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Baseball Wed Jun 24 2009

Cubs Lose Third Close Game in a row

There may have been fireworks going off during the late innings of Wednesday's night game in Detroit but there would be no late game dramatics for the Cubs. With the tying run on first base and a full count, Kosuke Fukudome struck out looking at a borderline pitch to end the game 5-3. The final inning of offense was thematic of the Cubs' play at the plate during the whole game: the first two batters reached base safely but no one could drive them in. In total, the Cubs had 18 base runners during the game but could only score three runs. In six of the innings they had the leadoff man reach a base and only brought two of them around to home. Here is a break down of their struggles with RISP:

2nd inning: 2 on, no outs - 0 runs scored
3rd inning: lead of double - 0 runs scored
4th inning - 2 on, no outs - 0 runs scored
5th inning - bases loaded, two outs - 0 runs scored
6th inning - bases loaded, no outs - 1 run scored
7th inning: 2 on, no out; bases loaded, 1 out - 1 run scored
9th inning: 2 on, no out - 0 runs scored

The opportunities were there for the Cubs to win, they just could not get the hits when it mattered. Despite the three game losing streak they are currently in, the offense has been more effective than it had been. They are finally getting more hits and men on base; the new struggle has been to drive in runs during RBI situations. The defense and relief pitching can still use improvements, too. Geovany Soto's error in the fifth inning ended up helping the Tigers score a crucial go ahead run while Jose Ascanio and Carlos Marmol struggles in relief appearances during the eight gave the Tigers an insurance run to their lead. With the loss, the Cubs are back at .500 with a 34-34 record - 3.5 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.

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