Hitting, more than pitching, decided this series
Q. How much did Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano hurt the Cubs in this series?
A. You're not going to get into a short series without your big players making a major impact. You either have to have to your major players have a big impact or you have to have a surprise player, somebody that comes out of the woods and just has a tremendous series or continually comes up and gets big hits.
That simply didn't happen. And it's disappointing because, on paper, the Cubs went into the series as the favorite, in my opinion.
Q. How bad was the Cubs' offense, not only in Game 3 but this entire series?
A. What's really disappointing is the fact the Cubs had some chances.
In Game 2, Doug Davis didn't really have the type of stuff that night to shut the Cubs down. The Cubs let him off the hook repeatedly, and then (Game 3 starter) Livan Hernandez, he was in trouble innings 1-5. The Cubs had opportunities, with bases on balls, with base hits.
They had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning and Mark DeRosa hits into a double play. There were several opportunities for the Cubs to get back into the game, to break this game open.
Q. Was it just a matter of pressing too much?
A. You could see there was a concerted effort by the offense to be more patient. They made Hernandez work; they weren't chasing pitches in the dirt, over their heads. They did about as good of a job as you can ask, giving themselves a chance with men on base.
But when they were able to get the ducks on the pond, they weren't able to drive anybody in.
Q. What happened to Cubs starter Rich Hill?
A. He wasn't comfortable from the outset. And he's a young pitcher. It doesn't matter what kind of year you had, you just can't simulate pitching in the playoffs.
Q. How about Arizona starter Livan Hernandez?
A. They helped him out a few times but really, he was to be had.
And that's what is so disappointing. The Cubs hitters made an effort to be more patient, to be selective. They were able to accomplish the goal of getting guys on base repeatedly, but the didn't get it done.
Q. How do you assess the series?
A. I think the big difference in this series, and I'm not so sure it really dealt with the pitching, is that the Diamondbacks were able to get the big hit. When the Cubs gave the Diamondbacks some opportunities, they took advantage of it. It's not like the Diamondbacks' starting pitching was that good in this series. Brandon Webb was terrific in Game 1, but Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez weren't that effective.
Q. Can you believe the series ended so fast?
A. When you get into a five-game short series like this, emotions can swing from one day to the next. Carlos Zambrano set a real good tempo in Game 1, giving the Cubs 6 solid innings. Carlos Marmol had the difficult inning in the seventh, giving up 2 runs.
I know (Cubs manager) Lou Piniella was second-guessed about taking Zambrano out in Game 1, but the bottom line was the Cubs' hitters simply didn't come through. They had a good ballpark to hit in at Arizona and coming home to Wrigley Field, and it's disappointing.
You try to look at some positives, but it's very difficult at this time, right after you lose a game like this, to look back at this.
This is a team that had to scratch and claw. So many ups and downs in April and May, and they played about as good as anybody in the National League prior to the all-star break, then they hit a wall and really had their backs up against the wall from the beginning of August all the way through the end of the season.
They found a way to get themselves up off the deck, but unfortunately they weren't able to do it.
• Former Cubs pitcher Dan Plesac provided postgame analysis following every Cubs playoff game on Comcast SportsNet's "Cubs Post Game Live."