Remember mid-April, how everything was so perfect? Every break went our way and we could do no wrong. Not any more, as the Cubs continue to slide, losing to the Reds 5-3 on Monday night. How many ways can the Cubs find to lose a game? Here’s one for you. The Cubs pitchers did not give up a single earned run, but still lost the game. The offense has continued to struggle, especially with the absence of Aramis Ramirez, who had to cut his batting practice short because of the pain he still feels in his wrist. The defense really failed the Cubs, as errors led to all 5 runs.
Nearly every break went against the Cubs, starting with the first inning. After getting Ryan Freel to strike out to start the game, Ryan Dempster gave up an infield single to Ken Griffey Jr. Then Brandon Phillips got an infield single. Joey Votto hit a ball to Mike Theriot that should have ended the inning, but as he was turning to make the double play, the ball flew out of his glove and everyone was safe, loading the bases with one out. Dempster then walked Edwin Encarnacion to give the Reds a 1-0 lead Dempster got Adam Dunn to strike out, but with two outs, Jeff Keppinger hit a broken bat, seeing eye single that went between three Cubs, and gave the Reds a 3-0 lead. Lou must have been reading this blog, because he finally moved Soto to the fifth spot, before Mark DeRosa. With Ramirez out, Fukudome hit fourth and Soto hit fifth. Soto responded by going three for three with a solo home run in the second to trim the lead to 3-1. Unfourtunately, another error would cost the Cubs another two runs. With two outs in the third, Encarnacion hit a ball to DeRosa that should have ended the inning, but he couldn’t make the play. The next batter, Dunn, hit a ball that still hasn’t landed and the Cubs were down 5-1.
As usual, the Cubs fought back, chipping away at the Red’s lead. But the Cubs continued to blow chances. After Felix Pie walked in the fifth, Ryan Dempster bunted into a double play. With two outs, Soriano hit a single. Ryan Theriot doubled, making it 5-2 Cubs. Derek Lee singled, scoring Theriot and the Cubs had a nice little rally going. Unfortunately, Fukudome had a bad game and flied out to right to end the inning. Fukudome was 0-4, striking out twice. Mark DeRosa was even worse, going 0-3, striking out all three times, and leaving three runners on base. His average is now down to .259.
The dagger to the heart of Cubs fans came in the ninth. With big free agent acquisition Francisco Cordero on the mound, the Cubs got back to back singles by Fontenot and Pie. Dary Ward lined out on an at’em ball. He hit the ball hard, but right at Corey Patterson. Miraculously, Soriano walked, loading the bases with one out. But then, a slider got away from the catcher Paul Bako, and Fontenot tried to score but was easily thrown out. With two outs, Theriot walked, but Derek Lee grounded out to first to end the game.
Now the Cubs are down 1-0, and they face two of the best Reds pitchers in Aaron Harang and Edison Volquez. The Reds had lost five in a row and were reeling. This win took a lot of weight off their shoulders and you can be sure the Reds will be ready to play tomorrow. Our stopper, Carlos Zambrano will be pitching tomorrow, and all the pressure is on him to deliver, and Carlos always struggles against the Reds, especially Adam Dunn. Luckily, the Cubs are not to far out of first, but if this gets much worse, we may need to hit the panic button, The Cubs have to now win the next to games to take the series. If they don’t that will be four series losses in a row, and they will then face the best team in baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks, at home this weekend. When the 2008 Cubs schedule came out, I wrote in previous posts that the Cubs had to do well during the mid April to mid May stretch, but so far they have failed miserably. All we can do is hope the Cubs get going soon.
Go Cubs! (please)