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Monday, December 11

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Cubs Wed May 18 2011

Cubs Extend Slide With Ugly Losses in Cincinnati

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifAll was not right in Cubdom last night. After blowing a 4-0 lead Monday and losing 7-4 to the first-place Reds, the Cubs self-destructed again Tuesday, taking a 7-5 loss.

Monday's loss prompted a closed-door meeting, but that didn't immediately fix the problems last night in Cincinnati. Things started out promising for the visitors as Carlos Pena blasted his fifth home run of the year to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead, but if we've learned anything this season, it is that no lead is safe.

Poor fundamentals and once again a lack of timely hitting are to blame in this one. It all began to unravel in the bottom of the fourth. With two on and two out, the Cubs opted to walk catcher Ramon Hernandez to face pitcher Edison Volquez -- a smart decision considering Volquez doesn't have a hit this season.

But Volquez hit a ball to Pena at first that took an eccentric hop and got past him. Smartly backing up the play was second baseman Darwin Barney, but his throw to Matt Garza covering the bag was late. Garza then threw wildly toward the plate, trying to prevent the runner on second from scoring, and the ball went into the dugout, bringing Hernandez all the way around from first.

One play, three runs. Unreal.

The Cubs took back the lead on a bases-loaded walk in the top of the seventh and tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, but as history has shown if you don't learn from it you are doomed to repeat it. The failure to drive in more than just one run actually took no effort on the part of the Cubs as they were given that run by Reds pitching. They had only one out with the bases loaded and no one could come up with a clutch hit.

Clinging to a 5-3 lead in bottom of the eighth, Kerry Wood fielded a bunt and made an ill-advised throw to third that sailed past Aramis Ramirez and went all the way down the left-field line to the wall. The Reds added two more to take the lead for good.

The Cubs are finding new ways each day to give away ball games. Lack of timely hitting, poor defense. The first thing done in spring training is pitchers' fielding practice, and yet how many times have we seen bad throws from Cubs pitchers this year?

Wood shouldn't have thrown to third, period. Take the sure out at first. Having a rookie catcher behind the plate may have also contributed to this as he should've told Wood what base to throw to.

Just when you think the Cubs can't play any worse than Monday night they go and prove you wrong. The schedule isn't getting any easier as they now head to Florida to play the Marlins, then head to Boston for a weekend series against the Red Sox.

This still could be a winning road trip if they quit making horrible decisions and play fundamental ball. They are by no means out of it, but if they continue on this way, it'll be wait 'til year for the 104th time.

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