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Whew. The Cubs took a huge lead, blew a huge lead, but then took the game back for good late. Screw you, Cardinals.

Ryan Dempster was cruising until he ran into some trouble in the sixth, when the Cards loaded the bases (and a Yadier Molina double would have unloaded them if not for a great relay throw by Starlin Castro to nail David Freese at the plate). But a healthy chunk of damage was done, and he’d given up four before the frame was over – as many earned runs as he’d given up all season before tonight.

The Cubs easily could have blown a prime chance to score late when Dale Sveum made what may have been one of the worst managerial calls I’ve ever seen.

Scene:

The game is tied in the 8th, and the Cubs are in business, with men on first and second, and nobody out. Better still, Starlin Castro is up with Bryan LaHair behind him. And Castro … sacrifice bunts into a double play. I mean … what? WHAT?

The decision to have Castro bunt in that situation is beyond defensible. Even if he succeeds, the Cubs have men at second and third with one out, and the Cards would just walk LaHair intentionally. It was a criminally stupid decision, and I’ll expect Sveum to have a hell of a good explanation or to fall on his sword.

Or, we won’t hear much about it, because Soriano bailed Sveum out thereafter with a two-out, run-scoring single, and the Cubs won the game.

Bryan LaHair had another huge night, which easily could have been a 4 for 4 night if the Cardinals’ scorekeeper wasn’t a pud.

  • morgan

    think we found a new closer

    • MichiganGoat

      He did look good and against some great hitters on their turf, nicely done Dolis

    • Carew

      Dolis, i think, is the real deal. Hes still really young too!

    • Njriv

      He was dishin the Hot Spacho!

    • Brady

      Don’t think that is settled yet. I still have memories of a blown save last week that heavy drinking isnt getting rid of. If he plays like this though. Yes.

      • Njriv

        He didn’t look right on Friday after he landed awkwardly twice, his follow thorough looked almost all arm

    • SirCub

      We’re talking about Camp, right?

      • rcleven

        Dolis.

  • ty

    Salute Brett! You nailed that summation!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, ty. I try. (And rhyme.)

  • daveyrosello

    How about the other thing from this game–the Cardinals defense is all kinds of clown shoes. Cubs don’t win this game against a team with a solid D.

  • wernert

    I don’t know how the Cardinals and Cardinal Nation can enrage me so but they do. From the tattoos on Molina’s stupid neck to the golf-clapping fans (the best in baseball!) in the stands, they are just so deserving of a four-game losing streak. And then 20 more.

    • calicubsfan007

      I totally agree. What pisses me off the most is the sense of entitlement that both the players and the fans have. They are jerks. I feel bad for CubsfaninCardinalland, i think thats their profile name.

  • BubblesHargrave

    I think Camp is the true hero of this game

    • MaxM1908

      I can’t say enough great things about Camp lately. He’s no superstar, and he’s likely to piss us off from time to time, but I just really like his pitching style. It’s nothing fancy, it just forces the other team to put the ball in play.

      • calicubsfan007

        He’s a workhorse, but could he be burned out by September?

  • Chief

    Look at Dolis’ R/L Splits. Beyond me why Matheny uses three left handers against him. Just stupid.

    Additionally, The sac bunt by position players sucks. Never use it guys. Never concede outs. The numbers just don’t add up.

  • calicubsfan007

    LaHair rocked again, as usual. Dolis was solid. And the Cubs still couldn’t give Dempster the W. Poor Ryan, at least his bullpen wasn’t the ones to blow the lead.

  • Packman711

    Could the bunt have been a missed sign?

    • calicubsfan007

      That might be a possibility. Campana clearly missed a sign when Molina threw out DeJesus in the 5, I think it was that inning. They are still young and unfamiliar with their manager.

  • rcleven

    Some bad official scoring.

  • Luke D

    Is LaHair’s on-base streak still alive?

    • calicubsfan007

      Yes

  • lucas

    no way just a terrible call by sveum. plus starlin needs to be running.

