Archive for July, 2011

Game 107 – Busch League Loss

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

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.

Post-script
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.

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Game 106 – We Stinks

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Cubs 2, Cardinals 9

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

I sat down to watch the game on Friday after a crazy day at work, perhaps the busiest day I’ve ever had. I looked at the pitching matchup and was excited to be able to recap a game that Matt Garza was pitching. He’s my favorite guy on this staff right now. Couple that with the fact that one of my favorite Rays, from the days I maintained a Rays blog, was on the mound for the Cardinals and I figured I was in for a great game. Instead, Garza got hit hard. The Cubs failed to take advantage of a key early opportunity to put up a crooked inning, and I end up going to bed after the 6th inning. Not quite the way I wanted to spend my Friday night, but what can you do. That being said, here are some things that were on my mind last night.

  • I really enjoyed the camera angle that WGN had behind the pitcher. At Wrigley, and so many other parks, the camera provides and off center view so it’s hard to judge a ball on the corners. Last night’s angle was perfect.
  • I don’t know what the problem was, but I counted at least three slips on the field by players before I retired for the evening. It was as if the game was being played at Soldier Field. That got me thinking. Since Northwestern played at Wrigley last year. Would it be possible to host a game at Soldier Field. I’ve never looked at the dimensions, but I wonder if it could work. After all, the Marlins play in a football stadium. That might be a fun place to see a game.
  • My disdain for Geovany Soto is well documented so I have to take a shot when I can. He exhibited some terrible baserunning in the third inning that cost the Cubs a really nice inning. Instead of 1st and 3rd on a line out by Tyler Colvin, Geo was gunned down by a mile at third. Marlon Byrd beat a throw home from third so there is no reason Geo shouldn’t have made it on his tag from 2nd. He waited too long to tag and got hung up. That, my friends, is an example of a bad baseball team, which is what we have right now.
  • Albert Pujols hit into his 23rd double play. Let the record show that 23 leads all of baseball. Derrek Lee only has 13.

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

1st Star – Edwin Jackson (.205 WPA)

2nd Star – David Freese (.165 WPA)

3rd Star – Matt Holliday (.104 WPA)

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Northside Archives: Dave Kingman

Friday, July 29th, 2011

July 28, 1979; Cubs vs. New York Mets @ Shea Stadium

Cubs slugger Dave Kingman becomes only the sixth player (at that time) in baseball history to hit 3HRs in a game for the second time in one season.  The Mets win 6-4.

Kingman, in his second year with the Cubs and 9th season overall, was enjoying what would be the best year of his career.  He finished with a league leading 48 HRs, .613 SLG, and .956 OPS.  He also led the league in strikeouts with 131.  He finished 11th in NL MVP voting – behind even his teammate Bruce Sutter.  That about sums up the career of Dave Kingman; he was Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn was born.

The first time Dave Kingman hit 3HRs in a game that year was against the Phillies, in the legendary 23-22 loss at Wrigley.  A Cub has accomplished the feat 37 different times, not surprisingly with Sammy Sosa turning in 6 such performances.  After Kingman, it would be an 8 year wait to see another Cub hit 3HRs – Andre Dawson, 8/1/1987.

Kingman’s all or nothing approach at the plate earned him a well traveled baseball career.  Starting in San Francisco, he would play for 7 different teams (including two stints with the Mets) before finishing his career across the bay in Oakland after 16 seasons.  In 1977 he played for 4 different teams.  Though he led the league in HRs twice, he also led it in strikeouts on three occasions.  And other than his 3 seasons with the Cubs, he had only one more full season in which he hit for an average higher than .238 – he was a lifetime .236 hitter.

500 different times a player has hit at least 3HRs in a game – 19 different players have done it twice in the same season.  Kingman is the only one of those 19 players to have his team lose both of his 3HR games in the same season.  In fact, of those 39 games (Sosa hit 3HRs, on 3 different occasions in 2001) the player’s team is 30-8-1; the Cubs record is 3-4 (we lost 2 of the 3 games in 2001 when Sosa accomplished the feat, but won both times Aramis Ramirez did it in 2004) – ouch!

