The rain out on Wednesday is starting to look like a blessing in disguise. After the blow out loss to the Diamondbacks last night, the Cubs losing streak has hit four games in a row, and guarantees that Chicago will not finish the month of April at .500. If the game was not considered over after a seven running first inning for Arizona, it definitely was by the end of the third inning when the scoreboard read 10-1 in favor of the home team.
The Cubs “ace” Ryan Dempster continued his horrible start to the 2011 season and reached rock bottom with the shortest outing of his career, having only gone 1/3 of an inning. There really is no one else to blame for this loss, as all seven runs were earned and Dempster made life difficult for himself by issuing four walks. His ERA now stands at 9.58 for the season.
Chicago as a city is surely anxious for the calendar to flip over to May in hopes of putting the seemingly daily rainstorms behind us, but Dempster is hoping a new month will bring brighter days performance wise on the mound. There has to be some concern over the start Dempster has gotten off to, and as of right now, it may be looking like his last season as a Cub.
Justin Berg was roughed up for the first time since his call up last weekend, but to be fair, he was brought into the strange situation of having to pitch in the first inning instead of in the middle of a ballgame. After his 3 2/3 innings of work, manager Mike Quade is basically looking to just get through the game without having to blow his entire bullpen on a game they have slim chances of coming back in. Jeff Samardzija posted a scoreless frame despite issuing two walks and Carlos Marmol was given an inning of work. Hopefully the move to bring in the closer does not back fire with the Cubs being in save situations in the remaining games of the series in Phoenix, although at least that means the Cubs have a chance to win.
Kosuke Fukudome is one Cub that probably does not want the calendar to change from April to May. A few days ago Quade joked that each month for the rest of the season, he was going to put a calendar in Fukudome’s locker that would only show the month of April. The Japanese outfielder was on base three times on an 1 for 2 night with two walks to bring his batting average to .460. Starlin Castro found himself in the two hole since Darwin Barney was given an off day as the starting second baseman, but he went 1 for 4 while leaving six runners on base. Again, there has to be some concern that the line up musical chairs that has found the young short stop doing most of the moving may be hurting the kid’s ability to just settle into a comfort zone.
The three spot in the batting order seems to be the Bermuda Triangle for the Cubs right now. Whom ever has been in that spot has struggled to be the impact bat the line up needs, no matter how hot the particular player has been so far this season. Last night the hot hitting Jeff Baker was inserted in that role, only to go 0 for 4. The only highlight from the quiet offensive night came off the bat of Cubbies Crib reader least favorite Koyie Hill, who launched a solo home run into the right field seats against his old team. The homer was only Hill’s second hit of the season in limited action, with the first being a bunt single back on April 16th. Some credit for the silencing of the Cubs bats has to go to the Arizona defense, as there were a couple diving catches from the outfield unit, one which most likely saved a base clearing double off the bat of Castro that could have made it a 10-4 ballgame at the time.