    • Dougy D

      I am with you 100%. I believe that there was another play that Soriano was slacking his ass to first base that would have been close if he ran it out. That stuff pisses me off. I would have been fine with Svuem benching the both of them after their slacker plays. Turns out that it worked out that Soriano got a clutch hit, but still.

  • Goatbuster

    I’m not a stats guy, but maybe you guys can help me out. If the cubs had lost, what kind of stat would you use to determine the success rate of a crazed cub fan driving to Stl and choking the piss out of dale for having our #3 hitter bunt with 2 on and no outs? I think we could get creative with this!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      IQ?

    • calicubsfan007

      anger/reason +/- the variable of gas mileage, being pulled over + being drunk enough to not feel the pain of the security guards beating you while strangling Sveum= SSwMS (Strangling Sveum with Most Success).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’d call the game a GLBM (Game Lost By Manager).

      • calicubsfan007

        Does that include the success rate of the crazed fan? LOL

  • Zogie

    Advanced Box Score
    Sorry I have been gone for the past few days. I have been working 10+ hours the last few days. I got off just in time for today’s game. Dempster had another good outing, but had one bad inning. The bullpen was great. Camp and Dolis shut the door. Dolis had a 1-2-3 9th which was relieving since the whole game was stressful. The cubs brought their bats tonight, but they need more timely hits. 14 LOB 3-17 RISP tonight. DeJesus 2-6 3K CS. DeJesus did a good job of getting on base as always, but the strikeouts are a concern. Campana 1-5 SB. I believe he missed a sign early which caused DeJesus to be CS. Other than that hiccup, he made 2 great baserunning decisions resulting in 2 runs and an outfield assist. Castro 2-5 1RBI. He played great defense and came up with a timely RBI, but made a terrible baserunning error which cost the cubs a rally. LaHair 3-4 HR, 1IBB SB was out of his mind once again. He was a bit silent the last few games, but he was not silent tonight. Soriano 1-4 RBI. He had 1 clutch hit tonight that gave the cubs the lead late. Stewart 2-4 12B 1IBB 1K had another good game. The balls continue to fall for him now and his luck is changing. Soto 2-4 RBI 1K. He has been hitting more, but he needs some timely hits. Barney 1-2 1 2B 1BB 1IBB played some great defense. He is playing smart and looked good all-around today. Johnson 0-1 K, Mather 0-1. The cubs need to practice some more bunting drills. The bunting tourney was great, but it looks like many cubbies forgot the basics already. Lastly my shoutout goes to Rafael Dolis. 1IP 2K looked great and saved many cubs fans from a nervous breakdown in the 9th.

    • calicubsfan007

      Damn, were you a scout in another life? That’s impressive.

    • college_of_coaches

      Thanks Zogie!

    • hansman1982

      Speaking of Stewart.

      From his BA hitting rock bottom (.160 (April 29)) until its peak (.208 (May 7)) he hit a strong .320/.414/.600 with a .333 BABIP (a touch high but not completely unsustainable)

      From May 8 through yesterday he hit a pathetic .111/.200/.333 with a .071 BABIP.

      He is having a case of Volstad-itis. When the balls fall his way at a normal pace, he is fantastic and will make us forget that Ramirez dude. When they don’t, I could hit better. Normal disclaimer applies – these are Strange-particle-sized samples.

      • rcleven

        Less than two mos into season. Stewart will be all right. don’t expect to see .300 out of him either.
        Ram is dead to me. Loved watching him dragging that sorry arce of his in Milwaukee.

        • hansman1982

          maybe I did a poor job articulating it but that is the point I was trying to make…he a good player and provided good health and a starting gig he should do well.

          FWIW – LaHair since May 2 – .268/.388/.512 – BABIP of .296. I believe I would gladly take that triple slash from my first baseman any day of the week, except Sunday. Then I want 1/1/4 BABIP of 0.000

  • Spencer

    This bunt fetish needs to stop. if the cards hadn’t made an error in the ninth that attempt would’ve failed too.