Kingman would go on to hit 3HRs in a game one more time in his career, for the 1984 A’s.  Though he finished with 442 career HRs, the man they called “Kong” would never sniff the Hall of Fame.  He received only 3 votes in his first year of eligibility, removing him from all future ballots; he became the first player with more than 400 HRs to miss out on Cooperstown.

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Fukudome is an Indian

Friday, July 29th, 2011

The height of Kosuke Fukudome’s popularity in Chicago might just be Opening Day, 2008, his very first game as a Cub. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 9th, Fukudome comes up with two men on base and blasts his first career home run. The Cubs would go on to lose that game, but for Fukudome, it was a 3 for 3 day and the first of 37 home runs for the rightfielder, described as a cross between Ichiro and Hideki Matsui. Unfortunately, those 37 home runs would be his career total, and with him being traded to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, that comes out to about $1.3 million per home run.

His strength is his ability to take a walk, but teams don’t pay rightfielders $48 million to take a walk. Teams don’t pay rightfielders $5 million to take a walk. They need to hit and, ideally, hit for power. Because of this there weren’t many suitors for his services. But being a free agent with a good OBP, he’ll make a good injury replacement in Cleveland’s lineup and give them a modest improvement over what they have now, at basically no cost to them.

In return, the Cubs get a relief pitcher in Carlton Smith and an outfielder in Abner Abreu.

Smith is a 25 year old in his second AAA season. He’s got a low 90′s fastball and a slider but is only useful against right handed hitters. He’ll probably get a cup of coffee but won’t be much more than a 10th or 11th man in the pen unless his uptick in strikeouts this year is for real.

Abreu is, in the words of Keith Law, the lottery ticket. He’s got a great arm in a corner outfield spot and good bat speed, but his approach is Cub-like. He doesn’t walk, he strikes out a lot, but he’s got some power and he’s got some speed (19 of 22 stolen bases this year). Sounds similar to January’s trade of Tom Gorzelanny where they received Michael Burgess in return (that trade is looking mighty bad, by the way).

The reaction will probably be “what a terrible trade”. But this is what Fukudome is worth. He’s been on the market since last offseason, the 29 other GM’s all knew Fukudome was available, and it just so happened that none would part with anything more than this.

“So why make the trade?!” you may ask. “Why NOT make the trade” is my answer. What were the Cubs going to get by keeping him? Zilch. The “prospects” might not be much, but they’re under team control for 6 years each. You may as well take the chance that they’ll contribute SOMETHING more in that time than Fukudome would contribute in the next two months.

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Game 105 – The Three Game Streak We’re All Too Familiar With

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Cubs 2, Brewers 4

Box Score / Highlights

Before The Game
Kosuke Fukudome was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for two prospects, neither of particular renown. The Cubs also sent Kosuke to Cleveland with a bag full of cash for his new employer. So we paid to dump Kosuke, and we got next to nothing in return. What is especially sad is that we really can’t hope that any other potential trades will go differently.

Hendry is allegedly still picking up the phone if a team calls about Soriano, Zambrano, Pena, Ramirez, and Byrd (there might be more, but no one that we expect would produce a notable return). It’s quite possible the Cubs would have to send each on their way with similar cash considerations…we’re even BEGGING teams to take Soriano or Zambrano and offering to pay “a substantial amount” of their remaining salary.

Seeing as how we paid 80% of what remained to rid ourselves of Fukudome, I shudder to think of the cost to trade any of our remaining players. It says less about today’s trade, and more about the great free agent binge of the last 5 years or so. We REALLY need to shed payroll, unfortunately this trade didn’t really accomplish that objective (and it doesn’t look like any future trade will either).

The Game
It’s been a rough go of it offensively in Milwaukee. Until Soriano drove in a run in the 6th, only Aramis Ramirez had managed to collect an RBI (three actually) for the Cubs in this SERIES!

The sweep in Milwaukee was the first since 2005 – and that’s also the last year in which we lost the season series to the Brewers. The biggest difference in this iteration of the Brewers is their pitching, especially in the bullpen. We got nothing on any reliever in any of the three games – that includes, unbelievably, LaTroy Hawkins.

