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Tight games rule the Cubs season early on…
Posted By Paul Jackson On Apr 11 2011 @ 6:53 pm In Chicago Cubs | 1 Comment
The Cubs lost their second consecutive divisional series this year as the Brewers took two of three from Chicago in Milwaukee. It seems the Cubs are happy continuing nibbling in the early going this season as eight of the nine games so far have been decided by 3 runs or fewer.
Jeff Baker had a solid night at the plate in Game 1, collecting four hits and joining Geovany Soto in belting a 2-run home run. Zambrano pitched well enough to win, giving up four runs, all earned, in six innings of work. Not too shabby, but then again, not the effort you’re looking for from a guy you’re paying $16 mil a year. Carlos Marmol pitched a rocky ninth, but earned the save. Cubs win 7-4
Game 2 dueled Matt Garza against the surprisingly stellar Chris Narveson and the little known Narveson showed up to play. Garza struck out eight Brewers but gave up five runs on eight hits over 5.2 IPs. Narveson struck out nine and gave up six hits through the seventh inning as he, Sean Green and Marco Estrada combined to shutout the Cubs. Prince Fielder continued tormenting the Cubs, clubbing three doubles and four RBI. Brewers win, 6-0
The rubber matched between the Crew and the Cubs pitted youngster Casey Coleman and ace Yovani Gallardo. Neither was great, both kept their teams in the game. Gallardo was on the ropes all game long as Ramirez started off with a double, scoring two Cubs, his first of three doubles and three RBI on the day. The Cubs would tack on two more in the second and third innings after, guess who, Prince Fielder hit a two-run jack in the bottom of the 1st. Braun added a two-run shot in the 3rd inning and they would go back and forth until Kerry Wood gave up his first runs of the year, a two-run home run by Casey Mcgehee that put the Brewers up for good. Brewers win, 6-5.
To my surprise, the hitting has been good for the Cubs. They are in the top ten in the league in most of the major batting categories. After these first few games though, I keep seeing a team that fails to come through with a BIG hit. I’ve seen a few times where batters can come through with something. Tyler’s Colvin’s bases loaded groundout to score one run yesterday and Marlon Byrd’s first pitch double play to end a game against the Pirates in which they gave us a second chance, Bottom 9 error come to mind though.
Besides that, Dempster and Garza have been roughed up early on and having Wells and Cashner on the DL doesn’t help. The jury is still out on which Zambrano will show up this season and Marmol has been anything but a sure thing. The rest of the bullpen has been pretty solid overall, they’re called on a lot though (reminds me of last year, 1 Complete Game all year by Cubs starters) and that can take a toll.
They say you can’t win the division in April and May, but you can definitely lose it. Sitting at 4-5 with a 2-4 division record (against teams that most people predicted won’t even have a chance) is not where you want to be. Fortunately for the Cubs, they travel to Houston next, where they should be able to take a series against a bad Astros team. Let’s see if the pitching can settle down and we can get this team clicking on all cylinders at once.
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