Monday, May 2

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.

2 Comments:

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

JT- I have to admit the Cubs' losses this weekend worry me a bit. They certainly showed both sides of their team personality, and I have to hope that saturday and sunday's personality will end up the introvert of the two.

While they on Friday they tried to prove they can win big games, on Saturday and Sunday that they made me wonder. With the Cards dropping two straight the Cubs blew two opportunities to gain some ground in the central division. Prior failed to execute during key situations, and the Cubs batters stranded more base runners than a plane wreck on ABC. Saturday and Sunday's games were abismal. And they proved nothing.

The biggest thing I learned from watching these games is I don't know this team very well yet. I never would've guessed the only game we'd win would be against Clemens, and I never would've guessed that the cubs would give up so many runs to the struggling Houston offense. The good news on this weekend is that the cubs haven't lost any ground. Time to go to Milwaukee and hopefully end this coming week with a winning record.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger JT said...

Lazlo - yeah, these losses were troubling. Like you said, to see more of the same from the NL Central, seeing two division rivals splitting their series, gave us a chance to pick up a little bit of ground before the schedule gets a little more open between the various divisions.

One thing I didn't know until tonight that explains a little:
The Astros have, in 2005, the 3rd best ERA for their bullpen, hovering somewhere around 2.35. That goes a long way to explaining why no comebacks were really possible over the weekend, with virtually all the runs coming from the Astros' starters.

 

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