Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Latest miscue has Cubs manager seething

By Doug Padilla

Luis Valbuena
While Luis Valbuena took off his gloves, the Reds picked him off second base.
CHICAGO -- There was a defensive misplay from Alfonso Soriano in the first inning that led to a run and one from David DeJesus in the 11th inning that helped the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory Wednesday.

Those mistakes were wind-aided, though.

The miscue that had Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum seething came when Luis Valbuena stopped paying attention on the base paths to end a sixth-inning rally.

A week after a Dave Sappelt base-running blunder cost the Cubs the chance to tie a game at Houston, Valbuena was the latest to pull off a head scratcher on the bases.

Shortly after his two-run double brought the Cubs to within a run at 5-4, Valbuena took his lead off second base while appearing to remove his batting gloves. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips tiptoed to the bag, took the throw from pitcher Mike Leake and applied the tag on Valbuena, who never knew what happened.

End of inning.

In a season where the Cubs’ roster has been overmatched, the last thing the club needs to be doing is beating itself.

Perhaps because he didn’t want to erupt over the miscue, Sveum was curt when asked what Valbuena might have been thinking.

“I have no idea,” he said.

Asked about it again, Sveum was only slightly more forthcoming.

“I don’t know what he did,” Sveum said. “Obviously he went to sleep.”

Sveum said before the game that he planned on giving struggling rookie Josh Vitters a break from third base for a few days. It’s possible Valbuena inspired the manager to change his mind.