You know what, the Cubs didn't deserve to win this game.
They got two runners on with one out in the ninth inning, the tying run on third base, with Jeff Baker having a shot at least to knot the game up, and I couldn't help thinking, "If the Cubs do wind up winning, they'll have stolen one."
It didn't happen; Baker hit J.J. Putz's first pitch for a game-ending double play and the Cubs lost to the Diamondbacks 4-3.
Why did they not deserve to win? Because in a bizarre fourth inning with the game tied 1-1, the Cubs gave up three runs, including the one that turned out to be the difference, while allowing Arizona only one hit. The ball didn't even leave the infield for the three runs; the first one scored when Casey Coleman balked. The second, on a perfectly executed safety squeeze by D'backs pitcher Daniel Hudson. And the third made it home on a Coleman wild pitch.
Ugly, ugly, ugly. Coleman issued five walks in five innings; I'm beginning to wonder whether he's even a suitable rotation replacement. Out of his four starts, only one of them (the one in Colorado a couple of weekends ago) has been any good.
The Cubs managed to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the seventh inning when Geovany Soto smacked a two-run double. Carlos Pena nearly gave the Cubs the lead in the ninth when, after Marlon Byrd led off the inning with a double, he hit a ball that Justin Upton caught with his arm outstretched just below the yellow home run line. Three feet higher, and Pena would have had a two-run homer, his first as a Cub.
But it didn't happen; the fly ball simply advanced Byrd to third. Geovany Soto walked, and that gave brief hope, but all that did was set up Baker's double play ball.
It's maddening. This team does have talent, and they do have the ability to come back. But then they have innings like Coleman's, or have bad PH at-bats like Baker's (seriously -- the guy left yesterday's game injured. He couldn't have at least looked at a pitch?), and then you wonder if they'll ever win another game.
So the Cubs have to settle for a split in Arizona, and now head to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Tomorrow's game is already a writeoff with James Russell starting, so the team will have to count on Ryan Dempster (Tuesday) and Carlos Zambrano (Wednesday) for any hope of taking a series in Los Angeles.
And about Upton. Thursday night, ESPN's Buster Olney and I got into a Twitter war after he thought the Cubs hit him on purpose in the third inning after Upton slammed his helmet down after fetting hit in the first inning. (Really, it was just Justin Berg's inability to throw strikes, and no Cub got hit in "retaliation".)
But I've noticed that Upton slams his helmet down after just about any out he makes. And not only that, so do a number of the other Diamondbacks. You'd think other teams would get a bit annoyed at this show after a while. Just sayin'.