I am really starting to like digging deeper into the Cubs woes in 2010. At this point, it is just as much psychological as it is physical. The Cubs clearly have a HUGE mental block right now, as they drop another 1-run game, this time in extra innings. This one was even tougher to take because of Tyler Colvin’s heroics in the bottom of the 8th inning. Down 2-0 after having ZERO scoring chances in the game’s 1st 7 innings, Colvin came through with a clutch 2-run single that tied the game at 2-2. Colvin smartly advanced to 2nd on the throw home and then moved over to 3rd base after Mike Fontenot singled to shallow left field. But once again, a Cubs veteran failed to come through with a runner on 3rd base and less than 2 outs as Derrek Lee hit into an inning-ending double play. All we needed was a fly ball, a little single somewhere, a slow ground ball out, an error! But no, Lee has to hit into the double-play.
You knew the Cubs would find a way to lose the game. They actually almost did in the top of the 9th as Carlos Marmol loaded the bases with only 1 out, but he struck out Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto to end the threat. They eventually did lose the game as Bob Howry gave up a 1-out single and then Sean Marshall picked a bad time to have his worst outing of the season. Marshall faced 4 hitters giving up 2 hits, a walk and a run-scoring fielder’s choice play that sealed the Cubs fate. The Cubs did manage to get 2 on in the 10th inning on a Starlin Castro single and Koyie Hill walk, but Colvin grounded into a game-ending double play to end the threat.
But back to my main point. This team clearly does not have any confidence whatsoever. They get good pitching, but can’t push across enough runs. And when they do score enough runs, there always seems to be a collapse by the starting pitcher in the late innings or the bullpen in a tight game.
That being said, I really feel like a huge problem for the Cubs is the lack of consistent hitting. Take a look at the last 2 games:
2-0 loss to Pirates on Wednesday – Brad Lincoln was making only his 5th career major league start. In his 1st 2 starts he allowed 5 ER in each game with 6 innings pitched. In his 3rd and 4th starts, he allowed 3 ER in each game and a combined 16 hits. The kid clearly struggled against the likes of “poor-hitting” major league teams – the Nationals, White Sox, Indians and A’s. But hey, against the Cubs, the kid looks like the next Cy Young, as he pitches 7 scoreless innings while giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk with 6 K’s. In his previous 4 starts, he tallied only a total of 8 K’s! Gimme a break. Lincoln picked up his 1st major league win against the Cubs after going 0-2 to start his major league career.
3-2 loss to Reds today – Travis Wood was making his major league debut! Through 7 innings, the Cubs managed just 2 hits and a walk off of Wood. When Wood allowed back-to-back walks to start the 8th inning, Reds’ Manager Dusty Baker pulled the youngster and the Cubs eventually plated the 2 runners that had reached via Wood’s walks. But up until that point, Wood had dominated a major league ball club with a payroll of over $140 million and he should have gotten the win if not for an inept Nick Massett. That would have been back-to-back losses for the Cubs to young, inexperienced pitchers getting their 1st career major league wins.
It is a pretty dire situation for the Cubs right now. Looks for lots of moves very very soon…