I thought I was having a bad nightmare for a second during the middle of the day yesterday – 9 Reds runs in the 7th inning on only 3 hits? Is that even possible? Unfortunately when you’re dealing with the 2010 Cubs, it is not just possible, it is inevitable.
Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Dempster were cruising through a fast, well-played pitcher’s duel which the Reds led 1-0 through 6 innings at Wrigley Field. Then the wheels fell of for the Cubs in the top of the 7th inning:
Walk; Walk; Mike Fontenot fielding error that allowed the bases to be loaded with no one out.
Dempster strikes out Daniel Stubbs – bases still loaded but 1 out.
Dempster walks the pitcher Arroyo forcing in a run?! 2-0 Reds.
Brian Schlitter replaces Dempster. Schlitter walks in another run. 3-0 Reds.
Schlitter gets 2nd out of inning. Bases Still loaded, but with 2 outs now.
Schlitter passed ball allows a run to score. 4-0 Reds.
So let’s get this straight – the Reds score 3 runs without even getting 1 lousy hit?! How does this happen?!
Schlitter intentionally walks Reds-killer Joey Votto to load bases again.
Now things start to get ugly. Scott Rolen RBI single; Johnny Gomes 2-run double; Ramon Hernandez 2-run double; la-di-da-di-da. Reds 10, Cubs 0.
Jeff Stevens served up a 2-run bomb to Votto in the top of the 8th inning and just like that it was 12-0.
Now granted, the pitching and fielding in the 7th inning left a lot to be desired, but it all comes back to the pitching. Maybe if the Cubs have ONE RUN and more than 2 hits through the game’s first 6 innings, Dempster and the relievers and the fielders would not feel like they need to be perfect out there. In their last 13 games, the Cubs have scored 3 runs or less 11 times and they have been shut out 5 times!!! You cannot wins games this way. The 2 times the Cubs did score 3 runs, they won!!! So it’s not the pitching that is costing them games in 2010. The starting rotation has the 2nd most quality starts in all of baseball in 2010. And the Cubs’ 3.84 team ERA is the 7th best in all of baseball. Something has to give.
The position players need to start hitting and they need to start hitting soon. If not, we could see a lot of faces moving cities in the next few weeks as the trading deadline looms.