Bullpen Let’s Cubs Down Once Again
It’s only two games, but it’s certainly a disturbing trend. For the second straight game the Cubs played great baseball through 7 innings, and seemed to be on their way to a victory. Instead of being 2-0, they are now 0-2 after Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol both were terrible for the second straight afternoon. Heading to the 8th inning the Cubs led 4-2 with Kerry Wood taking the mound. Things went well enough early as Wood set down the first two Nationals hitters that he faced, then things got ugly, really fast. Danny Espinosa got the rally started launching a solo shot to the left center bleachers to make it a 4-3 game. No harm done, solo home runs will happen, especially with the wind blowing out, but Wood unraveled. Wood gave up a broken bat single to Ryan Zimmerman, then another base hit to Adam Laroche, and just like that his day was over. Sveum decided to go back to Marmol to try to get out of the inning, but that only threw gasoline on the fire. Marmol started his effort with a walk to Jayson Werth, he then gave up a two run single to Chad Tracy, and ended his day with by giving up a double to Bernadina and just like that it was 6-4 Nats, and the game was all but lost.
Things looked good early on, again. The Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Gio Gonzalez wild pitch in the first inning. The Cubs were doing a fantastic job working counts against Gonzalez as he was only able to make it into the 4th inning before being lifted. Matt Garza, who was outstanding all day, made his only mistake of the day in the top half of the 4th inning. He had two strikes on Adam Laroche when he tried to elevate a fastball past Laroche, Garza didn’t get it high enough and Laroche was able to get the barrel on the ball for a two run shot off the right field foul pole. The Cubs answered right back as they put the first two guys on in the bottom half of the inning, but it looked like they squandered the chance after Barney and Garza both followed with strikeouts. Reed Johnson to the rescue as he inside outted a pitch down the right field line for a huge two out two-run triple to put the Cubs in front 3-2. Joe Mather followed with a sharp single to left putting the Cubs up 4-2 and ending Gio Gonzalez’s day. That was all the damage the Cubs would do on the day as the Nationals bullpen came in and did what the Cubs pen couldn’t, which is shut down the Cubs for the final five innings.
Born on Third’s Thoughts:
Well, crap. These losses are the worst, the fact that they have come back to back to start the season makes it almost unbearable to take. I have to caution myself in this situation because I want to be furious, but I can’t because I understand that these things are going to happen with this team. On the other hand, the guys that are costing this team games are the guys that are supposed to be able to be counted on at the back of the bullpen and at the end of the game. That’s what makes the start of the 2012 season so hard to take, this team could be 2-0, and probably should be 2-0. If the Cubs were going to start 0-2 I would prefer them to have lost a well-played 3-1 game, or even be blown out, but the fact that the Cubs outplayed the Nats for 15 innings out the 18 that have been played hurts. 160 to go, deep breath.
Thanks for reading,
– George Cotugno