The Cubs bullpen blew it again. Handed a 6-5 lead after 5 innings, Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Zambrano couldn’t shut the door on the Pirates who have now won all 4 meetings with the Cubs this season. Ouch.
Caridad got into trouble by walking Andrew McCutchen who then stole second to get into scoring position. Garrett Jones drove him in with an RBI double to tie the game at 6.
Carlos Zambrano entered the game with the score still tied at 6 in the 8th inning. He struggled right off the bat. He hit Andy LaRoche and then gave up a single to McCutchen. Garrett Jones broke the tie with a long home run to right field to give the Pirates the 9-6 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Big Z finished out the ugly inning – 4 hits, 1 HBP and 3 ER. You would think an outing like this would force the Cubs to re-consider the Zambrano experiment in the bullpen as we discussed the other day. But unfortunately, it looks Manager Lou Pinella is staying pat. Here was his quote after the game — “We don’t have many options. Outside of Marmol, we haven’t had a right-hander here that gets hitters out with any consistency at all… Right now, that’s where Zambrano is going to be… Carlos can do that job very well if he gets his mind totally set on it. He helps me in so many areas by being out there. It frees me to use other pitchers a lot differently than I would if he weren’t there.” Problem is, I don’t think Carlos is really on board. Check out these statements — “To get this clear, I was unhappy the first day that they told me. I wasn’t sure that it was going to work. But now, I accept it. I’m a reliever now, and I have to do my job as a reliever, as a setup man.. I’ll be here until they need me to be here, and I’ll be the eighth-inning guy until they say ‘That’s enough, we want you to start’… If tomorrow they decide to bring me back to the rotation, I’ll be there. I’ll be more than happy to come back to the rotation.” Does that really sound like a guy that wants to be in the bullpen? I don’t think so, and it’s about time GM Jim Hendry and Pinella figure that out.
The few positives from the loss – Marlon Byrd had 2 hits including his 7th homer of the season. Aramis Ramirez stroked 2 hits as did Alfonso Soriano who also had 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.
Ryan Dempster was hoping to the get the Cubs off to a good start today, but 2 walks set up an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen and a 2-run double by Ryan Church. The Cubs are down 3-0 once again. Unbelievable…