The boom-or-bust Cubs were a bust Sunday night on ESPN, continuing their pattern of inconsistent play. The Cubs did the right thing by sending Rich Hill to the minor leagues, now Lou has to sack up and make some other tweaks, just like he did last season. First off, Jason Marquis has got to go. He is terrible. Usually he is good for a few months before going into a tailspin. This year, he is just like Rich Hill. You have no idea what you are going to get. Most of the time, it is just bad. Marquis went 5.1 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks. That’s twelve base runners in 5.1 innings of work. He would have given up more runs if not for a spectacular play by Derek Lee to rob Chris Duncan with the bases loaded and two outs with a diving backhanded catch. The bases were loaded because Marquis walked three batters in the first inning. That’s twice in this series with the Cardinals that Cubs starting pitchers loaded the bases without giving up a hit. I wonder if that’s ever happened in a series before? The Cubs got a 2-0 lead in the top of the second after Geovany Soto doubled and Mike Fontenot walked. Reed Johnson hit an RBI double, scoring Soto and moving Fontenot to third. Soriano flied out to get a sac fly. But then Marquis gave it right back to the Cardinals, After getting Yadir Molina to ground out, Marquis gave up four straight singles to Todd Wellmeyer, Ceasar Izturis, Skip Schumaker, and Adam Kennedy to tie the game at 2. It would have been worse if Pujols didn’t ground into a double play.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth and the game tied at two, Marquis screwed up big time. He got the first batter, Wellemeyer, to ground out. He gave up a single to Ceasar Izturis, who is batting .231, but got Schumaker to ground out, moving Iztuis to second. With two outs and Adam Kennedy at the plate and Albert Pujos in the on deck circle, he friggin’ walks Kennedy on five pitches. Predictably, Pujols hit a double, giving the Cards a 4-2 lead.
The Chicago offense again had opportunities but couldn’t get clutch hits. The lineup was
really hurt by the absence of Aramis Ramirez, who is still nusing a sore wrist after getting pegged by Wainwright the other night. Soriano continued to be a drain at the lead off spot, going 1-4 with 2 strikeouts. The ESPN commentators mentioned how Soriano was not catching up to the fastball. Derek Lee had an even more frustrating night, going 0-5, popping out with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. Fukudome couldn’t get a hit and left plenty of men on base. Mark DeRosa was 0-4, leaving five men on base. During the Cubs struggles the last few weeks, DeRosa’s average has been dropping like a rock. Right now he is at .267/
Crawly’s Managerial Advise to Lou
Now I know that Lou is 14th on the alltime wins list, and Crawly has never even managed a 16 inch softball team, but I feel I must give some advise to Lou. So I will address him directly;
Now Lou, I know you are smart and will make the right decisions like you did so often in 2007. I am here to give you some advise to improve the 2008 Cubs.
Number 1- Don’t allow players to determine if they need minor league rehabs assignments. Send them down and don’t bring them up until they can catch up to a fastball. Soriano is doing much more harm then good right now. I have no doubt that Soriano is best served as a leadoff man,but the rust of not playing for a few weeks is really showing. If it continues, look for Soriano to get booed mercilessly during the upcoming ten game homestand. Soriano’s .254 on-base percentage as a leadoff man was the worst among everyday NL leadoff men entering Sunday. Corey Patterson’s .259 was second-worst to Soriano.
Number 2-Get Ronnie Cedeno and Mike Fontenot more at bats. Rotate Cedeno between short and second and give Fontenot more playing time over DeRosa
Number 3-No more Hill, no more Marquis. Please, I can’t stomach it anymore and by reading your lips when those guys are on the mound, neither can you. I know Hill has good stuff, but he can’t handle it in the big leagues. I know that the reason Marquis was put in the starting rotation to begin with was so that he could have his usual hot start and then you could trade him before he started his second half failures, but it didn’t work. Marquis is stinking up the first half now too. Leave Lieber in the rotation and give Sean Gallagher a chance to start.
Number 4- Sean Marshall should continue to be the primary left handed specialist. He has done a good job and is definately better then Scott Eyre, who should be returning soon. And please, no more Chad Fox call ups
Number 5- No more DeRosa batting sixth. It is obvious that Soto should be batting higher. He has a great eye, has real power, and is driving in a ton of RBI’s. He needs to be behind Fukudome. With Fukudome’s high on base percentage, this will give Soto a chance to drive in more runs.
Thanks for listening Lou
The Cubs now go to Cincy for a three game losing streak. The Reds are hurting, suffering a five game losing streak and 3-7 in their last ten games. They fired their GM, are talking about trading Dunn and Griffey, and Baker is already coming up with lame excuses. They are in last place in the NL central. If we can’t take this series, we are in bigger trouble than we thought.
Monday: 6:10 p.m., WCIU
RH Ryan Dempster (4-0, 3.16) vs. RH Johnny Cueto (1-3, 5.40)
Tuesday: 6:10 p.m., CSN.
RH Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 2.11) vs. RH Aaron Harang (1-4, 2.98)
Wednesday: 11:35 a.m., CSN.
RH Jon Lieber (2-1, 1.86) vs. RH Edinson Volquez (4-1, 1.27)
Let’s try to get on track and put the knock out blow on the Reds