The old demons are back – the Cubs lost to the Braves 2-0 on Monday night in Atlanta. Despite getting 10 hits and 3 walks, the Cubs left 18 runners on base and got shut out. Beautiful. Andres Blanco led the Cubs with 4 LOB, while Kosuke Fukodome, Jake Fox and Derrek Lee each had 3 LOB. Fox had 2 hits filling in for Alfonso Soriano in left field, but they never came at the right time. Same could be said for Blanco who also had 2 hits. There were 5 innings in which the Cubs had at least 2 runners reach base, but they could never push over a run.
Ryan Dempster pitched well enough to earn a win, but Manager Lou Pinella may have left him in the game too long. Down 1-0 after 6 innings, Pinella opted to let Dempster lead off the top of the 7th inning – he made an out. The next 2 Cubs reached base, but Fox and Lee failed to move them home. Who knows what would have happened if Pinella had sent up a pinch-hitter instead of Dempster. Then Dempster got into trouble in the bottom of the 7th inning, allowing the Braves 2nd run of the game on a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly. Pinella then pulled Dempster after 118 pitches, 8 hits, 4 walks and 6 K’s. While it was another quality start for Dempster, he was constantly working out of jams from the 3rd inning on and he fell to 4-5 on the season.
Pinella gave Milton Bradley and Soriano the night off to get ready for interleague play this week against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. The Cubs did not lose any ground in the NL Central race as the New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals at CITI Field in New York. The Cards still lead the Cubs by 2.5 games.