Ugh.

That one was ugly.

Just when it seemed the Cubs had fashioned an elegant 2-1 win over the Reds, in came Ryan Dempster, and once again, just as last Sunday against the very same ballclub, he had nothing.

Three hits, an intentional walk, and a single off Scott Eyre (who battled Royce Clayton pretty well, but was in a very difficult spot handed to him by Dempster), the Reds had a 3-2 win over the Cubs.

At the time I posted that game recap link, it said "Yahoo! Sports - News Article Expired/Not Available"... which is pretty strange, since the game's been over for an hour and a half. Maybe it'll work later. If not, here's the Cubs website recap.

Then I started looking through some of the other recaps, and if you look at the boxscore for the White Sox/Mariners game, you'll realize there is something REALLY screwed up with Yahoo's database. It said the White Sox won 6-4, but they actually won 12-7, and if you take a look at Yahoo's play-by-play of the game, Ryan Sweeney took every single at-bat in the game for both teams from the bottom of the first inning, through the bottom of the seventh. Then you look at the boxscore and it says Sweeney was 0-for-1, but Paul Konerko was 5-for-9 with four runs scored and six RBI -- even though the play-by-play has Sweeney hitting five home runs, including a grand slam, with fifteen RBI.

It was just a computer glitch, obviously, and Yahoo's already fixed it, so as a public service, I thought I'd copy and paste it here:

Bottom 1st: Chi White Sox
  • B. Anderson singled to left
  • P. Ozuna to second on balk
  • R. Sweeney sacrificed to third, P. Ozuna to third
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to second
Top 2nd: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney flied out to deep center
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to third
Bottom 2nd: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney lined out to left center
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to second
  • R. Sweeney doubled to deep left center
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
Top 3rd: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney hit by pitch
  • R. Sweeney fouled out to right, C. Snelling to second
  • R. Sweeney popped bunt out to third
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to shortstop
Bottom 3rd: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney homered to deep left center
  • R. Sweeney fouled out to first
  • R. Sweeney walked
  • R. Sweeney walked
  • R. Sweeney singled to center, T. Iguchi scored, J. Dye to third
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney flied out to deep right center
Top 4th: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney popped out to shortstop
  • R. Sweeney singled to right
  • R. Sweeney flied out to left center
  • R. Sweeney singled to center, R. Ibanez to third
  • R. Sweeney grounded into fielder's choice, B. Broussard out at second
Bottom 4th: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney singled to right
  • R. Sweeney grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, A.J. Pierzynski out at second
  • R. Sweeney safe at first on third baseman A. Beltre's fielding error
  • R. Sweeney lined out to shortstop
Top 5th: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney popped out to left
  • R. Sweeney singled to center
  • R. Sweeney singled to third, Y. Betancourt to second
  • R. Sweeney singled to center, Y. Betancourt scored, I. Suzuki to second
  • R. Sweeney grounded into double play third to second to first, A. Beltre out at second
Bottom 5th: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney lined out to center
  • R. Sweeney walked
  • R. Sweeney fouled out to third
  • R. Sweeney homered to deep left, J. Dye scored
  • R. Sweeney homered to deep left
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to first
Top 6th: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney lined out to second
  • R. Sweeney popped out to second
  • R. Sweeney singled to left
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to third
Bottom 6th: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney singled to left
  • R. Sweeney popped out to second
  • R. Sweeney fouled out to second
Top 7th: Seattle
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney flied out to deep center
  • R. Sweeney singled to right
  • I. Suzuki stole second
  • R. Sweeney walked
  • R. Sweeney homered to deep left, A. Beltre and I. Suzuki scored
  • R. Sweeney struck out, reached on passed ball, on passed ball
  • R. Sweeney lined out to right
Bottom 7th: Chi White Sox
  • R. Sweeney walked
  • R. Sweeney walked, J. Dye to second
  • R. Sweeney singled to center, J. Dye to third, J. Thome to second
  • R. Sweeney struck out swinging
  • R. Sweeney walked, J. Dye scored, J. Thome to third, P. Konerko to second
  • R. Sweeney homered to deep left, J. Thome, P. Konerko and J. Fields scored
  • B. Anderson grounded out to shortstop
  • R. Sweeney grounded out to second
1 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors

Fun!

A lot more fun, actually, than watching Dempster blow his ninth save of the year, and not coincidentally run his record to 1-9. Of the nine losses, seven came in games in which he blew a save; the other two losses came when he entered tie games and gave up the winning runs.

I still maintain that Dempster is pitching hurt. His ball looks flat, his arm angle looks all wrong, and his velocity was 88, 89, maybe one 90-MPH fastball -- that is, when it was in the zone at all, because he threw only 11 strikes in his 24 pitches, and two of the non-strikes were wild pitches, advancing Ray Olmedo (a pinch-runner for ex-Cub Todd Hollandsworth, who had doubled deep to left-center leading off the inning) to third, and then scoring him with the tying run.

Some of you think Dempster is "reverting" to his former self as "a bad pitcher". Maybe he's reverting to his former self as an injured pitcher, in which state he spent half of 2003 and half of 2004. He threw well after the Cubs activated him in 2004, and after being anointed closer in May 2005, was one of the better closers in baseball. Having established that level of performance -- and yes, I realize there were still too many walks even then -- in my mind, the only reason to suddenly be this bad is an undisclosed injury.

It would NOT surprise me to find out that Dempster has to have some sort of surgery, likely on his shoulder, after the season is over.

It's too bad, because solo homers by Aramis Ramirez (establishing a new personal high with 37) and Buck Coats (his first ML homer) had given the Cubs a 2-1 lead; Juan Mateo threw five credible innings (too many walks and pitches -- if he can harness his control, I think he's going to be a good one), and the bullpen held the Reds down until Dempster came in and everything exploded. While this was going on, Mark and I were flipping back & forth between this and the Bears' stirring come-from-behind win over the Vikings, managing to see the key moments of both -- the Bears game being an excellent example of a team that found a way to win despite not playing very well for the entire game, the key play being their fourth-quarter fumble recovery, leading to the winning TD pass from Rex Grossman.

I see I've morphed into Bears talk, and if you want more of that please visit our SB Nation Bears site Windy City Gridiron. Mark's so into fantasy football -- sitting watching the Yahoo gameday boards as his players go by, and in fact, he's currently doing quite well in his league. But this is still baseball season, and this is still a Cubs site, and baseball's still my sport -- the others, I follow, but this game is my passion.

Play out the string, and as Bruce Miles noted today in the Daily Herald, we are likely to know sooner than later about the ballclub's new manager:

General manager Jim Hendry assured Baker on July 27 that he'd manage out the season. Hendry has stressed he'd make a decision about Baker shortly after the Cubs finished play Oct. 1. The GM repeated that statement Saturday after being told Baker said he'd rather find out his fate "sooner rather than later."

"I told everyone the same as I told everyone in July, that I will decide what's in the interest in the organization within the first week after the season's over," Hendry said. "That hasn't changed."

Good. Let's make it next Monday, Jim. OK with you?

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