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Man, you really hate that kind of loss.

They all suck in their own way, but coming back from three down only to blow it in the 9th? Against the Cardinals? When going for the sweep? Eff, man. And then the Cubs score in the 9th, putting the tying run on second and come up short? Just so eff.

Jason Hammel got hit a little more tonight than he has been so far this year, but he managed to limit the damage, relatively-speaking. And he drove in two of the three runs the Cubs managed tonight, so you’re not going to complain about his overall game.

If you’re going to complain …

In the 9th, Rick Renteria called upon Hector Rondon to keep the game tied. I like the use of a great reliever in a high leverage situation, but it was Rondon’s third straight day pitching, and fourth appearance in five days. Rondon loaded the bases, looking shaky at times, and had to face Yadier Molina with the game on the line (and having already thrown 25 pitches). Naturally, Molina singled to score the game’s two winning runs. Lefty Wesley Wright was up and ready to face Matt Carpenter (a lefty), the batter before Molina with two outs, Renteria stuck with Rondon. Carpenter walked on four ugly pitches from Rondon, then Molina happened. I just didn’t like how any of that inning played out – and I don’t even mean the fact that the Cubs lost it.

But, hey – at least we got to see a Luis Valbuena bat flip followed by a helmet flip, all on the same play.

may 4 box

Full box score.

  • Homer

    Barney needs to be replaced, hes not starter material.

    • Featherstone

      Valbuena is starting to heat up and sees a ton of pitches. Between him and Bonifacio I dont think we should have to see Barney too much more.

      • willis

        Between those two we shouldn’t see him starting ever. He is just so bad at the plate. His very plus defense can’t make up for him being a pop up machine.

  • Required

    Well since you put it that way, I’m pissed now!

  • Homer

    But knowing how much this FO loves defense my guees is he satying put. What a shame.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      This FO loves walks and homers a lot more than they love good fielding.

      • itzscott

        I think they love bad managing even better.

        Why else would they choose someone that trots out a gassed reliever in a close game against a division rival while forfeiting a third of the lineup.

        Pretty much like begging for defeat and playing with two hands tied behind their back instead of the usual one.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Actually, this one is on me. I’m 0-4 at Wrigley so far this season…anyone want to buy the rest of my tickets?

    • coondawg

      No but I hope you aren’t planning on going to any ND games lol

    • Thiscantbegood

      Haha, and I’m 0-1 thus far. I go back next week. Hopefully I can even out the score.

  • Jason P

    Baker sucks. If only there was a backup catcher out there that we could have had with a .350 OBP and 14 home runs the past 2 years.

    Oh wait.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Baloney. Baker consistently takes good at bats and calls a nice game. Is said to be a great teammate and a good veteran presence in the locker room. Navarro was only going to sign with a team to be a starter.

      • Jason P

        I’m talking about the catcher we had signed at the start of spring otherwise known as George Kotarras.

        Baker’s about as bad as it gets offensively. And his defense is very average too.

        • Medicos

          KOTTARAS smashed two HRs for the Indians today.

    • 70’s Cub

      Ya he playing for the Blue Jays the Cubs were to cheap to resign him.

  • willis

    I do agree, going to Rondon in that situation probably wasn’t the right call, but he’s been fantastic lately and RR was grinding to keep that thing tied. He came out on fire, but as soon as he lost it I think it should have been time to get a righty and a lefty up and if there was any situation for a really short leash, it was that one. Ride him, see if he can keep it rolling, but have no patience with it.

  • cubs2015

    Yupp that one hurt, but I wasn’t really expecting us to get the sweep. I’m loving the fight in this team though. Coming back from 3-0 to tie it then almost tie it again in the bottom of the 9th after a demoralizing top showed a lot of heart. Now lets take another series vs the White Sox and enjoy a good week

  • Required

    Damn you and your neck tattoos Molina!

  • WilliamGlass721

    I couldn’t read past ths first sentence. Think positive! :-)

  • 70’s Cub

    Not worth mentioning Barney’s non MLB Bat! Today was about bad Managing double R has blown another game with a pitcher with no 9th inning command. This time the Cubs have a rested bullpen and a closer working on fumes in a non closer situation. Six games under at home playing the rival and it was given away WTF. Double R like Q-ball and Dale had no MLB head coaching experience. Today management SUCKED it up.

    • jp3

      Barney has a great bat, he’s like a poor man’s Ryan Theriot.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        So shitty??

        • jp3

          Sorry I didn’t use my sarcastic font on my statement

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Yes, because going with your best reliever is a bad decision. Come on man, if he gets through that inning and the cubs win in the bottom of the inning, you’d be praising RR for bringing Rondon in. Also, the cubs didn’t give the game away, the cardinals did. The cardinals led the whole game and gave up the lead on a wild pitch.

  • benjamin

    I know Rizzo’s line was a victim of some great pitching tonight, but is anyone else concerned that he couldn’t seem to catch up to any of the fastballs he got? There were a couple pitches that looked prime for driving but he couldn’t get the bat there.

    • E

      Rizzo’s bat speed is worrisome, I’ll give you that.

    • jp3

      Getting on base at a 40% clip in a game is bad? Who knew?

