This is such a joke. The Cubs lost to the Pirates 4-3 at home on Saturday afternoon. They have now dropped 8 of their last 10 games and they are just 8-10 at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in 2010. In short, this season is only 37 games old and it is already turning into a comedy of errors. Whether it be horrible relief pitching… Whether it be the lack of ANY clutch hitting when the game is on the line or when the Cubs have a chance to blow games open in the early innings… Or whether it be poor starting pitching when the Cubs offense actually comes through with some runs… This team simply does not know how to win.
For a 2nd straight day, a Cubs starting pitcher put his team in an early hole with a 3-run 1st inning deficit. And just like on Friday with Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Dempster recovered after the shaky 1st inning and kept his team in the ball game. Dempster ended up pitching 7 innings giving up just those 3 1st inning runs on 4 hits and 5 walks. Dempster did ring up 9 K’s and he has a solid ERA (3.49) and WHIP (1.09) despite a 2-4 record.
But once again, the Cubs bats managed just 2 runs through the games 1st 8 innings. Not good. The Cubs had more than 2 runners on base only once during that stretch — in the 3rd inning. After Dempster doubled and Ryan Theriot singled to put 1st and 3rd with nobody out, Marlon Byrd lined out and Derrek Lee popped out to put pressure on Aramis Ramirez to drive in runs with a hit with 2 outs. Granted, Ramirez did come through with a clutch 2-run double, but the Cubs should have scored more than 2 runs with the middle of their lineup coming up in that situation. If Ramirez didn’t get that hit, it likely would have been a shutout on the north side on Saturday. Then there was the missed opportunity in the 9th inning (Carlos Marmol serving up a home run to Jeff Clement in the top of the inning proved costly as it gave the Pirates a 2-run lead). Starlin Castro walked with 1 out and came around to score on Kosuke Fukudome’s triple to right field. All Ryan Theriot had to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to score Fukudome from 3rd base with only 1 out, but he struck out and Marlon Byrd followed suit to end the threat.
This is getting pretty ridiculous for the Cubs. They clearly have NO confidence that they can win close games down the stretch. They are in 5th placed in the NL Central with an awful 15-22 record – this from the highest payrolled team in the National League. Talk about under-performing?! Don’t look now, but the Cubs are just 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros who have the worst record in the NL. If we hit that low-water mark, look for major moves on the north side – namely a Lou Pinella or JiM Hendry firing.
Can Ted Lilly break the slide today at Wrigley. My bet is a big fat NO!