Mistakes by Cubs hand Brewers another victory
MILWAUKEE - There has been a lot more "bad" than "good" this season for the Cubs.
And in Thursday's 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Brewers at Miller Park, the "ugly" reared its, well, ugly head.
After the game came admissions from Cubs players that time is slipping away and that this team isn't very sound.
The Cubs made 3 errors including 1 to end the game. The pitchers weren't blameless, either, as they issued 9 walks.
It ended quickly in the 10th after reliever Bob Howry walked pinch hitter Carlos Gomez leading off. Craig Counsell dropped a sacrifice bunt toward third base. Counsell was out at first base, but Gomez kept going to third. The throw by first baseman Xavier Nady was high and wide of catcher Koyie Hill, who was covering, and Gomez scored.
The Cubs made other miscues, including a botched double play by second baseman Ryan Theriot and failure to catch a flyball by center fielder Marlon Byrd and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome.
Hill's assessment was blunt.
"It was a perfect situation for the Brewers," Hill said. "They had a guy up there at the plate who takes a lot of pride in what he does, and he practices those situations when it does come up. He got the bunt down to the right side of the field. They had the perfect guy on first base who's one of the fastest guys in the league. And they had one of the worst fundamental teams on the field."
After that comment sunk in, there was more.
"We got to think ahead," Hill said. "We've got to think things through before they happen and be prepared for things that when they do happen, we'll make the right plays. Don't take pitches off. Don't take outs off. It's simple, fundamental baseball.
"These other guys work too hard, from the coaching staff to the players, work too hard to accept stuff like that happening, balls dropping in the outfield, covering the wrong base, throwing to the wrong base. Whenever it was, not just today. In general."
The Cubs fell to 27-33 and to 3-6 on a road trip on which they needed to post the opposite record.
"We haven't been playing well," said Nady, whose 2-run homer in the sixth gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. "We know it. We've got to, obviously, turn things around sooner or later, or it's going to be a long year."
Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster lasted only 51/3 innings as he issued 5 walks. A throwing error by third baseman Chad Tracy in the fifth allowed an unearned run to score, but the Cubs should have been out of the inning.
Dempster walked the first two batters of that inning and got Ryan Braun to fly out. Casey McGehee grounded to Theriot. Instead of going to short to start a 4-6-3 double play, Theriot tried to make a play on baserunner Prince Fielder before throwing to first. Rickie Weeks scored as the Cubs messed up a rundown and Tracy made a throwing error.
"That play there, you have two slow runners," said manager Lou Piniella. "What's the sense of running the runner back? Just go for the conventional double play, second to first, and you turn a double play."
A throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro accounted for another unearned run in the sixth.
"We made enough mistakes; it finally cost us a game," Piniella said. "That's the story of this one. It wasn't good."
Cubs-White Sox Scouting report
Cubs vs. White Sox at Wrigley Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet and Channel 9 Friday; Channel 32 (Fox) Saturday; ESPN Sunday
Radio: WGN 720-AM and WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Randy Wells (3-4) vs. Jake Peavy (4-5) Friday at 1:20 p.m.; Carlos Silva (8-0) vs. Mark Buehrle (3-6) Saturday at 3:10 p.m.; Ted Lilly (1-5) vs. Gavin Floyd (2-6) Sunday at 7:05 p.m.
About the Cubs: The Cubs finally come home after an 11-day road trip. They are 14-13 at Wrigley Field. Wells won his only start against the White Sox last year. Silva has allowed 2 homers to A.J. Pierzynski, who has gone 8-for-27 against the former AL pitcher. The Cubs were 6-9 against the American League last year, and they won two of three in Texas against the Rangers last month. Former Ranger Marlon Byrd is 2-for-12 against Buehrle. The Cubs entered Thursday 12th in the NL in runs scored.
About the White Sox: They are shooting for just their second three-game winning streak of the season. The first came in late April when they swept the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field. Peavy is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA over his last four starts. He's a career 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA vs. the Cubs. The White Sox don't have much of a history against Wells. Juan Pierre is 3-for-5, Gordon Beckham 1-for-2 and Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez are each 0-for-3. Closer Bobby Jenks' trade value is increasing - he hasn't allowed a run in nine of his last 10 appearances. Beckham has doubled in consecutive games after going 112 at-bats without an extra-base hit. In their first interleague series of the season, the Sox won two of three from Florida at home.
Next for the Cubs: Oakland Athletics at Wrigley Field, Tuesday-Thursday
Next for the White Sox: Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, Tuesday-Thursday
Bruce Miles' game tracker
Brewers 5, Cubs 4 (10 innings)
Long and short of it: Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster lasted only 51/3 innings, largely because he walked five and ran his pitch count up to 104, only 56 of which where strikes.
The X factor: Xavier Nady played first base and committed a throwing error in the 10th that allowed the winning run to score. At the plate, Nady matched his season-high with 3 RBI, with 2 coming on a sixth-inning homer.
Same old: The Cubs were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and they left nine runners on base. They're now 8-14 in 1-run games.