The Cubs were coming off of an emotional roller coaster of a win that took two days to play. The bullpen was spent and we had Sergio Mitre on the mound. It didn't make for a good game. Mitre looked wild in the first inning or so and gave up a run on a wild pitch. It looked like it was going to be an early night for him. Then something clicked and he just got everyone and their mother to hit the ball on the ground for outs. At one point, I swear, Bobby Cox even grounded out to the pitcher. Mitre just started cruising.
Then comes the inning the wheels fell off. Mitre trots out for the 8th and calmly gets the first two. I was sitting there thinking to myself how wonderful this was for him to do. We really needed a performance like this to give our pen a rest. Then he gives up a hit to Giles. No big deal, he'll get the next guy to hit one on the ground and we'll bring in Joe in the 9th. All of sudden Dusty comes trotting out to the mound to pull Mitre. I didn't even know that anyone was warming up in the pen. TBS never mentioned it. Ok, so Dusty is pulling Mitre. No big deal, he'll bring in Tightpants or Latroy and they'll take care of it. WRONG!!!! Who's that running out to pitch? Andy Pratt? With a 1 run lead and the heart of their lineup up? Dusty, what are you doin? Dusty apparently wanted to try the old Lefty/Righty advantage I guess. Pratt blows it and loads the bases with walks. Tightpants comes in to do the best he can to try to get it nailed down, but to no avail. Grandpa Franco made him pay. The Cubs then proceeded to go down easy in the 9th.
Here are my problems. First, the Cubs are hitting worse than a little league team. They are not getting clutch hits at all. We can't seem to string a few together and make some runs. We're scattering everything. These last two games, we have managed 4 runs. That's pathetic against the Braves # 4 and # 5 pitchers. The Cubs bats need to do a better job than this or we're not going anywhere. I think this team will hit enough to win, but it just seems like the bats are all cold in the early going. We'll get it going soon.
My player of the game today is Sergio Mitre. He did what he needed to do and got deep into the game. He looked impressive on the mound and fielded his position quite well. I was impressed. Hopefully this is what he will be able to give us next time out.
Sergio Mitre pitched magnificently for 7 2/3 innings until Marcus Giles singled, then Dusty Baker summoned Andy Pratt from the pen. Mitre left the game up 2-1, but Pratt walked Larry Jones and Drew. Farnsworth came in and walked Andruw Jones to force home the tying run, then gave up a wall-banging double to Julio Franco, who remembers being in the stands for the Cubs' last World Series victory. At inning's end, it was 5-2, and the Cubs couldn't recover.
At least the game didn't go into extra innings...