It really is becoming quite ridiculous, the Cubs refuse to give any at bats away and that has been the catalyst for one of the best starts in team History. On this night the Cubs walked a total of ten times, process that for a second, ten base runners without swinging the bat. Usually the Cubs reserve the panic inning until the mid innings but tonight they had it on full display in the first. Reds’ starter Alfredo Simon couldn’t make it out of the first as the Cubs manufactured their way to five runs after John Lackey struggled in the top half of the innings.
Speaking of Lackey, he was sharp after the rough first as he worked 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out seven. The performance pushed Lackey to 2-0 on the season despite a 5.68 ERA. When the Cubs weren’t talking walks they were spraying the ball all over the field as they registered eight hits, none longer than a Kris Bryant home run, his first of the season.
This one had a familiar feel to it, it felt a lot like the game last night, you know, the one that ended poorly. The result was different tonight, mainly because of the job Adam Warren, and Hector Rondon did out of the bullpen. Kyle Hendricks was so very good tonight, and he was one out away from getting his team into the eighth inning. The final line on Hendricks; 6.2 innings worked, giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out five,
His counterpart Zack Greinke didn’t fare so well as the Cubs jumped on him early, scoring three times in the first, and never looking back. Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant each had an RBI in the first, a single for Rizzo and a double for Bryant. Miguel Montero pushed the Cubs lead to three with a sacrifice fly, and Zobrist smacked an RBI double in the fourth to close out the scoring.
Great chance for the Cubs to move to 5-1 on the season, and this road trip tomorrow as Jake Arrieta gets the ball.
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
It’s gone beyond a troubling trend, it is now something that all Cubs fans have come to expect this season, late innings losses, and shoddy defensive work. Both were on display in Miami on Tuesday Night where the only thing uglier than the Marlins new home run sculpture was the Cubs defense and tremendous ability to ground into double plays like it was cool. Ryan Dempster turned in another solid outing, but Josh Johnson matched him as both starters did not figure into the decision. The end result was left up to each team’s bullpen, and usually when that happens the Cubs will come out on the short end of the stick, and they did.
Randy Wells turned in an outstanding performance against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, going three scoreless innings, Travis Wood, not so much. Wood was lit up like a Christmas tree for the second time this spring, ending the day with a 1/3rd of an inning pitched giving up 6 runs (5 earned), on 3 hits, 2 walks, while striking out one.