Boy do I love to gloat – was I right on the money with my prediction of a Reds’ sweep of the Cubs over the weekend or what? This team is just getting way to easy to read these days.
There really isn’t much to say about either game.
Saturday 8/7/10 – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – Randy Wells pitched well but ran out of steam in the 8th inning when the Reds came through with the clutch hits that the Cubs could not during the game. Daniel Stubbs led off the 8th inning with a home run that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead. Wells allowed the next 2 batters to reach base, but Justin Berg got a double play to put the Cubs into position to get out of the inning only down 1 run. But Paul Janish came through with a clutch 2-out single that gave the Reds a 3-1 lead late in the game. The Reds tacked on an unearned insurance run in the 9th inning off of Carlos Marmol. Blake DeWitt’s 2-base error allowed Lance Nix to reach 2nd base. Then Stubbs came through with another 2-out single to give the Reds a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final frame. The Cubs would make it interesting in the 9th inning when Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded with only 1 out. Cordero plunked Starlin Castro to force in a run. After a Derrek Lee strikeout, Cordero forced in another run by walking Aramis Ramirez. But he eventually got out of the game by striking out Marlon Byrd to end the game.
Sunday 8/8/10 – Cubs 4, Reds 11 – After a “good” 1st major league start, Thomas Diamond showed his true colors in his 2nd major league start. He had poor control right from the start and that gave the patient hitting Reds team too many early opportunities to tack on runs. Diamond lasted just 3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks. Fellow young pitcher fared equally as bad – Casey Coleman gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in his 3 innings; James Russell gave up an ER on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning; and Mitch Atkins “cleaned up” the mess by allowing 3 ER on 5 hits in his 2 innings. What a joke…
The weekend series sweep is a perfect example of how bad the Cubs season has been. They got fairly good pitching overall (except for Sunday maybe), but got literally NO consistent offense from the lineup. 0 runs in Friday’s 3-0 loss. In Saturday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs got only 6 hits. Their 1st run scored on a sacrifice fly (not a hit) and their last 2 runs scored because Cordero was a complete wreck – the Cubs didn’t even put the ball in play in the 9th inning against Cordero yet they still scored 2 runs. How pathetic. Sunday was even worse. The Cubs did not get their 1st hit of the game off of rookie Travis Wood until Koyie Hill’s single in 1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning. In the 7th inning, Jeff Baker homered for a legitimate run. Then Lee walked and Ramirez doubled him to 3rd base. But then Juan Francisco’s throwing error allowed Lee and Ramirez to score. Now sure, Lee probably would have scored on the ground out even without Francisco’s error and Ranirez likely would have scored on a sacrifice fly during Soriano’s fly out in the next at-bat, but it just seems like the Cub shave to rely on the other team’s mistakes in order to score runs. In the 3-game series, the Cubs scored runs in only 3 of the 27 innings played. And in one of those innings – the 9th inning on Saturday – they only scored 2 runs because Cordero handed it to them on a silve platter with 4 walks and 1 hit batsman. Keep in mind – the Cubs scored 15 runs in 4 different innings in Wednesday’s win over the Brewers – which by the way, is their only win in the last 11 games.
Things have gone from bad to worse for this Cubs squad. I really feel bad for the new Cubs manager during the 2011 MLB schedule. This team as constructed has no confidence in themselves. The team is going to continue to struggle offensively for the forseeable future and the young pitchers that the Cubs keep trotting out in 2010 have not been effective either. This is going to be a work-in-progress, and it’s going to take a patient manager to bring everything together over the next few years as young players mature and bad contracts come off the books (Soriano, Fukudome, Zambrano, Silva) so that Cubs management can slowly bring in new players via free agency to complement the home grown talent.
Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation tonight against the Giants in San Francisco. This is going to be a must-see event. I’m really hoping that Zambrano can pitch well the last 8 starts of the season. If he can show that he has his “head on straight” and that he can still be effective, there could still be some hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a team willing to take a flyer on the problematic Cubs starter. Should be interesting…