It’s the sixth paragraph, and that means I’m overdue for some Mike Quade hate. First inning – you know, the inning that Cubs pitchers (especially Randy Wells) have struggled with all year – Wells gets the first out and then loads the bases. The WGN production crew had a better feel for the game at this point; they flashed shots of both Riggins and Quade who weren’t anywhere near one another (in case they might want to discuss what Wells could change to get a second out!). Riggins is sitting casually on his hands seemingly daydreaming. Quade is hiding behind a wall, clapping his hands in encouragement. No, Wells hadn’t been particularly wild, though he did walk Fielder to load the bases. But Wells HAD been deliberate, slow even. He needed to pick up the pace, and we can thank the Brewers for swinging early and often at the next couple of offerings. They got two runs and the lead, and thanks to an amazing relay from Castro that’s all they got. Someone should’ve been out to get Wells’ head straight and have him pick up the pace – even if it was just Soto.

Castro’s relay was stunning. Betancourt hit a bullet to the left-centerfield wall. Byrd corralled it, turned and fired almost instantly. Byrd gets credit for the assist, but Castro made this relay. Castro caught, turned and fired from about 160 feet on a line to Geo. Even though it was Fielder that was thrown out, it required a perfect throw. I hope Castro quickly improves his defense on the routine plays, I love him as a SS and I hope we don’t wind up needing to move him to another spot.

Braun was the difference – basically beating us alone. He had the pivotal at-bat in the first where after going 0-2 he worked out a single, then a HR in the 3rd and an RBI double in the 5th. He ended just a triple sort of the cycle (Soriano would’ve been happy to oblige I’m sure).

Samardzija put together a surprisingly efficient two innings, 19 pitches in all. Proving yet again that his best work is often in our losses. Hendry is drafting an extension while we speak, I’m sure.

There was a lot to like from individual at-bats, the hitters were working counts and we put several guys on base in multiple innings. Especially early in the game it seemed to happen after we already had an out or two in the inning. But collectively, we can’t get the big hit – going just 1-for-15 in the series with RISP.

After The Game
The Chicago Tribune quoted Aramis as saying, “(General manager Jim Hendry) hasn’t talked to me about trading me. Or, who’s that other guy — (team President Crane Kenney)? Or the Ricketts’ (family)? Nobody has talked to me (to ask) about if I’m willing to waive my no-trade clause.” I love Aramis – I only wish I could’ve heard it in his magnificently high voice with my own ears. That other guy!

I believe it’s Buster Olney who typically ends his columns with the line “and today will be better than yesterday.” I’ve always found it a weird way to be optimistic – what if your kid dies or you lose your job – today won’t necessarily be a better day. For the Cubs, today wasn’t any better than yesterday, and I don’t have any hope for tomorrow either. We’re 1-5 against the Cards this year, and our last trip to STL was…I don’t even want to bring it up. About the only thing we’ve got going for us is the pitching matchup. But seeing as how we’ve screwed Garza so many times this year, we could probably produce the recap for tomorrow’s game in advance of the first pitch.

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

1st Star – Ryan Braun (.208 WPA)

2nd Star – Shaun Marcum (.169 WPA)

3rd Star – John Axford (.080 WPA)

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VFTB Radio – Episode 2

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Episode 2 of the VFTB Radio show had this as the show agenda.

Leading Off

Reaction to an interesting idea from David Kaplan

What’s the Word?

  1. Last week Mike Quade made some controversial comments to the media, calling out middle infielders Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney while defending the play of his veterans.  Quade’s comments were _____.
  2. Aramis Ramirez’s refusal to waive his no trade rights is _____.
  3. I am ______ that Jim Hendry has yet to make a trade in the month of July.
  4. My reaction to the Cubs sweep of the Astros was that of _____.

Over or Under

  • 1.5 trades by Jim Hendry before Sunday’s deadline
  • 0.5 more three game winning streaks for the Cubs this season
  • 3.5 more blown saves by Carlos Marmol this season.
  • 4.5 players on the current Cubs roster that will still be on the team when they return to the postseason
  • 3.5 weeks until Brett Jackson is called up to the big leagues

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Game 104 – Zack Attack

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Cubs 0, Brewers 2

Box Score / Highlights

The Cubs could only muster 4 hits against Zack Greinke and the Brewers while being shut out for the seventh time of the season. Two runs was all the Brewers needed to send the Cubs back to 20 games below .500.