    • drew

      I cant believe Sveum had the balls to call for it again! One of the dumbest managerial decisions ive ever seen in professional baseball.

  • BubblesHargrave

    Does anyone agree that Camp has quietly been our best bulpen guy?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think it’s been all that quiet – I’ve been trying to highlight it for a while. But, yeah, he’s been up there with Russell and Dolis after a rocky first week.

      • rcleven

        Them middle relievers get no respect

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    That Castro bunt was one of the strangest calls I’ve seen in a long, long time.

    What’s more, the Cardinals seemed to be halfway expecting it.  Is Sveum getting a reputation for being bunt happy?

    • calicubsfan007

      Still like him more than Quade.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Lowest. Bar. Ever.

        • calicubsfan007

          True, but still a bar.

    • SirCub

      I don’t hate the idea of Castro showing bunt there. but once the defense comes charging in like that, you’ve got to take a swing especially with a high contact guy like Castro up there.

    • MaxM1908

      Well, of course they were expecting it. He tried to bunt on the first pitch of that AB and nearly popped out to Molina. I was SHOCKED they went for it again on the second pitch, and of course, Berkman came flying up the line and made a double play. Infuriating.

  • Cubs505050

    31 i think

    • hansman1982

      ehhh 41.

  • duck

    This team is fun to watch. Sveum is doing good things.

  • Deez

    Campana last at bat was “GARBAGE!”
    BUT…
    I’ll give credit where credit’s due. His speed & his throw to the cut off man was pivotal in this game. I would like to see Campana moved up to the Lead Off Spot & DeJesus down #2, but Campana is to prone to have some horrible at bats.

  • CubsFan4Life

    I am very happy that the Cubs won, but what could Sveum have possibly been thinking when he had Castro bunt in that situation ???

    He is so lucky that Soriano saved that inning and the game for the Cubs. ESPN would have been showing his stupid decision constantly on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight, if the Cubs had lost the game. Sveum’s decision would have been on their “Not Top 10″ segment.

    The Cubs are now tied with the Astros and Brewers for 4th place only 5 games out. Let’s sweep the Cardinals tomorrow !!!

  • oswego chris

    The Castro bunt was a very curious choice, simply put:

    1. Do you want Castro up with 1st and 2nd and no outs?

    2. Or Soriano up with one out and bases loaded?

    seems obvious but I will still cut Dale some slack…Castro may have done it on his own?…seriously…or he (Svuem)wanted to make the Cardinals make a play(which they did)…maybe he was hoping Castro would beat it out….who knows…if Castro runs a bit harder it’s first and second for LaHair(which probably brings in a lefty)

    Hey, it was stupid….but if Castro puts it down the 3B line and beats it out…LaHair is up with them loaded and nobody out…

    enough of the ifs and buts…Dale probably f#$%ed up….

    • King Jeff

      What I don’t get is that if he doesn’t trust putting the game on Castro’s bat in that situation, why is Castro batting 3rd at all? If he is going to be used as a contact guy to move runners around, he should be hitting 2nd.

      • drew

        Not trying to single you out and be a jerk, but i think thats the type of thinking that helps this offense remain stagnant.

        If the guy getting the 2nd most PA’s on the season is supposed to “move guys around” youre giving up way to many outs. “Situational hitting” and bunting are getting in the way of doing what wins games: hitting XBH and getting on base. You only get 27 outs in a game, and I’m sick of watching them get thrown down the crapper.

        • King Jeff

          I think you are missing my point. I have no problem with Castro being in the three hole. What I have a problem with is Castro being in the three hole and not being trusted to drive in those runs and being asked to move runners over with a sacrifice. If Svuem isn’t going to let him hit in those situations, he shouldn’t be batting in that spot in the lineup.

