How bad can it get on the north side in 2010? Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Cubs find new ways to lose. The Cubs dropped the opener to the A’s 9-5 after waiting out an hour and forty minute rain delay before the start of the game. Everything unraveled for the Cubs in the top of the 4th inning of a scoreless game. After Carlos Zambrano issued a walk, a single and another walk to load the bases with nobody out, Big Z gave up a run scoring single to Mark Ellis. Big Z coaxed a force out at home plate to keep the bases loaded with 1 out and a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage. But then Derrek Lee did something he had never done in his entire career — he committed fielding errors on back-to-back infield groundballs allowing 3 unearned runs to score. Instead of getting out of the inning with a 1-run deficit, the Cubs found themselves in a 4-0 hole. Not a good thing for a scuffling team.
Big Z actually helped his team get back into it in the bottom of the 5th inning with a run scoring single. He came around to score the Cubs’ 2nd run on Starlin Castro’s single. But he gave back the run in the top of the 6th inning on a single and a double to lead off the inning. Big Z ended up going 6 innings, giving up 5 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks. He also had 4 K’s.
The 7th inning brought more poor pitching from Jeff Stevens (3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 1 walk) and more poor fielding from Tyler Colvin (2 fielding errors that led to an unearned run).
Tyler Colvin was the only Cubs player to have more than 1 hit – he also had the lone HR for the Cubs in the 8th inning. The Cubs lineup also had 9 strikeouts with only 2 walks.
Questionable Move of the Night – The Cubs had just cut the A’s lead to 5-4 with an RBI double from Chad Tracy and an RBI single from Koyie Hill with 2 outs in the 6th inning. Hill even advanced to 2nd base on the throw home, getting into scoring position with the tying run. So why did Manager Lou Pinella elect to stay with Zambrano at the plate instead of going with a pinch-hitter. Especially since Pinella replaced Big Z with Stevens in the top of the inning, it seemed like a perfect time to use a Xavier Nady or Jeff Baker against the lefty Blevins to try to get the tying run home. Pinella never gave a clear answer, throwing even more confusion into the disastrous night at the Friendly Confines.
Not sure how much more we can take of this awful play from the Cubs. Manager Lou Pinella must be just about ready to hand in his resignation papers at this point – I know I would be…