The Cubs blew a perfect opportunity to pick up ground on the Reds & Cards, but lost to the Dodgers 3-2. Instead of moving up to “just” 9.5 games behind the Reds and 6.5 games, behind the Cards (who had both lost already), the Cubs stayed put in the standings. This game – like so many others – have summed up how frustrating a year it has been for the club and Cubs fans alike.
Cubs starter pitches a great 6 or 7 innings, but because of a “weak” bullpen, Manager Lou Pinella opts to keep him in a batter or 2 too long. Wells had dominated the Dodgers for 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run. He gave up a lead off single to Russell Martin and while Pinella might have mad a move then with a deeper staff, he had to let Wells finish it out. Wells did get the next 2 batters out, but Rafael Furcal hit a 2-run home run that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead. It was only Furcal’s 6th homer of the season. And as so often has happened this season, a close Cubs lead of 1 or 2 runs turned into another frustrating nightmare as the opposition rallied for a late run or 2.
The Cubs were stymied for most of the night by Clay Kershaw, but they got 7 hits off of him. They scored on an Alfonso Soriano solo home run and a Geovany Soto RBI single, but that was it. In a game that the Cubs knew would be close, the 3rd inning was particularly frustrating. With 1 out, Ryan Theriot singled to right field, but then got picked off of 1st base by Kershaw. The man at the plate – Marlon Byrd – then singled, but his aggressive base-running forced him to get thrown out at 2nd base. So even though the Cubs got 2 hits in the inning, they didn’t really threaten because of their base-running mistakes. With a team like this that is struggling to score runs (and that has typically struggled to score runs in Los Angeles), you cannot make those mistakes and expect to win.
As I wrote yesterday, the Cubs really needed to win 3 of 4 against the Dodgers to finish off a 6-1 road trip before the All-Star Break. That means they now need to win the final 3 games of this series – which is not going to happen. Let’s just hope that Ted Lilly and Carlos Silva both pitch well to help increase their trade value over the next few weeks….