          ““Situational hitting” and bunting are getting in the way of doing what wins games” This is absolutely ridiculous and would cause the offense to remain stagnant. You are talking right up the Mike Quade tree right there. Wait for the big innings when the Cubs only have one or two run producers in the lineup. It’s been clear as day that this team plays better when they are stealing bases and moving guys over in the correct manner.

          • Drew7

            “You are talking right up the Mike Quade tree right there. Wait for the big innings when the Cubs only have one or two run producers in the lineup.”

            - My point is, nobody in your lineup (pitcher aside) should be giving up outs, let alone your #2 hitter (where I believe your best overall hitter should be).

            “What I don’t get is that if he doesn’t trust putting the game on Castro’s bat in that situation, why is Castro batting 3rd at all?”

            - I didn’t miss your point, and I should have indicated I agreed with the first part of your post. Its the 2nd part I have a disagreement with.

            Its not about “sitting around waiting for the 3-run homer”, its about every hitter in your lineup 1-8 being selectively aggressive, picking their pitch and driving it. It may sound like “good baseball”, but giving yourself up by bunting and moving runners over “the right way” does not win ballgames; getting on base and hitting XBH do. Those little things the Cubs do when they win games may stand out, but more often than not they arent the reason they won the game.

            Mike Quade had many flaws as a manager, but if this were his biggest, he’s still have a job.

  • bazfan1234

    Hey we are in 4th place, well kind of, tied for 4th…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    dale sveum y u no let starlin swing?

    • Packman711

      He looks like like you Brett.

    • J Wilson

      I’m glad I had to get back to work after the 4th inning. When will Sveum have to field the “wtf were you thinking?!” question from the press? Before tomorrow’s game? Please post his answer if he gives one. Cheers.

  • Vince

    Sveum should stick those bunts where the “sun don’t shine”. How many brain farts must fans endure with this guy?

  • calicubsfan007

    I dont mean to belittle Sveum’s mistake, but we still won. Why aren’t that many people getting worked up over Dempster’s no decision streak still going? Sveum did pull him in order to have Johnson pinch hit with the bases loaded and 2 out in the 7th, only with Johnson striking out.

    • Luke D

      because Win/Loss records aren’t a reliable stat. Kind of like how Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record.

      Garza deserved to be 17-10 last year, but only had a .500 record to show for it. He’s still a phenomenal pitcher, and recognized as such.

    • rcleven

      Ryan was done for the night. Was having a trouble spotting his pitches the inning he got roughed up. Every thing was up in the zone and got taged hard. He hadn’t thrown that many pitches but he was gased.

  • alsongs

    If Castro would have run out of the box instead of watching Berkman make the play he most likely would have been safe. But, I too, was dumbfounded at having him bunt.

  • ty

    Theo–review those interview notes stat!

  • http://jjcubs jj

    DID SUTCLIFF AND HIS GROUP MAKE ANY COMMENT ON SEVUEM STRATEGY, AS I HAD A CALL COMING IN AND i TURN THE SOUND DOWN. mY CALLER THOUGHT i WAS CUSSING HIM.

    • Jimmy james

      Basically didn’t know what he was thinking bc he was taking bat out of lahairs hands

  • hudog

    hey all, never posted ever on any site but been checking this one out for about a year. definitely think its the best on cubs for cubs fans. hard to decipher this cubs team. seems a couple of upgrades in pen, 5th starter, and some even average consistency in bottom of order and this team could give cardinals a run for division. i’m willing to give sveum a chance, though the castro bunt was probably one of the more egregious decisions i can think of. i bet he regretted the move somewhere between ball hitting bat and dirt.love castro but do not always like the lack of discipline, he reminds me of soriano at times. i.e. swinging early in count with campana on, swinging at bad pitches in dirt or on 2-0, 3-1 counts, his base running gaffes, etc. know he’s young but these are things that are preached from little league.

  • Rev. Bud Green

    How do I get a pic to go with my name?

    • MaxM1908

      Gravatar.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Gravatar.com, set up an account, and make sure you use the same email address there as you use here – it’ll do the rest by magic.

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