Bullpen fails Villanueva yet again; Cubs settle for split

Cubs 5-8 line

Full Box Score

  Carlos Villanueva can’t buy a win as he has left with a lead in five of his seven starts this year, the Cubs pen has blown the lead now in four of those five starts.  Villanueva didn’t have his best stuff today but still got into the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead.  The usually reliable James Russell took over in the seventh and gave up back-to-back hits which resulted in the Cardinals knotting the game up.  Michael Bowden worked the eighth inning and surrendered the game winning run as the Cubs couldn’t generate anything in the final two innings.  The bullpen was half the story, double plays and missed opportunities were the other half.  The Cubs seemingly had men on base all day long, but grounded into four double plays to thwart any rally they might have had.  The Cardinals weren’t much better, but did get the big hit in the eighth inning when they needed it, but they also grounded in to four double Rizzo 5-8plays, odd game in that regard for sure.  Really wanted a sweep for the Cubs, and of course they were in position to get one, eventually these blown leads have to stop…..I think.

At The Plate - The Cubs pounded out eleven hits, but could only manage four runs as they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and they had that double play issue that I already mentioned.  Luis Valbuena got a chance in the three spot today and delivered a solid game going 1-for-2 with two walks, and two runs scored.  Anthony Rizzo continues to roll, he was 3-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, all of a sudden he is hitting .269 on the season.  Cody Ransom continues to hit for the Cubs, he was 2-for-4 with two singles in the loss.

On The Mound - Carlos Villanueva wasn’t at his best, but did more than enough to pick up a win in this one, alas, a no decision for the funny facial hair guy.  Villanueva went 6.2 innings giving up three runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out two.  James Russell wasn’t his usual self in this one, he was asked to get the last out in the seventh, he did, but not after giving up a run on two hits.  Michael Bowden worked the eighth and took the loss, he gave up one run on two hits.  Kevin Gregg, the Cubs new closer (officially), worked a scoreless ninth to keep the Cubs in it, he walked one and struck out two.

Up Next – A day off tomorrow.  Then a three game weekend series in Washington, the full series preview will be up tomorrow, going to be a tough series for sure.

Cubs 5-8 box

Game Highlights:

Schierholtz’s two run double
Rizzo rips a double, Valbuena scores on error
Schierholtz with a sliding catch
Borbon called out on interference
Another tremendous catch by Schierholtz

Thanks for reading,
– George

2 Comments

As well as Feldman and Villanueva have been pitching I can see them being traded when the trade deadline comes in July. I hope they stay healthy and keep up the great pitching. And if we are able to flip them for some young talent I am fine with that. I just wish our bullpen was better at protecting leads.

Ron

Totally agree Ron, the best thing for this team in the long run is for both guys to pitch well and then get traded. Totally different story if the bullpen does its job this year and the Cubs are in the race, then you hang on to them and see what happens. But they way things are going right now, if they continue to pitch like this they could definitely be moved for something at the deadline.

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