      • ced landrum

        I don’t think anyone talked about him getting on base. Rather that he couldn’t catch up to a pitch. I don’t think that is a problem though. It could be that he wasn’t seeing the ball real well last night. I haven’t noticed Rizzo having trouble catching up to pitches.

        • jp3

          So he went 1-4, like drew7 says below me… One. Game.

    • Drew7

      One. Game.

  • Required

    John Baker needs to go! I’d rather have Travis Wood catching. Two outs at one point and is trying to bunt. Is there any catcher in this organization that can hit above .080!?

    • WilliamGlass721

      Wellington Castillo!

      • Required

        The guy can’t catch 162 games even though we are only a month into the season. Time to call Koye Hill!

        • Homer

          Even better, time to call Marmol he used to catch

  • sunshine and rainbows

    I can’t be too upset with Rondon here. He’s been lights out, but obviously he wasn’t going to stay below 1.00 ERA forever. Sucks that it had to happen this way, though.

    Are there any commonly used metrics people/managers use to judge how “used” a given reliever has been such that such things factor into their decisions? Or is it just something along the lines of “eh, he hasn’t done too much lately, he’ll be fine”? Starters have pitch counts and four days rest, which is easy. Obviously it’s harder with relievers.

  • http://BN Sacko

    We found something out about Strop Grimm and Rondon in tight situations and over all Rondon has done the best. But after 2 walks! Happy should know better by now about WALKS! Why he didn’t have a right ready..DAMN.

  • IA_Colin

    I feel bad for Rondon. You know he wasn’t feeling the best going 4/5 games and without a quality second pitch to rely on he had to just go out there and grind. He got the groundball on Yadier but it came in the wrong spot. Tough loss.

  • Kyle

    That sucks. Start a new winning streak tomorrow please. Those are fun.

    • 70’s Cub

      Kyle and other BN bloggers, I go by what I see. I believe in TWTW w/some high impact young talent like the Black Hawks do it! This lost to me was about bad management choices as in pitching a tired closer in a “non closer situation” with a rested productive bullpen ready to go well into the night. Is their away to use stats to prove a mangers value? The Cubs have hired three mangers in a row with no positive MLB experience the Black Hawks hired a coach w/positive NHL experience. It seems to me if the President did not have a prior relationship w/the GM heads should roll for hiring shitty head coaches as in plural hires into year three. Today’s 9th inning game strategy was beyond stupid!

  • another JP

    Too many good things happened in the past five days to be too upset about tonight’s game. Yes, I also was a bit miffed that Wright didn’t get the ball to face Carpenter but the Cubs fought hard and played well in not only getting to Lynn, Martinez, and Rosenthal, but they also beat Wainwright and Wacha. And we all know the problems that playing chum like Barney and Baker present, so no use crying about that either. Bring on the Sux and let’s take 3 of 4 against them.

    • Required

      P.S!!!!! Watch out for that Abreu kid!

      • Medicos

        REQUIRED: U r correct. The Cub pitchers had better watch out for JOSE ABREU. Only 2 other MLB players have had more than 30 RBIs in a month: TED WILLIAMS and JOE DIMAGGIO, Both HOFers. IF the CUBAN MISSILE continues on this offensive pace he’ll easily win the 2014 ROY.

        • Drew7

          Why do YOU put NAMES in all-CAPS?

    • baldtaxguy

      I agree, Wright should have entered the game earlier, and in my opinion should have started the inning.

      “but the Cubs fought hard and played well in not only getting to Lynn, Martinez, and Rosenthal…”

      No. No. They certainly did not “get to Lynn.” The best hit ball all night was Hammel’s closed-eyed single to right. The line-up does not deserve credit for tying up the game at all. Lynn made crappy pitches that were not taken advantage of (like Lake did Saturday).

      • baldtaxguy

        Until Valbeuna’s double, of course…..

        In their defense, the lineup was crippled in its construct. As noted by others last night, there should never ever be a lineup that contains both Baker and Barney. I just think its poor managing.

  • Homer

    Is it too early for Alcantara to come up, with him at 2nd and Muybueno at third, that looks like a solid infield.

    • another JP

      Yes, it’s too early to bring up Alcantara… his OBP is only .290 at Iowa as he’s only taken 3 BBs against 29 Ks. The guy isn’t anywhere near ready yet.

      Now Logan Watkins is at .375 and would be a better option- and the only one to consider at this point. Unless Arismendy and Javy get their acts together neither one will have to worry about being promoted to Chicago this season.

  • Homer

    I also like the idea of Emilio at center

    • Required

      +1

    • Karl Groucho

      FWIW, his UZR/150 in CF for 2011 (89 innings), 2012 (427 innings), and 2013 (118 innings) was -36.0, -11.0, and -17.4 respectively. The picture’s a little rosier in ’09, ’10, and so far this year (all told about 140 innings less than the 2011-13 run). We’re not dealing with a very large sample — a regular might have given you north of 4.5k innings over that span — but over those 948 innings in CF he’s put up a -6.5 UZR/150. Of CFs who have had the arbitrary number of 1500 Innings in CF since 2009, 42/48 put up a UZR/150 higher than -6.5.

