The game was tied 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning.
The Cubs had two runners on base with just one out in the inning with left-handed hitting left fielder Tyler Colvin due up and the pitcher’s spot on deck. At this point, Milwaukee’s manager Ken Macha brought in lefty Zach Braddock to put the ball back in Lou Piniella’s court. At the time, the Cubs had four guys available off the bench: lefty Mike Fontenot and righties Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and Derrek Lee.
Lou opted to lift Colvin to gain the favorable matchup. This meant that Soriano would be forced to enter the game because he was the only outfielder available on the bench. However, instead of putting Soriano in Colvin’s spot, Piniella chose to hold back Soriano for one batter. Baker hit for Colvin, and Soriano for the pitcher. Then, the new pitcher would enter in Baker’s spot.
Baker struck out for the second out of the inning and Soriano was announced. With that, Macha countered the move with righty Carlos Villanueva. Since Soriano was the last available outfielder, Piniella had to stick with the righty-on-righty matchup.
Instead, the correct play would have been to flip-flop the order of the pinch hitters. That way, Soriano would get his at-bat against a left-handed pitcher and if Macha brings in Villanueva for Baker, Piniella could respond with Fontenot.
However, Piniella was far from the only one in the visiting uniforms that struggled with the basics of the game in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Brewers. The Cubs committed three errors, with each one leading to a Brewers run — including the game-winner in the tenth inning. In addition, Chad Tracy botched a sacrifice attempt in the top of the tenth inning and Cubs pitchers issued eight walks and hit a batter. At least Bob Howry was able to pitch around a “double” in the ninth inning, a blooper that fell as Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome were caught staring at each other.
After yesterday’s team win over the Brewers looked to give some momentum, I talked about taking the rubber game and getting back on the right track. Instead, the Cubs made every effort to give the series away to the Brewers. The truth is now unmistakable: the Cubs don’t want to win and that attitude is one that started with the manager.
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Written by Eddie Kim