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Cubs Vanish Completely In 2-0 Loss To Pirates

A number of you have wondered how I can keep writing game recaps of this miserable season. Now, I'm totally out of ideas, just as the Cubs appear to be totally out of ways to score runs. I'll give it a shot, but this one... The Cubs lost to the Pirates 2-0 this afternoon. Okay, there you have the facts. Here are some more facts, some of which are jaw-dropping.
  • The Cubs gave up only five runs in the series, only three of them earned, yet lost two of three.
  • The Cubs had the leadoff hitter on base in five out of six innings today (2-4-5-6-7), got him to scoring position three times (2-5-6), twice with only one out (2-5), yet failed to score.
  • Octavio Dotel has 16 saves this year. The Pirates have only won 27 games. Eight of those 16 are against the Cubs -- that's right, Dotel has saved eight of the nine Pirates wins over the Cubs, with three games remaining. I do not know what the record is for most saves against a single team in a season, but Dotel has to be getting close.
  • Garrett Jones, whose double broke the scoreless tie, is hitting .386/.438/.705 against the Cubs in 44 at-bats, with five doubles, three HR and 13 RBI. The Cubs should trade for him just to prevent him from hitting Cubs pitching

I really don't know what else to say. When Sean Marshall -- whose control this year has been excellent -- walked Lastings Milledge with the bases loaded to force in the second Pirates run, I knew the game was over. The Cubs had a shot at one run, perhaps, but not two, the way they were hitting today. They hit several fly balls that might have been out of the park on another day (including Derrek Lee's in the ninth), and I'm going to call out Alfonso Soriano today. His blast in the fifth inning would have been well out of the yard on most days, but with the wind howling in, it held up and was caught by Jose Tabata.

But Soriano stood at the plate admiring it. This is something I really can't stand about Soriano, and he's got to stop. What if that ball hits off the wall? He's got a single instead of a double.

Aramis Ramirez's error, which made both Pittsburgh runs unearned, ruined a nice outing by Tom Gorzelanny, who Lou said in his postgame remarks was being limited to 75-80 pitches (he wound up with 77, 51 for strikes, in five innings), and two solid relief innings from Brian Schlitter. Schlitter has a good arm and looks like a really good pickup (in the Scott Eyre deal two years ago).

It is just mind-boggling how the Cubs cannot defeat the Pirates this year, especially after having dominated them 24-8 the last two seasons. Now 3-9 vs. Pittsburgh (and 31-35 against everyone else), they are losing these games to a team that has scored 250 runs in 78 games and allowed 430. The Cubs, meanwhile, have been outscored 46-31 in the twelve games. It's possible the Pirates could score fewer than 500 runs this year -- that hasn't happened in a non-strike season since 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, when the Angels scored 498.

And the Cubs can't beat these guys. It was a lovely sunny day, anyway; the announced attendance of 37,391 seemed way off -- there were thousands of empty seats, clearly unsold, in the corners of the upper deck.

Maybe they can beat the Reds. Onward. What else can I say?