What went right:

  • Overall, the pitching was solid. 6 hits and 2 runs will win you a lot of games with an average offense.
  • Starlin Castro can turn infield hits into outs. He got Nyjer Morgan by bare-handing a hard hit check swing on the infield dirt and making a strong throw to Pena for the out.
  • The Bratwurst won the 7th inning sausage race. I love brat’s. Especially the cheddar filled brat’s.

What went wrong:

  • Runs. They couldn’t get any. The Cubs have started a new streak; 17 innings without scoring.
  • Starlin Castro can turns outs into infield hits. He had a hard time getting the ball out of his glove on a hard hit grounder allowing Rickie Weeks to leg out a single. Should have been an error, but it wasn’t, and we have better ways of measuring defense these days anyway.
  • Rickie Weeks took a nasty spill on that play, rolling his ankle. Hopefully not too bad, no word as of this writing other than it wasn’t a break.

Notes:

  • Ryan Braun. I can’t stands’m! Let’s a foul ball drop, doesn’t run out the play, and is as cocky as anyone in the game. Good hitter though.
  • Prince Fielder had an opposite field homer on a ball at chest level, showing his massive power. Can the Cubs add $15-$20 million in payroll next season? What if the Cubs resign Aramis and then sign Prince and CC Sabathia while losing Fukudome, Grabow, and Samardzija (about $21 million)? Does that make them contenders (Won’t happen, just askin)?

Around the League:

  • The St. Louis Cardinals  made it a little easier for the Cubs to beat them in the 2012-2014 seasons by trading centerfielder Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays for some immediate help in Edwin Jackson and Octavio Dotel. The White Sox saved a bunch of money by sending Edwin Jackson to Toronto along with Mark Teahen. Good to see the White Sox saving money when they’re 3.5 games out of first and good to see the Cardinals letting Tony LaRussa make the personnel decisions.
  • The Giants will soon get Carlos Beltran for a few minor leaguers, headlined by Zack Wheeler. The Giants are then expected to release Pat Burrell. Why would any team take Alfonso Soriano, even if the Cubs paid 90% of the remaining dollars, over Pat Burrell at a few hundred thousand?
  • Ervin Santana threw a no-hitter against the Indians, but seems overshadowed with the trades and the bad call in the Pittsburgh-Atlanta game on Tuesday.

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

1st Star – Zack Greinke (.385 WPA)

2nd Star – Prince Fielder (.087 WPA)

3rd Star – John Axford (.080 WPA)

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Book Review: The Juice

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The complete title of this book is “The Juice – The Real Story Of Baseball’s Drug Problems”. It was written by Will Carroll, with William L. Carroll, Ed.D., and Foreword by Alan Schwarz. It was published in 2005.

The following synopsis is located on the back cover: “…’The Juice’ offers a wide-ranging investigation of the drugs now being used or contemplated, the athletes who use them, their scientific effects and side effects, the testing procedures, and the impact of drugs on game performance. Will Carroll…also explores the grey area of legal supplements, reviews the law involved in the BALCO case, and speculates on the next generation of performance enhancers that may well include gene therapy. In exclusive interviews he profiles the motives and experiences of professional players, student athletes, and drug creators.”

That just about covers it.

In the Introduction author Will Carroll, in describing his motivation for writing “The Juice”, quotes Alan Schwarz: “’I wrote the book because I wanted to read it. It would have been much easier for me to have gone to the bookstore and bought it, but it wasn’t there.’ …the material that follows is something I could not find, yet wanted to see in print.”

There is information included in “The Juice” that I was not aware of, and didn’t even suspect.

Rob Neyer, of ESPN, is quoted on the front cover: “Don’t say another word about ‘steroids’ until you’ve read ‘The Juice’.” It’s time to treat the problem

Not too long ago I read an on line discussion about the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in baseball. This was just as I was beginning to read “The Juice”. Gee, all of the points people were getting at in that discussion are presented, clarified &/or answered in “The Juice”.

Along those lines, Allen Barra is quoted on the back cover, thusly: “Everyone talks about steroids, but no one knows anything about them. Will Carroll’s ‘The Juice’ is the first step in our education.” I found Mr. Barra’s quote to be very accurate.

In the Foreword, Alan Schwarz opines: “What Will brings to the steroids issue is calm, measured analysis of a subject that too often drowns in sanctimonious pap.” Once again, a very accurate description of this book.

