When you took a look at the lineup that Dale Sveum put out for his Chicago Cubs yesterday afternoon, you had to take a second glance and say "who?". It reminded me of the scene from Major League when they had the different people say "Who are these f'in guys?".
However, the Cubs did have a good pitcher on the mound in Ryan Dempster who came into the game having thrown 15 straight scoreless innings. And by the time his afternoon was over, he had extended it to 22 innings in a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox.
A lot was made about the Red Sox going to the Windy City since former GM Theo Epstein is there. Honestly who cares. Theo left the Red Sox chasing greener pastures and job that was better than his previous one.
One could say yesterday's game was actually between Theo's Red Sox and Theo's Cubs since Theo was responsible for a good portion of the Red Sox roster. And given how both teams performed yesterday, you wouldn't have known the Cubs were the worst team in baseball.
The Red Sox had their best opportunities against Dempster in his first and last innings of the game.
Scott Podsednik continued to impress as he had another two hits yesterday. He got things started in the 1st with a bunt single and went to second on a walk to Dustin Pedroia. Dempster battled back though as he struck Adrian Gonzalez then got David Ortiz to ground into a fielder's choice. He finished off the inning when Kevin Youkilis lined out to right.
In the 7th, Nick Punto, pinch-hitting for Daisuke Matsuzaka, worked a two-out walk. He stole second and then went to third on a Podsednik single. With Pedroia at the plate, Podsednik stole second. But both runners were stranded there when David DeJesus made a great catch on a Pedroia liner to right.
They would also leave the bases loaded in the 9th as Cubs closer Carlos Marmol was a little wild.
Ryan Sweeney got things started with a one out single and then went to second when Mike Aviles reached on a fielder's choice. Daniel Nava came off the bench and struck out. Pods then worked a walk to load up the bases but Marmol got Pedey to ground out to end the game.
If you took away the bad 1st inning for Dice-K, he was outstanding on the mound. He ended up retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. But with Dempster dealing, the damage was really done in that 1st inning.
He walked three batters in the inning and they would come back to hurt him when Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger (who?) doubled to left to bring in two runs. The other run came in the 2nd.
Dempster tripled on a misplay in right by Adrian Gonzalez and two batters later came in to score on a DeJesus single. From that point forward, the only other batter to reach base against Dice-K was Dempster who singled in the 4th.
You know things aren't going your way when your pitching only allows four hits and two of them are by the opposing team's pitcher. And I'm not going to take away anything from Dempster because he's a pretty good pitcher and his stuff showed that yesterday afternoon. He definitely increased his trade value for the upcoming trade deadline.
What am I going to say is this.
The Red Sox continue to not be able to hit against very good or elite pitching. And this is a problem. What can be done to fix it? I honestly don't have a freaking clue.
Oh by the way, the Red Sox got some more bad news after the game when it was announced that Josh Beckett has been scratched from his start on Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. Beckett didn't speak with the media after the game but is expected to address them today. As of now, he hasn't been placed on the DL but Franklin Morales will get the start for him on Sunday.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Sox shut out on five hits by Cubs at Wrigley [Boston Globe]
Slumping Youkilis dealing with a lot [Boston Globe]
Beckett to miss his next scheduled start [Boston Globe]
Sox' bats go silent in loss to Cubs [Boston Herald]
Alex Ochoa a footnote in Theo Epstein era [Boston Herald]
Frustrated Dustin Pedroia left screaming [Boston Herald]
Beckett scratched from start [Boston Herald]
Cartoonish Sox not at all funny [Boston Herald]
Dempster, Cubs blank Sox at Wrigley, 3-0 [CSN New England]
One-on-one with Theo: 'Sox can make a run' [CSN New England]
Gonzalez not fit for Boston? [CSN New England]
Awkward reunion brewing in Chicago [CSN New England]
Inconsistencies plague Sox offense [CSN New England]
Another mixed bag for Dice-K [CSN New England]
Beckett (shoulder) scratched from Sunday start [CSN New England]
Rapid reaction: Cubs 3, Red Sox 0 [ESPN Boston]
Beckett to miss start with inflamed shoulder [ESPN Boston]
Video: Could Sox make deal with Cubs? [ESPN Boston]
Why is Youk playing while Middlebrooks sits? [Projo Sox Blog]
Beckett out with inflammation; Morales to start [RedSox.com]
Dice-K settles, but not before costly damage [RedSox.com]
Red Sox may have Ross back next week [RedSox.com]
Valentine knows lineup is 'a moving target' [RedSox.com]
With Red Sox at Wrigley, Epstein reflects [RedSox.com]
Breaking down Beckett: A history of the pitcher's shoulder concerns [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]
photo credit: AP Photo