base and it was 4-0 before an out was even recorded. Later in the fourth Wells let two more runs in making it a 6-3 game. Wells looked good two years ago and had a poor sophomoric season that included some injury concerns. To me this is his “make or break” season – if he can’t do better than what we saw tonight then he should probably be let go or traded. His command was off and when he was in the strike zone he got hit. Starting pitching was our downfall tonight and that was what went wrong.
The Takeaway: The Cubs tried hard but they don’t have what it takes to beat a team like the Royals. Kansas City has been a whipping boy for so long that their draft picks have had no choice but to come to fruition. We are seeing the seeing the same from the erstwhile Pirate losers, a team that now finds itself eight games ahead of the Cubs. We have aging superstars like Ramirez and Soriano who are overpaid for what they do. We also have younger guys like Zambrano and Fukudome that get paid much more than what their performance merits. So I as a fan must watch the games patiently and hope for a miracle. Because that’s about what it’s going to take to turn this team around, I’m not confident that Mike Quade, Jim Hendry or Crane Kenney have what it takes to get the job done.
On this date in baseball history:
- 1906: Baseball had it’s first death when Herbert Whitney of the Burlington Pathfinders was beaned by a pitch.
- 1916: The Cleveland Indians became the first team to wear numbered jerseys.
- 1938: Carl Hubbell got his 200th win against the Chicago Cubs. He was the first player to really master the screwball from what I’ve read.
- 1960: Rookie third baseman Ron Santo made his major league debut. He went three for seven in a doubleheader and the Cubs swept the Pirates. Santo drove in five runs.
- 1966: Ron Santo got hit in the face by Jack Fisher of the Mets. I remember reading about this as kid, he’s lucky it didn’t end his career like the ball that hit Tony Conigliaro.
Tomorrow the Cubs go home to play a makeup game against the Colorado Rockies. The game will be televised at 1:20 PM CDT on CSN.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Geovany Soto (.263 WPA)
2nd Star – Eric Hosmer (.112 WPA)
3rd Star – Chris Getz (.083 WPA)
Cubs Hitting: -.166 WPA
Cubs Pitching: -.334 WPA