- was the Cubs' fifth in a row
- dropped their record in one-run games to 13-24
- and, left them only half a game ahead of the fifth-place Astros
The offense didn't entirely disappear; the Cubs did manage eight other hits including Alfonso Soriano's 19th home run, and made it interesting in the ninth on a two-run double by Marlon Byrd. Then they came thisclose to tying the game on a fly ball by Soriano that nearly cleared the RF wall; it was caught by Dexter Fowler, who banged up his arm on the play. Fowler had to leave the game; although he was taken off in a cart, he did walk there under his own power
But Carlos Silva's departure from the game after throwing 15 pitches to four batters, and the bullpen's failure to keep the game close, pretty much put this one in the books by the fifth inning. That fifth inning seemed to take forever to arrive, largely because of the delay allowing James Russell to warm up replacing Silva. Silva's departure was chalked up to illness:
Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild and assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur went to the mound to check on Silva, but he stayed in the game.
Carlos Gonzalez then singled and Troy Tulowitski hit a ground-rule RBI double, and catcher Geovany Soto signaled to the Cubs' dugout. Rothschild and head athletic trainer Mark O'Neal went to the mound, and Silva was pulled.
Who knows? It didn't seem to be his knee or his back, which have given him trouble this year. This was Silva's first start ever at Coors Field -- maybe the altitude gave him problems... although that's never been an excuse for any other pitcher, whether a Rockie or a visitor.
Carlos Zambrano was sent to pinch-hit for Russell in the top of the fourth; hitting righthanded, naturally he tried to hit the ball all the way to the Rocky Mountains and struck out. Then he put up a 53-pitch, two-inning outing in which he allowed four hits (all singles), a pair of walks and two runs. This isn't the sort of thing you really want to see when Z needs to get back to the rotation and put up two months' worth of decent starts in order to either:
- have any value to the 2011 Cubs, or
- have any value to any other team that might want to trade for him in the offseason.
Having stretched out to 53 pitches today, though, you'd think he could throw on the side during the week and maybe start over the weekend against the Reds, or in the series following at San Francisco. SF is the scene of the last really dominant start Z made, a two-hit shutout of the Giants on September 25, 2009, so maybe that would be the best place for his return to the rotation (after giving him a long-relief outing sometime during the week, if needed).
Carlos Marmol, who hadn't thrown since he posted his 19th save on the first game of the road trip (the only game the Cubs won on the six-game trip), threw an efficient scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Tonight, as a reminder, ESPN's Sunday night game features the Giants and Dodgers. That means, if you are so inclined, you can see the Dodgers debut of ex-Cub Ryan Theriot, who will be installed as LA's regular 2B (and if you believe some reports since the deal was completed yesterday, may wind up batting ninth). I can hardly wait to hear Joe Morgan extol Theriot's scrappiness.