The Cubs finished a pretty disappointing, albeit exciting week last night with an 11-inning, 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, which prevented them from sweeping the series.
The near sweep almost allowed us to forget that the Cubs dropped two of three to the Astros in the previous series to all but end any miniscule hope the Cubs had at getting back in the race.
Wednesday’s 12-inning loss was the killer, as the Cubs stranded seven guys in the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings combined.
Only the Cubs could find a way to get that many guys on base (including two straight innings with a runner on third and less than two outs) and not score a run.
Consider this: the Cubs record since the All-Star break is now 6-4.
That includes a Marmol blown save against the Phillies, the extra inning game against the Astros that the Cubs had every opportunity to win, and the extra inning loss to the Cardinals last night that.
It’s very possible the Cubs could have been 9-1 on the homestand, and now we’re looking at a seven-game defecit moving forward instead of being 10 games out.
The most surprising thing about the game last night was that it took the Cardinals five outs before they scored on Brian Schiltter.
I understand that Marshall and Marmol had already been used and Cashner pitched two innings the night before, but Schiltter?
Is our bullpen that bad?
It shows you how little confidence Lou Pinella has in Bob Howry that he let Schlitter (a rookie with a 15.00 ERA) not only start the 10th inning but then go out for the 11th inning as well.
He gave up four hits over those two innings including the game-winning home run to Felipe Lopez.
He somehow managed to get Albert Pujols out to lead off the 10th and then Yadier Molina hit a rocket to second that turned into an inning-ending double play after Schiltter allowed three straight hits.
That was brutal.
Here are the statistical updates:
JULY 11/ JULY 18/ JULY 25
Byrd- .317/ .320/ .312
Castro- .270/ .294/ .307
Fontenot- .292/ .290/ .287
Soto- .284/ .286/ .286
Theriot- .278/ .273/ .281
Soriano- .269/ .272/ .269
Colvin- .263/ .270/ .262
Fukudome- .252/ .251/ .253
Lee- .233/ .238/ .251
Baker-.233/ .246/ .246
Ramirez- .207/ .213/ .227
Nady-.225/ .223/ .224
Hill- .213/ .213/ .204
JULY 11/ JULY 18/ JULY 25
Gorzelanny- 3.16/ 3.12/ 3.22
Dempster-3.61/ 3.57/ 3.71
Silva- 3.45/ 3.45/ 3.86
Lilly- 4.08/ 4.07/ 3.88
Wells- 4.61/ 4.33/ 4.07
Zambrano- 5.66/ EXILE ISLAND
Marshall- 2.03/ 1.91/ 1.74
Cashner- 2.41/ 2.61/ 2.45
Marmol- 2.16/ 2.91/ 2.66
Russell- 3.62/ 4.13/ 4.40
Stevens- 5.71/ 5.71/ 6.11
Atkins- 6.00/ 6.00/ 6.43
Howry- 5.93/ 6.97/ 7.29
Grabow- 7.36/ DL/ DL
Schlitter-Minors/ 15.00/ 10.80
Most Important things:
1) Breaking news! Aramis Ramirez no longer has the lowest non-pitcher batting average on the team!
2) Is it just me or does Marlon Byrd remind you of Glenallen Hill? The overly large biceps, the sunglasses, the odd “my arms are too big to bend my elbows” swing, etc.
Byrd seems to get overly excited in big at-bats. That at-bat last night in the bottom of the 10th with the bases loaded, Franklin could have thrown him anything on the first pitch and he would have swung at it.
3) I think Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro might be really good. Castro has been great in the No. 2 hole so far. I’m not sure where he will be hitting down the road in his career yet. He hasn’t really hit for any power yet, but he does seem to get his share of extra base hits. We’ll see if he starts developing some power or if he could fill that leadoff role with his speed for years to come.
Colvin has done a good job in the leadoff role, but that clearly won’t be where he stays in the years to come. He has shown a lot of power this year and he still has plenty of room to bulk up. I could see him as a middle-of-the-order-type guy in a few years and hitting from the left side makes him even more valuable.
The Cubs finally look like they might have developed some good young talent. Let’s hope they don’t pull a Jerome Walton.
4) The trade deadline is approaching and I would bet that Ted Lilly is wearing a new uniform by Wednesday. My guess is he’ll be a Detroit Tiger. Other Cubs that may be playing their last games with the club: Xavier Nady, Mike Fontenot, Kosuke Fukudome, and Derrek Lee.
5) Lou Pinella announced this week that he will be retiring at the end of this season. You can read more about his possible replacements .
6) The Cubs lead all of baseball in quality starts and yet are nine games under .500. Let that sink in for a while.
The Cubs start a three-game series against the Astros tonight and will miss both Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez in the series.
As if it matters.