Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 4:35 p.m. Updated 6:47 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney
MILWAUKEE Everything will be magnified for this team. Its the way the roster is built and their city is wired.
WATCH: Byrd angry with questions
The Cubs are going to play close games and that means endless opportunities to second-guess and pick apart decisions. Frustrations boiled over after Sundays 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.
So when Marlon Byrd singles to lead off the ninth inning and gets thrown out trying to steal second, people will be curious, even when there were several other plays that had a much bigger impact on the game.
Manager Mike Quade called it a miscommunication, something that will be dealt with on Monday to make sure that I didnt screw the damn thing up and I might have. But I didnt care for that situation.
Byrd refused to discuss the situation beyond saying he looks at the third-base coach and repeating the same words seven times: Did I go?
Next question, Byrd said. Done.
There were more significant game-changing moments, but the reaction showed a Cubs team on edge after missing out on another chance to win a series. They went 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and left nine men on base.
(We were) looking for a knockout punch all day long offensively, Quade said. We had a ton of chances. We just got to keep pounding and find a way to put teams away when we get them on the ropes.
It should be pointed out that Byrd scored three runs on Sunday and raised his average to .342. And that the Cubs havent stolen a base in the first nine games of the season for the first time since 1941.
But if the Cubs are going to contend, its going to be with pitching, not speed. Promoted from Triple-A Iowa, Casey Coleman made it through five innings and for the most part minimized the damage.
Coleman gave up two two-run homers to Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. What really bothered Quade was a pickoff attempt moments before Fielders bomb in the first.
The manager ran out to first base to argue that Carlos Pena had tagged out Carlos Gomez before he dove back to the bag. With that Coleman would have escaped the inning.
There were plenty of mistakes made, both by guys in uniform and guys not in uniform, Quade said. We made our share. You got to get people out. Whether you get a break here or there or a break goes against you, you still got to play.
Still, it was all in front of the Cubs (4-5), who had a one-run lead and Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol ready to handle the last three innings.
Wood began the eighth with a walk and it unraveled from there. Casey McGehee a player the Brewers once grabbed off waivers from the Cubs stepped in as a pinch-hitter with two outs.
McGehee sent a 94 mph fastball screaming past the wall in right-center field and into the Cubs bullpen for a two-run homer that brought a crowd of 37,193 to its feet.
Wood stood in front of his locker and took responsibility for the pitch. He understands that most days there wont be any margin for error.
We knew we were going to play tight games, Wood said. Thats part of it, but (when) you start the inning off with a walk you put yourself behind the eight-ball.
The Cubs havent got off to the fast start they talked about in spring training. A bounce here or a bounce there and its not that hard to picture the Cubs enjoying three consecutive series wins right now. But it doesnt work that way, and theyre losing ground.
You think theyre going to bounce your way eventually, (that) youre going to get some breaks, Wood said. (But) theres no question weve got to win that game and win that series. It didnt happen.
PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.