Braves 3, Cubs 0

Box Score / Video Highlights

What Went Wrong

  • Usually whenever I do a recap I include “missed opportunities” on the what went wrong list.  Failing to score with runners in scoring position seems to be a recurring theme for the Chicago Cubs.  Tonight they loaded the bags with one out in the first, but Marlon Byrd bounced into a double play.  In the fifth, the Cubs got three straight singles, but no runs.
  • Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman both went deep against Ryan Dempster.
  • Jair Jurrjens shutout the Cubs in 6.1 innings even though he allowed eight hits.
  • The theme of the night continued when the Cubs worked back-to-back walks to start the ninth inning before strike outs by Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd.  Alfonso Soriano hit a fielder’s choice bouncer up the middle to end it.

What Went Right

  • Ryan Dempster turned in another solid outing but once again did not earn a W.  He was sharp through six innings, with two of the three Braves runs scoring on solo bombs.
  • Tony Campana picked up a pinch hit bunt single.
  • James Russell worked a perfect inning.  I enjoy seeing Russell pitch well because I think he has a chance to be a part of the Cubs future.  If it weren’t for the Cubs trying to make him into a starter he would have much better numbers this season.
  • Jeff Samardzija also continued a good year (3.25 ERA) by retiring the side in order in his frame.  Kerry Wood struck out the side in the ninth.  Cub relievers did not allow a base runner in three innings tonight.
  • Aramis Ramirez reached base four times via three singles and a walk.

Other Notes

  • Starlin Castro was not in the Cubs lineup tonight.  He received a “mental day” off.  Mike Quade said before the game that he was disappointed with Castro’s lapse of attention during yesterday’s game.  He also said that youth is no longer and excuse for Starlin.  Blake DeWitt played second base and Darwin Barney moved over to shortstop.
  • Pat Hughes was not in the broadcast booth tonight.  He took a scheduled day off, the fourth time he has missed this season after missing just three games (all due to illness) in his first 15 years as the voice of the Cubs.  Dave Eanet filled in tonight and called the game with Keith Moreland.  This was Pat’s final scheduled day off this season.
  • One year ago today the Cubs and Braves were playing each other at Wrigley, just like tonight.  That game was Lou Piniella’s last one as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
  • Koyie Hill has become a personal catcher for Ryan Dempster.  Hill caught Dempster the fifth straight time tonight.
  • The Chicago Tribune issued a report before the game that said that the Cubs have been trying to contact Greg Maddux since Friday but he has not returned their calls.  They would like to keep him in the organization, but he was very close to Jim Hendry.
  • Carlos Pena is rumored to be among the Cubs placed on waivers.

The Takeaway

The Cubs continued to struggle in RBI spots tonight.  They stranded 15 on base and wasted a good effort by the pitching staff.  The Cubs had men in scoring position in seven different innings, but they failed to scratch out a tally.  Jurrjens has good stuff, so tonight you just have to tip your cap to him and go back at it tomorrow.

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

1st Star – Jair Jurrgens (.353 WPA)

2nd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.154 WPA)

3rd Star – Freddie Freeman (.112 WPA)

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