Cubs manager Dale Sveum played the numbers in the ninth inning with Yadier Molina at bat. Darwin Barney shaded Molina up the middle, but the evil one hit a ball just out of Darwin’s reach and into right field for the game winning hit.
“It’s unfortunate,” Barney said. “One quarter of a step from maybe saving a run. … That’s kind of how we play ‘Yadi.’ He’s such a talented hitter and can hit to all fields.
“He tends to hit the ball up the middle to the pull side early in the count. If there were two strikes, I probably would have shifted over a little more. But with Dolis’ sink, I committed to playing the middle.”
Oh yes, Rafael Dolis. Dale Sveum, any thoughts or suggestion for your young interim closer?
“He can’t keep throwing fastball after fastball,” he said. “He has a good slider and he has to use it. Not that that was the place or anything, but I think he’s learning to use that pitch more.”
Please don’t confuse him like this, Dale. While we’re on the subject of the bullpen, any suggestions for Kerry Wood, whose streak of effective outings stopped at two?
The Cubs bullpen was the Achilles’ heel again. Kerry Wood walked two and blew a one-run lead in the seventh. Sveum said Wood may have to throw more in the bullpen warming up.
“It’s one of those things,” Sveum said. “The ball is coming out of his hand well, but (he issues) four-pitch walks right away.”
That’s sort of been a thing around here for years, Dale.