Cubs 5 (51-73), Braves 4 (72-51)
WP: Gorzelanny (7-7)
LP: Hanson (8-9)
SV: Marmol (22)
A lot of issue with today's game, most notably Hanson getting nickel and dimed again and catching every bad break in the book. Bloop hits, broken bat hits, tight calls not going his way...such is the life of Tommy Hanson. Crappy defense accounted for one run, with Martin Prado throwing a ball into right field in the first inning that led to Aramis Ramirez going from first to third, and scoring on an infield single during the next at bat. Garbage, garbage, garbage. I feel bad for Tommy, because he's not pitching poorly. The batters are making just enough contact to get something going, and there's nothing you can do about it. It was a 5 inning short game for him, but the bullpen was strong again: 5 strikeouts in 3 scoreless innings for a returning Eric O'Flaherty, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jonny Venters.
The offense was in a coma again today. 9 hits, 5 of which were doubles, 6 walks...and only 4 runs, 3 of which came in on one hit in the 8th inning by Captain Clutch himself, Brooks Conrad. 12 more stranded, 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position...I hate bringing RISP up, but its blatant that this is where the team is screwing up. 2 on 1 out in the first...a couple of flyouts end the inning. Runners aboard with 0 and 1 out in the 2nd and 3rd...nothing. 2 out double in the 4th...he dies there. 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 5th...Derrek Lee and his stunning lack of hitting ability strikes again. A little magic happened in the 5th, when the first run was plated after back to back doubles to lead off the inning. And naturally, that second double by Alex Gonzalez leads to him...rotting like a corpse on second base as the next 3 batters do jack. The 8th inning is where the Braves made a game of it, loading the bases with 2 outs after a pair of walks and a single. That brought up Conrad, who doubled off the center field wall to make it a 5-4 game. Omar Infante and Jason Heyward then reached (without a hit that would have tied the game, of course) to load the bases again, this time for Martin Prado. He weakly grounded out to end the threat. 9th inning...Lee walked to lead off, and died there. Of course. I don't even know where to negatively analyze the offense on an individual basis...every starter except Rick Ankiel reached base. Ankiel struck out 3 times, twice with RISP of course. Heyward reached 3 times, Infante and Prado each reached twice...Lee reached twice, though still doesn't have a hit as a Brave. Gonzalez showed a pulse, reaching 3 times. But David Ross was in the starting lineup instead of Brian McCann...and that little lineup shift hurt.
Braves look to win the series tomorrow in Chicago. 2:20 start time. Mike Minor makes his 3rd MLB start, against Randy Wells, who is somehow 5-11. He's not pitching horribly with a 4.44 ERA and a 115:46 K:BB ratio...but this is the Cubs. Gotta remember that.