As I wrote, the Cubs could have won yesterday game against Sidney Ponson and the Cardinals, but they blew it. They had every opporunity to win, but didn’t have confidence to take the gift that the Cardinals gave them. There are three people to blame for this loss; Aramis, Glendon, and Dusty/Larry Rothchild.
-Aramis is the only deep threat the Cubs have left, yet team have absolutly no fear of him. They go right at him. Why wouldn’t they? He’s batting .189. This is the same problem we had with Sammmy in 2004. You can’t have you clean up hitter not being able to hit his own weight. Ramirez had numerous opportunities to put the Cubs in a good postition to win this game. I know he was called out on a bad call by the first base ump, but still he needs to pick it up. He knows this.
-Glendon Rusch was pitching beautifully. I was watching the first four innings, thinking about how I would apologize to Glendon on this blog for tearing him apart lately. Then he completely falls apart. He walked the eighth and ninth hitters, So Taguchi and pinch-hitter John Rodriguez, with two outs in the inning. Neither of these guy are good hitters. In fact, they are mediocre. Now you put runners in scoring postition for the top of the line up. David Eckstein followed with an RBI single to tie the game. Rusch then walked Hector Luna, another mediocre hitter to load the bases. The trick to beating the Cardinals is not allowing Pujols the opportunity to beat you. Rusch was given the hook and Scott Williamson came in to face Pujols, who singled to center to drive in the go-ahead runs. Giving up a single to Pujols is getting off light. You can’t blame Williamson for giving up a single to the hottest hitter in the game. You blame Rusch, yet another Cubs starter who couldn’t get through five innings.
-I liked Dusty putting Cedeno in the two spot in the line up, but come on Dusty, John Mabry hitting fifth? That was embarassing. I want to know what Rothchild is doing with this pitching staff. I know it is not the greatest staff, but this is ridculous. Zambrano, Rusch, Williams, are big leaguers with years of experience. All three have said that they have lost concentration in a game. How do you "lose concentration" or "lose focus"? Rothchild better do something, whether he asks Baker/Hendry to call up some other pitchers from Iowa, or else start giving these guys some of Scott Eyre’s Ritalin to keep these pitchers focused. Marshall is a rookie who never threw in a Triple-A game before. You can’t blame him, but these other three are killing this team. Zambrano shows signs of improvement, but Williams and Rusch don’t. Our pitchers have got to stop walking mediocre hitters. Rothchild needs to start doing something. Jim Hendry spent a lot of cash to give us a quality bullpen. Now, because of the injuries to the BrokeArm Mountain Boys and the poor outings by Rusch, Williams, and Zambrano, along with the in experience of Marshall, this bullpen is being overworked. These bullpen guys can only work in a limited amount of innings. Overwork them and they will get injured or become ineffective. Take a look at Eric Gagne. He was the most dominant closer in the game, yet when he lost his set up guy Guillermo Mota, he was forced to pitch longer outings, two innings rather than one. Now look at him. Stuck on the DL two years in a row. Don’t be surprised if the same thing doesn’t happen to a few of these guys in the bullpen if this keeps up. Now we are asking Maddux to give us another miracle. Sooner or later, the bubble is going to burst. Maddux is not going to go 32-0 this season.
Look at the line for yesterday’s game. The Cubs had one run on six hits with no errors. The Cards had 4 runs on 4 hits and one error, yet the Cubs are the ones that lose. Why? Six walks, four by Rusch. The Cubs let one slip away. You could see they were pressing, especially when Walker tried to stretch a single into a double and was nailed by six feet. The Cubs need to get their acts together quick. A win would have had them a game and a half behind Houston. Instead they are now two and a half behind the ‘Stros. They cannot start to slip away. This team needs to do some deep soul searching.