Dale Sveum said it best after the game, “That’s just men playing against boys right now.” For the second straight night the Cubs gave up six home runs to the Nationals, at least they didn’t use as many pitchers tonight as they did last night. Volstad was the one serving up long balls tonight, but at least he was able to give the Cubs some innings. Volstad’s night came to an end after five innings, he gave up five runs on nine hits while walking four and striking out two. Volstad gave up three home runs, Michael Bowden gave up one, and Blake Parker gave up two more. Bryce Harper had two home runs tonight, and Adam LaRoche hit another home run in this one, LaRoche has been amazing against the Cubs, and will continue to be awesome until someone decides to pitch him inside off the plate. I mentioned it yesterday, opponents are way too comfortable in the box against Cubs pitchers, until they go inside with a purpose balls will continue to leave the park. Speaking of comfortable at the plate, the Cubs are anything but as they were carved up by now 18 game winner Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs could only manage four hits in the 9-1 defeat, one of which was an Anthony Rizzo solo home run in the ninth inning. Dale Sveum was ejected tonight after he took exception to home plate umpire Larry Vanover “eyeballing” the Cubs bench after a couple of close calls. The Cubs will try to avoid the four game sweep tomorrow night.
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Jeff Samardzija is probably getting used to this, as it seems to be happening a lot, such is life being the ace of a team trying to build its entire organization from the ground up. Yes, I said ace, Samardzija is starting to become every bit of the word, today was another step in that direction. Samardzija made one mistake in his seven innings of work and it resulted in an Adam LaRoche solo homer that gave the Nats a 1-0 lead early. They would tack on an insurance run in the eighth, and survived a Cubs scare in the ninth to escape with a 2-1 victory. As I mentioned Samardzija worked seven strong innings giving up one run on seven hits while walking one and striking out eight, unfortunately he finished his day with his 13th loss of the season. The Cubs couldn’t solve Ross Detwiler today as they could only manage four hits against the southpaw who won his 9th game of the season. Starlin Castro was one of the Cubs who found some success at the plate today as he was 2-for-4 with a double in the loss. Welington Castillo continues his push for the 2013 starting role behind the plate as he finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI, he also picked off a runner at first late in the game.
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It’s only two games, but it’s certainly a disturbing trend. For the second straight game the Cubs played great baseball through 7 innings, and seemed to be on their way to a victory. Instead of being 2-0, they are now 0-2 after Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol both were terrible for the second straight afternoon. Heading to the 8th inning the Cubs led 4-2 with Kerry Wood taking the mound. Things went well enough early as Wood set down the first two Nationals hitters that he faced, then things got ugly, really fast. Danny Espinosa got the rally started launching a solo shot to the left center bleachers to make it a 4-3 game. No harm done, solo home runs will happen, especially with the wind blowing out, but Wood unraveled. Wood gave up a broken bat single to Ryan Zimmerman, then another base hit to Adam Laroche, and just like that his day was over. Sveum decided to go back to Marmol to try to get out of the inning, but that only threw gasoline on the fire. Marmol started his effort with a walk to Jayson Werth, he then gave up a two run single to Chad Tracy, and ended his day with by giving up a double to Bernadina and just like that it was 6-4 Nats, and the game was all but lost.