This season is making less and less sense every day.
One day after looking pretty good in Starlin Castro's major league debut, the entire team -- including Castro, who made his first major league error Saturday night -- looked awful in giving up eleven runs in the seventh and eighth innings and turning a close 3-2 game into a 14-2 blowout loss to the Reds.
This recap will be mercifully short, as there's another game early this afternoon (game preview up at 10:30 am CDT), so let's have at the three key moments in the game after the jump.
Key moment #1: Marlon Byrd being thrown out at the plate in the second inning. This was a horrendous decision -- whether done by 3B coach Mike Quade (who generally does a pretty good job sending or not sending runners, evidenced by the fact that we almost never hear about him, unlike "Wavin' Wendell" Kim) or Byrd. The score is 2-0 Reds, there is nobody out, and several hot hitters are due up (Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Castro). Why on Earth would you try to score in that situation? It took whatever little momentum the Cubs had away, and they did not score. If Byrd holds up, there are runners on first and third and nobody out; Soriano then singled, which would have scored a run and possibly moved Ramirez to third, where he would have scored the tying run on Soto's flyout. (Yes, I realize those hitters might not have done those things.) The score could have been tied, and maybe the Cubs would have scored more runs.
Key moment #2: Derrek Lee's at-bat in the top of the sixth, after the Cubs had managed a pair of walks, the one by Xavier Nady driving in a run with the bases loaded, making the score 3-2. The Reds had already made two pitching changes and it appeared the Cubs had a pretty good chance of either tying the score or going ahead, but Lee swung at the first pitch and grounded out weakly to the pitcher. Why would you do this? Arthur Rhodes had just walked someone! Why not take a couple of pitches?
Key moment #3: Two moments, actually -- the errors made by Castro and Mike Fontenot to begin the Reds' seventh inning. Castro is a 20-year-old kid and this is going to happen from time to time. It appeared Fontenot might have gotten screened -- this time by Lee, who had a shot at making the play on the grounder, but realized he'd never have enough time to get the ball to first. Fontenot could have, but bobbled it. So you can't blame the just-returned-from-the-DL Esmailin Caridad -- he did his job, getting two ground balls. Sean Marshall came in and walked Joey Votto -- not awful, since Votto had already homered -- and then Carlos Zambrano relieved Marshall and struck out Scott Rolen. If not for the errors, that ends the inning with no runs scored. Boxscore note: this is how you get a situation where team earned runs don't add up with the individual earned runs. None of the five runs in that inning were earned to the team, but the runs charged to Z and Marshall are earned to them. Only nine of the 14 runs were "team earned runs".
If the game then goes to the eighth 3-2, who knows what happens? Instead, Justin Berg got blasted for six runs in the Reds eighth and that, as the cliche goes, was that.
One more rant and then I'm done. When Jonny Gomes scored (I think it was Gomes, anyway -- there were so many I lost track), he was out. Replays showed clearly that Geo tagged him before his foot touched the plate. That also would have resulted in two less runs in that inning (Gomes, and Drew Stubbs -- that would have been the third out). Let's get replay available for things like this -- now. Why not get it right?
Enough. On to today's game, the Cubs can still win this series.