I found the chapters featuring profiles of various participants in this drama (the player, the tester, the student, and the creator) to be of particular interest. Very enlightening.

Similarly, the chapter titled: “Pre-trial Commotion: The Legal Issues of Steroids and Sports”, which was prepared with the help of Pat Cotter, a white-collar criminal defense attorney from Chicago, I found to be extremely enlightening.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes, from the book:

- “…the issue was never about science, it was about emotion.”

- “Assumption is the marshal of this parade. Fact is stuck somewhere in the back of the ranks.”

- “When does a lifesaving drug become an illegal performance-enhancing drug? That’s a question for the ethicists, but I’ll go as far as saying that the difference lies in intent.”

- “Framing a debate is often a matter of language. Entire books have been written about choosing words carefully, and most of the terms in this particular debate are loaded (no pun intended).”

- “Every son of a bitch in here is on something. Aspirin, Advil, Vioxx, whatever. I have to get spiked (injections of painkillers) just to get on the field.”

- “De Coubertin, who wrote the Olympic Oath, was an idealist who foresaw the Olympics as an apolitical gathering of pure athletes where the emphasis would be on competing rather than winning. ‘The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle’ was probably his most famous saying. The Baron died in 1937, before the Olympics became the chemically enhanced, political, and commercial circus it has become today.”

- “…it is obvious that baseball players have been involved in chemical warfare…”

- “The first weapon in any battle is knowledge. Consider yourself armed.”

- “But for every good thing a performance-enhancing substance has to offer, it always seems to carry serious baggage.”

- “For Major League Baseball, the message should be loud and clear: Don’t clean up baseball for public relations reasons. Don’t clean it up for the fans. Clean up baseball for the game and for the health of its players.”

- “Used properly, there is a place for supplements. Used improperly, they are at best a waste, at worst a gateway to stronger, more dangerous drugs. This industry is ripe for regulation.”

- “The three greatest motivations are desire to excel, desire for glory, and money – not necessarily in that order.”

- “Remember that drug tests are not as omnipotent as the general public is led to believe.”

I enjoyed reading “The Juice”, because it is factual, rather than speculative.

I recommend “the Juice” to anyone with an interest in drugs, sports, human performance, or just in reading a well written book.

I thank Joe Aiello and Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, for making a copy of “The Juice” available to me for reading and for review.

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Game 103 – The Winning Streak is History

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

 

Brewers 3, Cubs 2

Box Score / Video Highlights

What Went Wrong

  • The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning and failed to score.  Alfonso Soriano bounced one to third that could have easily been a double play, but the Brewers ended up only getting the force at the plate.  Then, Darwin Barney went ahead and hit another infield bouncer.  This time, the Crew turned two to end the inning.
  • The Cubs continue to give up runs in the first inning.  Ryan Dempster was hit pretty hard in the first and the Brewers plated three.
  • Chris Narveson settled in and pitched five strong innings after allowing two runs in the first. 
  • The Cubs did nothing against the Brewers bullpen all night long.
  • Blake DeWitt struck out in the ninth to end it with the tying run in scoring position.
  • Mike Quade’s options were limited because Kerry Wood, Koyie Hill and Reed Johnson are all still fighting illness.

What Went Right

  • Aramis Ramirez stayed hot with a first inning two-run homer. 
  • Ryan Dempster settled down after the first inning as well.  He pitched a solid game to keep his team in it.
  • The Cubs’ bullpen was equally as strong as the Brewers’ pen.  Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija both posted zeros on the board.
  • Starlin Castro had three hits and Jeff Baker posted two, including a lead-off single to setup the Ramirez homer.
  • Tony Campana pinch ran in the ninth inning and stole second despite the Brewers pitching out.

The Takeaway

The deciding factor in the game was the sixth inning in which the Cubs failed to score.  This was a frutrating game to watch, but many of the Cubs fans are growing used to it this season.  The loss snapped the Cubs first streak of three straight wins this season.  This was the first game of a difficult ten game road trip.

 

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

1st Star – Kameron Loe (.339 WPA)

2nd Star – John Axford (.171 WPA)

3rd Star – Casey McGehee (.150 WPA)

 

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