Edwin Jackson match all everything Stephen Strasburg pitch for pitch for the first four innings, then the Cubs got a gift. With two outs and nobody on in the top of the 5th Welington Castillo hit what looked like an inning ending ground out to Ryan Zimmerman. Then Zimmerman’s horrible mechanics took over and he made an awful throw to keep the Cubs alive in the inning. The next five Cubs hitters reached base, and when it was all said and done the Cubs led 4-0, with all four runs being unearned. Not only did they take the lead but they knocked Strasburg out of the game after five then added on in the sixth. Leading 4-1 the Cubs scored four more times in the sixth to take an 8-1 lead en route to an 8-2 victory. Edwin Jackson earned his first win of the season, and the Cubs were outstanding with runners in scoring position, bizarro world, but I’ll take it.
At The Plate – The Cubs did get some help from Ryan Zimmerman and his awkwardness in the field, but they also took advantage. The Cubs pounded out twelve hits and scored eight runs, six of those twelve hits were doubles, that gives the Cubs thirteen doubles in the last two games. If that wasn’t enough, the Cubs were also 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position, that usually bodes well. David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo has found his 2012 form, he was 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .288 on the season, he was hitting .173 on April 26th, think about that. Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-5 with two doubles, and a run score in the victory. One of the biggest hits came off the bat of Edwin Jackson, he laced a two-out, two-run double off of Strasburg to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was much better in this one, he worked 5.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three to earn his first win as a member of the Cubs. The bullpen was solid as well as they worked the final 3.2 innings to close this one out. Shawn Camp went 1.2 scoreless innings giving up two hits while striking out two. Hector Rondon continues to impress as he went two scoreless innings while striking out two.
Up Next – The rubber game of the series on Mother’s Day as Scott Feldman looks to keep things rolling and get a series win for the Cubs. He will be opposed by left hander Gio Gonzalez, who has uncharacteristically struggled in the early going. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 PM CST on WGN TV.
The same old things keep plaguing the Cubs, not hitting with runners in scoring position, pitchers making errors, unearned runs, wasted doubles, all were present and accounted for in this one. Samardzija has no one to thank but himself for the Nationals taking a 2-1 lead in the second as he botched a ball right back at him then gave up a two out double. Then Samardzija just lost the feeling for everything in the fourth and fifth innings as the Nationals scored twice in the fourth and three times in the fifth to put this one to bed. For a game that featured ten total runs on nineteen total hits it was played at a breakneck pace, ending in just over two and a half hours. More on the Cubs misery with runners in scoring position below, they definitely had plenty of chances to keep this one close. I mentioned in the series preview that the Cubs would have to play mistake free baseball and capitalize on chances when they present themselves to win, the Cubs proved that true tonight.
At The Plate – The Cubs pounded out ten hits, one more than the Nats, but were only able to score three times. Of those ten hits seven were doubles, think about that for a second, and the Cubs only scored three times. Starlin Castro was given a chance to lead off for the first time this year and had a solid game going 2-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo turned in another solid performance going 2-for-4 with an RBI, he’s now hitting .276 on the season. Ryan Sweeney had a solid day getting the start in center, he went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija needs to find a way to get through the fifth inning, or at least avoid the mind numbing innings that make his pitch count explode. Samardzija’s record fell to 1-5 with the loss, he went five innings giving up seven runs, five earned, on eight hits while walking two and striking out five. Hector Rondon, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Shawn Camp each worked a scoreless inning in relief to keep the deficit somewhat respectable.
Up Next – Game two of the series as Edwin Jackson takes the ball for the Cubs to face one of his former teams. Jackson needs a good outing, I’m not saying his spot in the rotation is in jeopardy, yet, but a good performance could go a long way. Stephen Strasburg will oppose Jackson and the Cubs at 3:05 PM CST.
The stretch of facing contenders continues for the Cubs this weekend in Washington as they take on the exciting Nationals. The Cubs last trip to Washington didn’t go so well as they were swept in a four game series, well swept is to kind of a word, they were embarrassed in a four game series. There was also a bench clearing incident between the two clubs which centered around Steve Clevenger and at the time third base coach of the Nats Bo Porter, neither will be in Washington this weekend. Here’s a fun fact that you probably were not aware of, the Cubs have actually scored more runs this year than the Nationals. That’s right, the Cubs have scored 128 runs, and the Nats have scored 121, both teams are near the bottom of baseball in that category, however the Nats are above .500 and the Cubs, well, aren’t. The Nationals get it done with pitching, but still are not that much better than the Cubs. The Nats have a team ERA of 3.47 which is good for seventh in the Majors while the Cubs sit at thirteenth with a 3.77 ERA. The difference is the Nationals bullpen more times than not gets the job done, they have a team ERA of 3.57 which is fifteenth best in baseball while the Cubs are twenty-fifth best with a 4.57 bullpen ERA. Too many game this year have been lost by the Cubs pen, a failing bullpen will not be good enough against good teams, as evidenced by the Reds, and Cardinals series. Should be a fun weekend, and hopefully we see a better showing than last year, nothing could be worse really.
The Cubs split a two game series with the Cardinals at Wrigley.
The Nats swept a two game series at home against Detroit, they have won four straight heading into tonights game.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Friday, May 10, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on WGN TV
- Saturday, May 11, 2013 – 3:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Sunday May 12, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.09)
– Career vs. Nationals (9 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 1.48)
Game Two – Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39)
– Career vs. Nationals (2 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 1.13)
Game Three – Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70)
– Career vs. Nationals (First appearance)
Game One – Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (2-1, 2.60)
Game Two – Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 1.29)
Game Three – Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.97)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (1-1, 5.74)
The Nationals have gotten hot recently, winning four straight games heading into this series. The Cubs will need to play error free baseball and get improved performances from their bullpen if they want to compete in this series. I still think the Nationals will take two out of three this weekend.
Thanks for reading,
One of the first things Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer mentioned when taking over the Cubs was how devastating late game losses can be. They were referencing the 2011 struggle of Carlos Marmol, who last year was anything but automatic in the ninth inning. Fast forward to today, and what seemed like a perfect opening day victory, enter the Chicago Cubs bullpen. With the Cubs holding a precarious 1-0 lead with two outs in the 8th inning Ryan Dempster exited the game to a standing ovation from the Wrigley faithful. That was the last thing Cubs fans had to celebrate this day, as Wood went on to walk three straight hitters, two of which he was way ahead of, to force in the tying run.
The familiar sights, sounds, and smells (good and bad) were there yesterday morning at Wrigley Field for the Cubs workout prior to today’s season opener against the Nationals. One thing was out of place, “I don’t ever remember seeing ivy on the wall on opening day,” head groundskeeper Roger Baird said. That’s right, when the Cubs take the field today, April 5th, there will be green ivy on the walls. Of course it’s nowhere near as lush as it would be in the heart of the summer but it’s still a welcome sight for fans and players alike.
It’s finally here, opening day 2012. Below is the series preview for the first three game set of the season. We will run these segments at the beginning of every series this year. Would really love some feedback in regards to this segment, really want to make it worthwhile to you, the reader.
Three days to go, the Cubs open the 2012 campaign against Strasburg and the Nationals on Thursday, here is how the Cubs will lineup against Washington’s ace.
David DeJesus RF
Darwin Barney 2B
Starlin Castro SS
Bryan LaHair 1B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Ian Stewart 3B
Marlon Byrd CF
Geovany Soto C
Ryan Dempster P
Should be a formidable task to say the least, check back here before opening day as we will roll out our series previews, and all things Opening Day.
Thanks for reading,
– George Cotugno