Ouch – how the “mighty” have fallen. It looks like the Cubs – the best team in the NL in 2008 – have given up on the 2009 campaign. In a lackluster effort, the Cubs fell to the Padres 6-3. They are now 60-57 and they trail the Cards by 6 games in the NL Central race and the Rockies by 5 games in the NL Wild Card race. These leads are by no means insurmountable, but when you look at the Cubs body language these days, you know it’s over. Wait until next year Cubs fans!
A telling sign – the Cubs faced a rookie pitcher – Cesar Carrillo – in his 2nd major league start. Carrillo had given up 8 ER on 4 hits (3 HR’s) and 2 walks in his 1st major league start just 6 days ago in Milwaukee. Just the type of pitcher the Cubs needed to break out of their offensive woes on the west coast. But it wasn’t meant to be. The Cubs managed 7 hits and 4 walks against Carrillo but never got the big hit that blew an inning wide open. The Cubs had 2 runners on in 4 of the 6 innings Carrillo pitched, but they never scored more than 1 run in an inning. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster had 2 of the Cubs 7 hits on the night and one of the Cubs RBI’s. Gimme a break! Derrek Lee and Jeff Baker each had 2 hits, which means that only 1 other Cub player had a hit – that was Alfonso Soriano who got lucky on a bloop single to left field that scored a run in the 5th inning. Talk about futile. After the Padres took a 4-3 lead on Adrian Gonzalez’ solo home run in the bottom of the 5th inning, you could just see the wind get sucked out of the Cubs’ sails. From the 6th through the 9th innings, the Cubs managed just 1 base runner – a Milton Bradley walk to lead off the 7th inning. Not good.
Ryan Dempster didn’t help matters with another sub-par outing – 4 ER on 8 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings. He did have 10 K’s, but when you lose your 7th game against only 6 wins, does it really matter? Angel Guzman gave up 2 insurance runs to the Padres in his 1 inning of work – on an inside the park home run off the bat of Kyle Blanks that hit off the top of the center field fence and bounced away from center fielder Kosuke Fukodome. Of course, Milton Bradley did a poor job of backing up the play, and Blanks scored easily to give the Padres a commanding 6-3 lead.
The Cubs needed to sweep the Padres this week. The Padres are 51-70 and in last place in the AL West. On paper, the Cubs are clearly better than the Padres, but when you don’t produce on the field, you’re not going to win. The Padres swept the Cubs at Petco Park in a 3 game series back in May, and it looks like they’re going to do the same in August unless Rich Harden throws a complete game shutout tonight against the Padres. I won’t hold my breath…