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It didn’t take long for the stands at Wrigley to clear after this one.


CHICAGO- Sometimes having momentum on your side just isn’t enough in the game of baseball. That statement held true for the Cubs tonight as they just couldn’t stop the red hot St. Louis Cardinals starting line up.

Travis Wood was almost powerless against Yadier Molina and company as he gave up 3 runs and 11 hits in just 5.2 innings of work. The Cubs would use five of the six pitchers in their bullpen once Wood hit the showers.

Pedro Strop, Matt Guerrier, James Russell, Blake Parker, Michael Bowden and Kevin Gregg combined to throw for 3.1 innings this evening. But they fared a lot worse than Wood as they gave up 7 runs on 11 hits in that span.

The worst of it all was when Kevin Gregg gave up the final four runs in the top of the ninth. He coughed up an RBI single to Cardinals left fielder Allen Craig, followed by a three-run home run to all-star catcher Yadier Molina.

The Kevin Gregg who converted his first 11 save attempts since re-joining the Cubs in May, looked more like the 2009 Kevin Gregg who was eventually benched for former Cub Carlos Marmol. Molina had an all-star night as he went 4-for-6 and led his team with 4 runs batted in to go with that ninth inning homer.

Craig also had the hot bat as he went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter and Michael Freese had two hits each with three combined RBI’s. The Cubs pitching was just part of the problem. There were some defensive miscues that also assisted in tonight’s loss.

In the top of the fourth, Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena had a ground ball come his way. All he needed to do was throw it to Anthony Rizzo at first to stop a potential Cardinals rally {they were already up 2-1 at this point}. Instead, Valbuena let the ball roll past him hoping it would go foul since it was along the line.

Unfortunately, the umpire ruled it fair and this allowed a run to score to give the Cards’ a 3-1 lead. Then in the top of the seventh inning, Anthony Rizzo would be the poster child for disdain. Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams hits one all the way back to the left field wall.

Alfonso Soriano got to it quickly, then hit Starlin Castro who was the cutoff man in short left field. But when Castro threw it to try to get David Freese at home plate, Rizzo jumped in front of the pitchers mound and scooped up the ball for what easily could have been a potential out at home plate.

Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro was visibly upset with Rizzo on the field as that gave the red birds a 6-3 lead. The Cubs did try one last attempt to keep pace with their arch-rivals after Darwin Barney hit a two-run home run {his 6th of the year} in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at six.

Afterwards was when Kevin Gregg literally threw it all the way. He takes the loss and is now 2-2 on the year. The Cubs also picked up their 19th blown save on the season thanks to an awful 7th inning by Matt Guerrier. Adam Wainwright pitched 6 innings for St. Louis and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits.

But closer Edward Mujica would get his second victory of the year {after ironically giving up his second blown save of the year with the Barney home run} as he was lights out in the ninth inning. Bad pitching aside, there were many parts of the Cubs offense that concerned me.

Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo {the top of the Cubs order tonight} combined for a dismal 3-for-9 and did not contribute to any of the Cubs six runs tonight. Alfonso Soriano also blanked as he went 0-for-5, while Dioner Navarro went 1-for-3.

Overall, it just turned out to be a bad night for the Cubs. After the game, Travis Wood spoke to the media and praised the Cardinals offense. “They have a great lineup from top to bottom” Wood said, “They have a great team, they did an outstanding job.”

Perhaps the only good in all of this is that Wood who finished the first half of the season with 17 quality starts {the Cubs record before the all-star break is 18}, is the only Cub that will be in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. As to whether or not Wood will actually pitch he said, “If it happens, it happens. I am available.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Wood will pitch no more than one inning if called upon. While the Cubs will make good use of the all-star break to rest and heal injuries, the front office could be very busy. When the Cubs take the field in Colorado on Friday night, the roster could look very different.

During tonight’s game, NBC Sports was reporting that the Cubs were unable to negotiate a contract extension with pitcher Matt Garza. The report said he could be traded any day now.  The Cubs could also move Alfonso Soriano before it’s all said and done. This is of course providing that he waives his no trade clause.

The Cubs may also try to move David DeJesus when he is healthy. But for now, let us enjoy the All-Star Game while the rest of the Cubs rest up and prepare for the second half of the season. Here is the box score from tonight’s game.

For all things sports you can follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82


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