Bullpen Sputters In Loss to Phillies


Being a Cubs fan is a tough gig.

Some games you have it, some games you don’t.

And then there are some games where your favorite baseball team gives up grand slams in the top of the 9th, which makes you want to go drink an entire of bottle of bleach.

Alas, I never found the bleach, so I might as well keep my job and continue writing about the team that provides us all with so many dizzying high and terrifying lows.

Matt Garza made the start tonight against a rather beat up Philadelphia Phillies squad who lacked a lot of their big power hitters. Theoretically, it should have been easy pickings for Garza but he came out and gave a mediocre performance. Nothing special and certainly nothing overly positive to note. He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB and whiffing 2 before being hooked having thrown 107 pitches.

Garza also committed 2 errors… yes you’re reading correctly.

He made 2 BRUTAL attempts to throw bunt attempts out at first, both of which were embarrassing and painful to watch, but hilarious all at the same time.

This is not a new glitch in his game. Garza continues to struggle with fielding bunts and choppy comebackers. Don’t believe me? Look up “Matt Garza Error” on youtube and see what you find.

This was just the beginning of a vicious mudslide for the Cubs bullpen…

After Garza was pulled, lefty James Russell came in to get the final out of the 6th. He got the job done… after throwing 6 straight balls. Not pretty. To his credit, he did settle in after a mound visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio and earned himself a K to save face.

Shawn Camp was then placed on the mound for the 8th and asked to go to work. He fared half decently, except for giving up a home run on a fat juicy slider right over the top of the plate. Carlos Ruiz was more than happy to send that slider into the bleachers, giving the Phillies the lead and subsequently making me weep. I’m sure it’s nothing personal…

Not to be outdone, Scott Maine (who was called up before the game to replace the injured Lendy Castillo) was sent to work in the top of the 9th and gave up 3 earned runs on 1 hit. Now I hate saying bad things about Maine. Statistically, he’s a great pitcher who kept his opponents batting average at .056 in his last major league game and was 1/16 against right handed hitters.

He just…. sucked today. It happens.

But “suck” was a virus that was spreading quickly through the Cubs bullpen and there was no immediate cure.

Michael Bowden was then brought in to stop the bleeding for the Cubs in. He worked his way to 2 outs, then served up a grand slam to Hector Luna – the first of his career.

It was one of those games that was dicey for the first 6 innings. It was very much up for grabs as teams traded opportunities and the Phillies eventually decided they wanted to win more and got it done.

If you’re wondering where the Cubs’ offensive highlights are, you’ve found them. Alfonso Soriano hit a home run – his second of the season and in as many days. Dalve Sveum talked to the media about Soriano potentially getting on one of his streaks yesterday, so let’s hope this continues.

Bryan LaHair was flat. Starlin Castro was flat. Darwin Barney‘s hot bat seemed to be cooled off. Can’t expect these guys to be awesome every game.

One last note before I wipe the tears from my keyboard and move on to the next game: I touched briefly on Dale Sveum making a few “whacky” calls in a column I wrote yesterday entitled “Dale Sveum Flexes His “Cybermetric” knowledge”.

There was another instance today that I found rather odd:

Top of 2 with two away and a runner on 2nd, the #8 hitter in the Phillies batting order (Freddy Galvis) comes to the plate. This is an obvious intentional walk situation as you can fill first base supplying a force out at any bag on the next batter. Better yet, you’d be pitching against the opposing pitcher (for the more casual baseball fans, pitcher tend to be crummy hitters). The choice was made to let Garza pitch out to Galvis and he ends up doubling to the right field wall scoring the runner on second. It meant nothing in the grand scheme of things, but you know…. just something to take note of.

The Cubs will look to shake off today’s game and resume their 2 game series against the Phillies tomorrow at Wrigley Field.