On the WGN pre-game show before Wednesday night's Cubs-Reds broadcast, Ron Santo mentioned that the wind was blowing in off the lake, which is atypical for a late summer game at Wrigley Field but was a repeat of the conditions for Tuesday night's game. Santo's prediction of a low-scoring game proved correct, as the Reds totaled just four hits and the Cubs three, with the visitors ultimately winning 2-1.
Lou Piniella was clearly peeved afterward at the loss and the Cubs' failure to cash in on scoring opportunities like the one they faced in the fourth inning. Then Kosuke Fukudome came up with men at first and third and none out and couldn't even produce a double-play ball that would have plated a run. Instead, he blooped a fly ball to short center that produced nothing more than the first out of the inning, after which Geovany Soto rapped into a rally-killing double play.
It's hard to blame Soto, who has been so productive this year, but impossible not to blame Fukudome, who has been less than feeble for a very long time. Piniella's warning last week that Fukudome had to start hitting or expect to see his playing time curtailed could well get repeated in coming days if the Cub rightfielder's bat doesn't wake up.
Fukudome's OPS by Month:
Fukudome's batting average, which didn't dip below .300 until May 26th of this season, is now at a season low .266, and his average for the month of August is around .170.
All in all, Wednesday night's game was a turd, especially for Ted Lilly, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and was masterful overall. He deserved better than Fukudome and his mates gave him.