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Cubs, Sox lose

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Gazette wire services
April 8, 2010
— Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella was looking for a silver lining in the Cubs’ Opening Day drubbing to the Braves, their worst loss in a season opener since 1884.

“Maybe that’s a good omen,” he said before Wednesday night’s game.


How long ago was 1884? Halley’s Comet, which appears once every 76 years or so, has passed by the Earth twice since that dreadful day in Cubs’ history.


But if Monday’s shellacking was a good omen, then how to explain Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Braves on Chipper Jones’ two-run, eighth-inning home run off John Grabow?


“Chipper has done that a lot of times, and I’m sure he’ll do that again,” starter Ryan Dempster said. “We’ve just got to bounce back.”


The Cubs wasted a dominant performance by Dempster, who allowed one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and retired the last 11 batters he faced. Piniella removed Dempster after 95 pitches, giving his bullpen an opportunity to do its job.


But Grabow failed in the Cubs’ first save opportunity.


“You don’t want to leave your starting pitcher hanging like that, and the whole team, really,” Grabow said. “It’s a tough one. We battled the whole game and ‘Demp’ pitched a heck of a ballgame. I kind of let everyone down.”


Piniella was not in a particularly good mood after the game, and had little to say other than “tough loss.” Martin Prado’s double on an 0-2 pitch preceded Jones’ two-run homer on a 3-1 changeup, turning Turner Field upside-down.


“Well, (Grabow) had Prado two strikes and no balls, and he hits a ball off the wall,” Piniella said. “And he gets behind on Chipper and gave him a changeup up in the zone, and the guy hit it.”


And hit it far.


After finishing with five hits on Monday, the Cubs had only seven against Jair Jurrjens and three relievers in Wednesday’s loss. Leadoff man Ryan Theriot is 0-for-7, and the Cubs have hit into five double plays.


White Sox fall


-- Indians 5, White Sox 3—One of the reasons the White Sox thought middle reliever D.J. Carrasco was expendable was because they believed they had five starters capable of pitching deep into games.


In fact, manager Ozzie Guillen compared the depth of the Sox’s pitching staff to that of the Braves when he played there in 1998-99 with the likes of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine.


“Every time we parked the car and walked to the dugout or the clubhouse, we knew we had a chance,” Guillen said. “That’s the best thing you can ask. No matter who is pitching, you have a chance. I think it’s a great feeling for everyone now.”


But that theory was put to the test Wednesday night under a 43-degree temperature because former Cy Young Award winner and co-ace Jake Peavy lasted only five innings because of a high pitch count.


And it was even more baffling because Peavy lost all of a three-run cushion in the fourth inning, and the Sox went on to lose, 5-3.


Peavy struck out five but appeared rusty at times, and it cost him in the fourth. He hit Mike Redmond with a pitch to load the bases, and Michael Brantley followed with an RBI single.


Peavy was one out away from getting out of trouble, but Grady Sizemore came through with a two-run single that tied the game. Peavy finished with 106 pitches.


With Mark Buehrle’s seven-inning outing on Monday and Tuesday serving as a day off, the Sox bullpen was well-rested. But the Indians were able to take the lead in the seventh on Shin-Soo Choo’s leadoff single off left-hander Randy Williams and Matt LaPorta’s two-out double off Tony Pena in which center fielder Alex Rios took an indirect route and had the ball skip past him.


As the Sox pitching staff was stretched out, their offense was largely dormant.



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