A tough series against the Dodgers puts the Cubs in a pickle trying to finish out this home stand with a decent record. Los Angeles took two of three from the Cubs over the weekend. Terrible starting pitching spelled doom for Chicago in this series that included a thrilling win on Saturday, overcoming blowing a five to one lead and an eight to five deficit, late.
Game 1 was all L.A. The Dodgers crushed the Cubs in a game in which the Cubs had chances to score some runs. The Los Angeles Dodgers (the team from Los Angeles with a name that makes sense) committed two errors and Billingsley allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits in six and a third innings. The Cubs batted two for nine with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base. Dodgers win, 12-3
Game 2 the Cubs showed up a little bit. Dempster looked like Dumpster once again. He pitched four innings of one run ball and then gave up three home runs in the fifth and sixth innings to blow a five to one lead. Reed Johnson was back in the lineup for the Cubs and didn’t miss a step, Jeff Baker followed suit and Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro kept up their torrid paces. Those four combined to go 11-18 with six runs scored and nine runs batted in. Dempster was terrible, going five and two thirds with three walks, seven earned runs, nine hits and three strikeouts but Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol pitched three and a third innings of shutout ball after the Cubs regained the lead in an intense bottom of the eighth. Cubs win, 10-8.
So Zambrano had the chance to extend a pretty meaningless winning streak (10-0 since last August. He started kicking butt when the Cubs were out of contention). He also had the chance to give the Cubs their first winning streak of the season. The Dodgers had other ideas. Big Z got beat big in the first inning as the Dodgers scored five runs and would never relinquish the lead. Two more Cub errors didn’t help the cause and their second five run deficit in two days proved to be too much. Dodgers win, 7-3.
We enter play tomorrow against a really good Rockies team that we were able to fight hard against in Colorado. Matt Garza will take the ball tomorrow and hopes to build upon his last start against the Padres, his first good start of the year. This starting pitching really has to get straightened out. If Dempster, Zambrano and Garza are going to pitch like they have it’s going to be a long year. Cashner and Wells need to hurry back. It looked to me, at the beginning of the season, that hitting was going to be a concern and the pitching was going to be ok. The bullpen has been pretty solid so far this year, with a couple hiccups, but nothing compared to the terrible starting pitching. The Cubs have five quality starts in twenty-one games. Couple that with a shaky defense and this is not a recipe for success. Luckily for us, we’re still 10-11 and only a game and a half out of first place. Let’s get this pitching and defense locked in and see what we can do in the Central. Go Cubbies!
Oh yeah, and how bout those Bulls and Blackhawks!?
About the Author
Written by Paul Jackson
I'm a full-time student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I love the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls.