It’s getting tough to say anything other than phrases like, “the lack of timely hitting cost the Cubs a win today,” when analyzing the Northsiders. It was no different Saturday. Ryan Dempster looked more than shaky in the first when he walked the first two batters he faced and looked even worse after two of them scored. All told, he let up three runs but settled down and kept the Pirates off the board for the rest of the game.
The offense just didn’t hit. They managed two in the third on an Aramis Ramirez double but only after Marlon Byrd (lined out to short) and Derrek Lee (popped out to right) couldn’t get anything done in prime RBI spots. After Carlos Marmol gave up a homer to Jeff Clement in the 9th, the Pirates had a two-run lead. Normally that’s something a team can come back from, especially facing Octavio Dotel.
The Cubs, however, could only get half way there. Starlin Castro got on with a leadoff walk and Kosuke Fukudome tripled. 4-3 Pirates with a man on third and less than two outs. Top of the order with Ryan Theriot and Marlon Byrd coming up.
That’s just how things are going right now for the Cubs. They had their usually shut-down closer on the hill in a non-save situation (and for good reason) but he gave up a bomb. The one run lead they were going to have to surmount turned into two.
If there’s hope to be had its this: They’re just two players away from scoring runs and those two players have track records. It’s not much, but it’s what Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and everyone else on the team is hoping for.