  • http://BN Sacko

    I think it would help the team as a whole to start things with Barney is not a starter and just manage with the starters. He is simply taking AB’s away from those that need to be established starters. The FO needs to trade him to eliminate that confusion.

  • Homer

    Emilio-cf
    Alcantara-2nd
    Rizzomg-1b
    Castro-ss
    Muybueno-3b
    Castillo-c
    Nate the Ungreat-rf
    Lake/kalish/coghlan-lf

    If bryant keeps mashing you can plug him in the outfield as long as muybueno hold his own at 3rd.

    • another JP

      I say mgmt. will keep Bryant at third as long as possible… probably all the way thru AAA. If they want to promote an outfielder from AA my guess is that Andreoli is only about 4-6 weeks away from making it to Iowa.

      • Pepitones wig

        Agreed. I can’t see Bryant moving off 3B

  • Funn Dave

    Brett really hates one-run losses. And I don’t blame him.

  • Crockett

    Still don’t understand why Castro was playing so deeply in the hole with the bases loaded and the Cubs obviously pitching outside to Molina. Poor positioning or brain cramp…either one frustrating.

    • 70’s Cub

      double r is rookie…

  • VittersStartingLF

    Hopefully RR doesn’t use Rondon so much that his arm falls off.

    • baldtaxguy

      Using Rondon last night was not a smart managerial move. He had other bullpen options to go to. Get better Ricky.

  • ssckelley

    Bonifacio should have gotten credit for a stolen base in the 9th inning. The first baseman was holding him on at first.

    • vitaminB

      He was holding him on for the first pitch of the AB, and then neck tat told him to play back.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    We can’t cry over spilt milk. We owned the Sox in last years series, but with the addition of Abreu it’s not going to be so easy this year. Renteria has really made a statement without saying anything with the manner that he has used Barney so far, and that’s fine by me. Last nights game was another demonstration of Valbuena’s value in comparison to Olt at his present level of play. I’m all for giving Olt more opportunities to see if he can turn things around.I think that situation is one of the reasons that Barney’s services are still needed. As long as Valbuena is needed to play third, there is no reason to force the issue at second base. Let’s face it we have nothing more than place holders at second and third base presently. combine that with the present outfield and you have five of positions on the present roster that are below the standard of a competative MLB team. With all of that considered it is kind of amazing that we have played as well as we have. If I were running the FO I would be looking for a major league ready left handed power bat for the outfield. Possibly if we throw in a middle infield prospect along with Hammel we can get one. The future team as it looks now is going to be heavy with right handed hitters. But we need a serious upgrade at five of the eight positions excluding the pitcher.

  • GoCubs

    We are seeing rookie manager make rookie mistakes also known as–brain farts.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    It should have been Neil Ramirez in that 9th inning. He would have mowed the 7-8-9 hitters. Hector has been outstanding, but he wasn’t sharp after so much recent use. These guys are only human! That said, after walking Carpenter Rondon made some very good pitches to Molina, including the pitch he squeaked the single on.

    If the Cubs pen was really weak, I would almost understand going to Rondon in that situation, but it has proven to be pretty strong lately, and there were other, more rested options.

    • CubFan Paul

      ” but he wasn’t sharp after so much recent use”

      I believe Rondon only threw 8 pitches Saturday…

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        He threw 8 Saturday and 12 on Friday, not exactly overruse

  • Dustin S

    A little over a month in I’m mostly disappointed but a little split on evaluating RR. I think he is a smart baseball guy and I agree a lot of his mistakes have been rookie manager learning pains. Maybe a lot of overthinking also. Overall, his lineup decisions, in-game management, and bullpen management have been pretty awful to be honest. For example, it’s been too much of Barney and Baker, and Veras and Sweeney (to a lesser degree) before they were hurt, either out of too much loyalty or stubbornness. Not enough hit and run. Too much bunting (although that’s eased up). Odd lineups. Having a 7-8 man bullpen and underutilizing it. I believe Renteria will get much better as we go through the year though as he learns from his mistakes.

    What gives RR a pass is the resurgence of Castro and Rizzo, plus Castillo starting to look very good at the plate. If Castro and Rizzo still looked like 2013 and not their pre-2013 selves, they wouldn’t be long-term solutions for SS and 1B or guys the team could build around. It would probably have set the rebuild back 2-3 years, and I think I’d would have to start drinking heavily. So Rizzo not looking like a 2012 1 year wonder and Castro not looking like he had lost his 2010-2012 self have been huge. I’ll also give RR the benefit of the doubt and credit his coaching for the turnaround and that it in’t just from being free of Sveum’s overcoaching.

  • pens

    Is anyone else noticing that we are not swinging at strikes, we only swing at balls, how many balls thrown right down the middle we just look at. Castro will always swing at that down and out slider every time. so frustrating

    • Head and Heart

      The Cubs are 13th in the league in O-swing%. They swing at balls outside the zone 28.6% of the time. In terms of NL teams only the Mets, D-Backs and Reds swing at fewer pitches outside the zone. Interestingly, the Cubs are close to dead last in terms of making contact with balls outside the zone.

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