Two games into his Cubs career, Jason Hammel is 2-0, both wins coming against the NL Central rival Pirates. Hammel was brilliant once again, as he worked seven strong innings, giving up three runs on three hits (all solo HR’s, more on that later), while walking one, and striking out six. Pedro Strop made things interesting in the ninth as he gave up two more solo home runs to make things closer than they needed to be. The Pirates had six hits tonight, five of which left the ballpark, and the Cubs still won, baseball.
More good signs from the Cubs offense in this one as well, the Cubs scored seven times on fourteen hits in the win. (Insert Emilio Bonifacio had two hits sentence). Anthony Rizzo is scorching hot right now, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .375 on the season. Mike Olt, finally getting a start, responded in a big way, he went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored. Same goes for Junior Lake, as he went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
** PHOTO CREDIT: BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES
Such a tough evening, on one hand you have to be thrilled with the Cubs coming back two different times in this one, on the other, throw strikes!!! The Cubs offense was up to the task tonight, but the pitching was dreadful, it started with Edwin Jackson, and ended with Pedro Strop, and James Russell.
Edwin Jackson “walked” away with a no decision in this one, and probably deserved worse. Jackson worked 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, while walking four (yuck), and striking out four. Pedro Strop, who got the loss, worked a third of an inning, giving up one run, while walking two, and striking out one. The issue in this one was James Russell coming on and failing to do his job against Pedro Alvarez, he walked Alvarez to load the bases and Russel Martin delivered a game winning sac-fly.
Starlin Castro! What a night from Castro, he was 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored. It was Castro’s first time hitting two home runs in a major league game, it was awesome to see, Castro is now hitting .310 on the season, look at that. Emilio Bonifacio continues to get hits, almost every time up to the plate, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo is also going well at the plate right now, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
I’ll leave you with this… STOP BUNTING! Goodnight.
** PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW NELLES/AP
The Cubs did a lot of things well today, hitting with runners in scoring position was not one of them. The Cubs registered nine hits, took five walks, but were a paltry 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left eleven men on base. Solid performances up and down the Cubs pitching staff as well, only allowing one run on four hits.
At the Plate:
- Emilio Bonifacio did well out of the lead off spot today going 2-for-4 with two singles and a stolen base.
- Anthony Rizzo has had a hot start to the spring, he continued that today as he went 2-for-3 with two singles. Rizzo is now five for his last seven, and is hitting .500 in Cactus League play.
- Mike Olt, Logan Watkins, Albert Almora, and Darwin Barney all had one hit in the loss. Almora got the start in center, and Olt started at third, both went 1-for-3.
On the Mound:
- Travis Wood was brilliant today, much like he was all of last year. Wood worked three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three.
- Justin Grimm took the loss as he struggled a bit in the inning he worked. Grimm gave up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Hector Rondon, Chang-Yong Lim, Marcus Hatley, and Tommy Hottovy combined to work four scoreless innings, giving up only one hit while walking one, and striking out three (each pitcher tossed one inning).
For the second straight afternoon the Cubs showcased solid pitching, and big power, the result? Two straight wins.
At the Plate:
- Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a double, and two runs scored. Both hits came off left Tommy Milone, a good sign.
- Justin Ruggiano went 2-for-2 with his first home run of the spring, three RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.
- Nate Schierholtz started in the DH spot today and went 2-for-3 with a double.
- Mike Olt came up huge today in his only at bat. Olt hit a two-run pinch hit home run in the 8th to give the Cubs a three run lead.
On the Mound:
- Kyle Hendricks made his spring debut and struggled with his control but was able to work out of trouble. Hendricks worked two innings, giving up one run, on one hit, while walking three, and striking out two.
- Carlos Pimentel was outstanding this afternoon as he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit, while walking two, and striking out two.
- Jonathan Sanchez who is vying for a spot out of the bullpen was roughed up in this one. Sanchez worked two innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Neil Ramirez, and Zac Rosscup each worked a scoreless inning in relief with Rosscup picking up the win.
- Brian Schlitter worked the ninth for his first save of the spring, but it wasn’t without issues. Thanks to a couple of errors, including one by Schlitter, the A’s threatened to tie things up. Schlitter worked one inning giving up one run, unearned, on two hits while striking out one.
It’s all come down to this, one game remains after Anthony Rizzo launched a solo home run in the first inning today to extend the no-hit streak! Only four contestants remain as there are only three points remaining, no it becomes strategy, the obvious pick might not be the smart ones for the guys in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The standings are below, only the players that have a shot at the title are shown, best of luck guys. Be on the lookout for a message from @Cubsnohitstreak for how to submit your final pick.
Only one week remains in the Cubs no hit streak contest, and things are close at the top of the standings. Anthony Rizzo kept the streak alive yesterday, about six hours before the game actually ended, that was …. fun. See below for the full standings and make sure you get your picks in this week to make a late charge. Good luck!