Weekend Wear and Tear -- Cubs lose 2 of 3 in Texas
4-29-05 -- Cubs 3, Astros 2
4-30-05 -- Cubs 5, Astros 7
5-1-05 -- Cubs 3, Astros 9
As is the up-and-down nature of the Cubs' fortunes, this series consisted of 3 games decided in single moments, moments that did not always go Chicago's way.
The Cubs won game 1 on the strength of their pitching, both from Maddux and the bullpen, and their ability to take advantage of a bad pitch (Burnitz's solo HR brought Clemens the loss).
Game 2 was defined by Kerry Wood - his shoulder troubles allowed the Astros to jump out to a 3-0 lead before the Cubs could even blink. In addition to pitching troubles, their bullpen having looked so good the day before (Game 1: 3 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 K//Game 2: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K), Cubs' bats were ineffective at best - Innings 5-7 were 1-2-3 innings for Astros pitchers, with all 9 batters retired with ease, 5 striking out, 3 fly outs and a groundout.
Game 3 saw Prior make 2 bad pitches - 1 relinquishing a grand slam to 1B Mike Lamb, the next giving SS Adam Everett a 3-run HR in the same Inning. All 7 Astros runs came with 2 outs, and thus spelled the end to Mark's outing and giving him his first loss on the season.
The Cubs will get better, but they definitely showed their Jekyll and Hyde persona this weekend, making short work of a struggling Astros lineup on Friday night and then allowing 16 runs in 16 Innings over the next two games. When you look at the Cardinals opening up a 3 1/2 game cushion after only 24 games, missed opportunities like these against a slow-starting NL Central rival in Houston can become costly in the long run.