For 15 innings, Cubs pitchers completely throttled the Reds bats. Last night, the Good Guys could only muster three hits, all off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, in a 3-1 loss. Today, things looked even more grim.
Ryan Dempster duplicated Samardzija’s feat, but took it a step further. Dempster did not even allow a run in his 8 innings of work. The 9th inning would see the Reds plate three runs off Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who might be taking on a new role within the Cubs ‘pen.
Last evening, Marmol retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the 9th to notch just his second save of the season. He threw 15 pitches (10 strikes). Marmol would not be so fortunate today.
One thing all the NL is aware of is the fact that Marmol has control issues. He’s fallen in love with his slider. It is devastating…when he’s on. When he’s not, he can gift a game to the opponent. And Marmol did that.
Heading into the 9th of today’s game, the Reds sent the trio of Willie Harris, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to face Marmol. Harris walked on five pitches. Marmol would walk Votto on four pitches. Yes, nine pitches, eight were for balls. When BP came to the plate, he took a call strike on the first pitch. The next pitch, Phillips hit the ball to Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart.
The ball either took a wacky bounce or Stewart took his eye off the ball in an attempt to go to third in an effort to force Harris. Or both. The ball got by Stewart into left field and Harris scored. Reds were still trailing 3-1 as Jay Bruce strode to the plate. Had to figure a pitch was coming down the pike. It did and Bruce laced a single to right. No one could score as Bruce hit it so hard. Bases loaded, no outs.
Ryan Ludwick to bat. One thing I’ve notice as of late is that Ludwick has been a little on the impatient side. Not today. Ludwick was ahead in the count 3-0 before Marmol (yes, he was still in the game, thank goodness) fought back to a full count. All that work went for nothing as Ludwick took a breaking ball inside for ball four, forcing in a run. Bases loaded, still no outs and the Reds were only down 3-2.
Marmol’s “work” was done. He retired no one and threw only 18 pitches (6 strikes) in the construction of the mess.
Devin Mesoraco was coaxed into a double play by Rafael Dolis, but the Reds pushed across the tying run as BP scored from third. There was still a chance…as Wilson Valdez came to bat with Bruce at third.
We were fooled. And fooled badly at that. Valdez looked just as foolish in swinging at two pitches clearly outside the strike zone. At least the game was tied.
Logan Ondrusek pitched the 10th and retired the Cubs on 12 pitches and that included walking a batter. He would eventually be awarded with the win, but he got a little defensive help.
Cozart would then lead off the bottom of the 10th with a single. Chris Heisey came to the plate for an obvious sacrifice situation. After being unsuccessful in his first attempt, he put the ball on the ground the next pitch. Dolis fielded the ball, but in a lackluster effort to throw the ball to first, he hit Heisey in the back and all hands were safe. Even more damaging was that Cozart advanced to third.
Another defensive substitution came to the plate, Scott Rolen. After taking the first pitch from Dolis for a ball, Rolen lifted the pitch into right field which was caught by David DeJesus. Didn’t matter. It was deep enough for Cozart to cross the plate and “award” the Reds a 4-3 win. Make no mistake about it. It was a 4-3 gift.
Walks and errors led to the win. The Reds bats had little to do with it. The Cubs outhit the Reds 10-5 on this day and 20-8 for the series. Despite today’s win, the bats went eerily quiet.
Better to be lucky than good doesn’t even apply to today’s win.
I’m never one to complain about lineups, but today’s starting lineup was completely off kilter…
Heisey 8, Harris 5, Votto 3, Phillips 4, Bruce 9, Ludwick 7, Mesoraco 2, Valdez 6, Bailey 1
Harris batting second? Wait, Dusty, isn’t that batting two lefties in a row? That’s illogical, right?
I know you’re thinking “hey, we won”, and if not for the gift of win from the Cubs D and ‘pen, you wouldn’t be saying that. The “hey, we won” would normally be my line (or tweet)
Logic might have been having Valdez second and Harris eighth provided you’re sitting both Cozart and Rolen.
But I don’t have experience in that sort of stuff. Someone has a lot…