Sean Marshall made one mistake today, and that was basically the game, because the mistake was deposited into the left-field bleachers by Bengie Molina with two men on base and gave the Giants a 3-0 lead before the Cubs had even batted.
In that first inning, the other two runners reached on a perfectly placed bunt by Edgar Renteria (who, at nearly 34, has almost none of the speed he once did, and looks pretty overweight, but ran that one out well and also later stole his first base of the season), and a seeing-eye single that just got past a diving Mike Fontenot.
Still, the Cubs pecked away at Tim Lincecum, who matched Marshall through seven innings and was good but not dominant today and when Marshall let the first two men on base in the eighth inning, the game was still within reach at 3-2.
Enter Jeff Samardzija, and I hope soon EXIT Jeff Samardzija, because the Shark was awful today. He hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, then gave up two solid hits and that, as they say, was the game, a 6-2 Cubs loss to the Giants. Maybe Lou figured this one was a lost cause anyway vs. Lincecum, because the lineup he sent out there was more worthy of Ho Ho Kam Park than Wrigley Field. Still, if you are going to have a productive bench, they have to get some starts, and the team, as I mentioned, did at least make it close.
Joey Gathright led off for the first time this season. He saved me a lunch of my scorecard by leading off with a single (for those who don't remember, I promised to eat my scorecard if Gathright ever led off a Cubs game with a home run. I think I'm still pretty safe). Aaron Miles promptly hit into a double play, ending that "threat". Derrek Lee produced the first run by hitting a double that hit high off the LF wall and scored on a couple of outs, and the other run scored when Bobby Scales got his first major league hit, a single to center, and scored after a walk and a single by Marshall. Scales looks like a useful player -- he made a couple of nice plays in the field, runs well, and can switch-hit. My feeling is that he may stick around and Gathright might not be long for this roster.
Another roster move that has to be made soon involves Samardzija. I want the Shark to succeed and I do think he has the talent to do so. But as Lou said in his postgame remarks, you cannot be successful at the major league level unless you trust your second and third pitches, and Samardzija clearly doesn't. He doesn't throw 95+, so the fastball isn't going to blow anyone away, and his offspeed pitches aren't good enough to get major league hitters out. Here's what I'd do: keep him till Z comes back, and then let Randy Wells, who is going to be called up on Friday to start in Z's place (perhaps with Gathright gone?), remain in the bullpen with Samardzija returning to Iowa at that time.
Today's bleacher crowd, perhaps attracted by the "value" price of "only $25, was a bit rowdier than usual and quite a number of people were ejected. They didn't miss too much, to be honest.
About today: Marshall deserved better; he should have gotten out of the game with only three runs allowed, but Samardzija tacked two on to Marshall's total with his bad pitching. Good pitching by Neal Cotts -- who got two outs on a nifty 1-2-3 DP with one pitch -- and David Patton ended the afternoon. The Cubs finished up a 4-2 homestand -- that's good. Keep winning like that and this season will come out just fine. And, this afternoon The Astros and Nationals played ten innings, tied 10-10, and were suspended. They'll finish it in Houston on July 9 -- hope the Astros' bullpen was worn out from this game, approaching the two-game series for the Cubs in Houston starting tomorrow night.