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Tulowitzki Cycles; Cubs Lose Second Straight 11-5 Game

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Didn't we see this game on Sunday?

The Cubs lost 11-5 to the Rockies for the second day in a row and it was only that close because they scored four consolation runs off Rockies closer Huston Street in the ninth inning before Joe Beimel came in to finish things off.

Once again, the Cubs had an enormous number of opportunities -- 18 baserunners, comprising 12 hits, five walks and a hit batter -- but left 13 men on base for the second straight game, and left the bases loaded three times, including in each of the first two innings, by which time the score was already 6-0 Rockies.

I shake my head. What's going on with this team? After playing very well for most of July and the first week of August, the Cubs appear to be going back to the bad old days of May and June, 2009. Worse, Gordon Wittenmyer says that Aramis Ramirez may be headed back to the DL, although Dave van Dyck's article in the Tribune is less pessimistic:

Having missed the last 2 1/2 games of the Cubs' trip, Ramirez will see team doctors before the start of the Philadelphia series Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

The options are to play through some pain, have a cortisone shot that will sideline him two or three more days or be placed on the disabled list.

I don't know what to say. If the Cubs weren't a contending team and didn't need his bat so badly, they'd probably send him to the DL and maybe shut him down for the season. But that may not be an option here. And if you don't think Ramirez's presence or absence affects other players, consider this: while A-Ram was on the DL, Alfonso Soriano hit .200/.259/.325. From his return through Friday, Soriano hit .340/.410/.564, but in the three games since, Soriano is 2-for-13. Think he puts too much pressure on himself when Ramirez is out of the lineup?

The game featured two unusual events -- Troy Tulowitzki hitting for the cycle, which I believe is the first cycle against the Cubs since Willie McGee did it in the "Sandberg Game" on June 23, 1984. And he wouldn't have had a cycle if not for the first use of home run replay in a Cubs game, home or road; Tulowitzki had already homered in the first inning when he came up with the bases loaded in the second. He hit a ball that went high over the foul pole and was ruled foul on the field; the umpires went into the "replay room" for about four minutes and came back not changing the ruling. Replays showed on CSN were, in NFL terms, "inconclusive". The sky conditions, at dusk, made it very difficult to see exactly where the ball crossed the foul pole.

Tulowitzki singled in two runs; had the replay changed the ruling, he'd have had a pair of homers instead. As it is, he had to leg out a triple in his last at-bat to cycle, and wound up with seven RBI.

Tom Gorzelanny had left the game by that time after a ball hit by Dexter Fowler went off his foot. X-rays were negative, so Gorzelanny is expected to make his first Wrigley Field start against his old teammates, the Pirates, on Saturday. He got hit early and often by the Rockies -- I don't think we give up on Gorzo yet, though; give him a couple more starts, at least, before you make judgments. By the time Gorzelanny's injury delay and the HR replay delay were over, the game was an hour old with only two innings completed.

Esmailin Caridad, making his major league debut, ate up 5.2 innings, which is exactly what the Cubs needed last night. He appears to have a good arm, but not real good command of his pitches, throwing 49 strikes in 79 pitches. I doubt you'll see much more of him; he's likely to be sent back to Iowa as soon as tonight to get yet another fresh arm for the bullpen.

Geovany Soto homered last night, his first homer (and first hit) since his return from the DL. When it was noted it was his ninth homer of the season, I thought, "Really? He has that many?"

All the Cubs can do now is regroup, coming home where they have a 33-19 record, and try to win the series against the Phillies.