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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