The Cubs cannot just lose games, they always have to do it in the most frustrating ways. Today’s 4-3 loss to the Reds was another exercise in bad offense, but one that should have resulted in a Cubs’ win anyway. It was the Cubs’ 26th one run loss this season.
The Cubs did their best to avoid a ninth inning rally, but Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded and hit a batter before Dusty Baker removed him from the game. Reliever Nick Masset replaced Cordero to face the middle of the Cubs’ order. He struck out Derrek Lee, walked Aramis Ramirez, allowing the Cubs’ third run, and then ended the rally by striking out Marlon Byrd. Despite sending eight batters to the plate in the ninth, and spending a good portion of that inning with the bases loaded, the Cubs did not put a single ball in play.
Randy Wells put together a quality start, but when he had to run the bases in the bottom of the seventh he got tired, and he lost it in the eighth. He finished with seven-plus innings pitched, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He left the game in the eighth inning after giving up a solo homer to Drew Stubbs, and then allowed Ramon Hernandez and Chris Heisey to reach base. Justin Berg relieved Wells, and got Brandon Phillips to ground into a double play, which helped limit the damage. A two-out single by the next batter, Paul Janish, gave the Reds a 3-1 lead.
An error by new second baseman Blake DeWitt opened the door for the Reds’ fourth run of the game. With Carlos Marmol pitching the ninth, DeWitt’s error allowed Laynce Nix to reach second base. Drew Stubbs drove Nix in with a single, giving the Reds the eventual winning run. Marmol pitched well otherwise, but the Cubs continue to have issues fielding the ball. Coming into today’s game the Cubs 83 errors were the third most in baseball, in front of only Washington and Florida.
As you can tell, Drew Stubbs was the Reds’ star of the game. Stubbs, who was/is in danger of being sent to AAA, went 3-4 with a solo homer and two RBI. This season he has torched the Cubs a number of times, his homer today was his fifth against the Cubs this season, and he has 16 of his 51 RBI against the Cubs as well. Stubbs has perhaps replaced Joey Votto as the main Cubs killer, Votto had a rough day at the plate going 0-4, and hasn’t been as awesome as usual against the Cubs this season.
If you are looking for a hitter to blame for the Cubs’ struggles today, I’ll give you two, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd. They were the two who struck out in the ninth with the bases loaded, and left a total of nine men on base. Koyie Hill’s 0-3 effort with 5 LOB didn’t help, but we have long known that Hill can’t be counted on to provide any sort of offense.
It was just another frustrating loss for Cubs’ fans, yet another strong starting pitching performance that was hindered by a pathetic showing from the offense. Thomas Diamond will try and salvage a game in the series tomorrow, it will be the second start of his career. Diamond will go against fellow rookie Travis Wood, a left hander, who has a 2.42 ERA in seven starts this season.