Cubs 6, Cardinals 3

Box Score/Highlights

What Went Right

  •  The Sixth Inning Nothing went right offensively for the Cubs through the first 5 innings against Jake Westbrook who took a perfect game into the sixth frame. However, a one-out walk taken by Koyie Hill appeared to wake up the team’s bats. After a Ryan Dempster sacrifice that moved Hill to scoring position, five straight Cubs batters reached base as part of a four-run, two-out rally. With Dempster cruising along on the mound up to that point, it seemed as though four runs would be more than enough for a comfortable win.
  • Inning Ending Double Plays In a turn of fortune from what has been seen regularly this season, it was the Cubs that were the beneficiaries of inning ending, rally-killing double plays. The Cardinals put the tying run in scoring position in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Sean Marshall inherited runners on first and second with no outs, but induced two straight grounders to escape danger. The following inning, Kerry Wood entered with one out and Albert Pujols on first, but made a great behind-the-back play on a Matt Holliday grounder to start a 1-6-3 double play.
  • Carlos Marmol When he’s bad, he’s bad…but when he’s good, he’s awfully fun to watch. Despite allowing a one-out single to David Freese in the ninth, it was clear Marmol had is good stuff on Sunday. A pair of bookend punch-outs surrounded the Freese single and a routine fly ball to centerfield, as Marmol and his sharp slider collected save number 20 on the season.

 What Went Wrong

  • The Sixth Inning (plus) – Perhaps he lost his rhythm following the Cubs offensive outburst in the top of the inning, but Ryan Dempster gave the Cardinals back three runs in the bottom of the sixth after being spotted a four run lead in the top of the inning. Much like his counterpart on the Cards, Dempster was rolling along through the first five innings. He had allowed just two hits prior to  Skip Schumaker’s lead off single in the sixth. Albert Pujols (a double) and Lance Berkman (three-run home run) did the heavy lifting for the Cards as they made a big dent in the Cubs’ newfound lead. The seventh inning didn’t start much better for Dempster, as he allowed the first two batters to reach base before being lifted for Marshall.

 Misc. Notes

  • The Cubs entered the game on a six game losing streak against the Cardinals and were 0-5 at Busch Stadium this year.
  • There was a brief interruption in the eighth inning as two fans jumped the fence and decided to take a lap around the outfield.  I understand why TV networks have stopped showing video footage when this happens, but I don’t see the point if the broadcast team is going to provide play-by-play as it occurs. If we’re supposed to ignore that it’s happening, we should completely ignore it.
  • I was chomping at the bit to second guess Mike Quade in the eighth inning when he left Marshall on the hill to face Pujols instead of bringing in the right-handed Wood. Pujols has better career numbers agains Wood, but it just felt like the type of decision that was going to come back to haunt the Cubs. In the end, Pujols singled, setting up Wood’s slick defensive play to end the inning.

 The Takeaway

Well folks, pending any (unlikely) waiver moves in August, this is your team for the rest of the 2011 season. The trading deadline came and went with the Kosuke Fukudome move being the only deal Jim Hendry was able/decided to make. The Cubs have nothing but pride to play for at this point, and through the first five innings, it looked as though that was out the window as well. Tonight’s game was a perfect microcosm of this team – inept a majority of the time, with a few flashes of offensive fireworks.

Next up is a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates, a team that was a buyer at the trading deadline for the first time in decades. The Cubs will face former first baseman Derrek Lee who was part of a deadline deal for the second straight season. While the Pirates have stumbled a bit of late, a series against the Cubs seems to be just what they’ve needed to get back on the right track during the

 

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

1st Star – Sean Marshall (.289 WPA)

2nd Star – Lance Berkman (.146 WPA)

3rd Star – Kerry Wood (.143 WPA)

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