There is a disturbing trend that is starting to develop for the Chicago Cubs during the early parts of the 2012 season. That trend is that the 2012 Cubs are looking very similar to the 2011 Cubs. On Opening Day that Cubs had 1-o lead going into the eighth inning before Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol consequently blew the lead for the Cubs. Ditto on Saturday as well. The Cubs had a 4-2 lead over the Washington Nationals on Saturday before Wood and Marmol blew the game once again for the Cubs.
In light of the first two games that were blown by the Cubs’ bullpen, there has been a lot of questioning. The questioning revolves around Wood and Marmol. Going into Spring Training, Wood and Marmol were expected to be the two relievers that were going to hold the Cubs’ bullpen together during the 2012 season. But if the any indications are to come from the first two games of the season, it would appear that Wood and Marmol are the exact opposite. As some bloggers and radio hosts have pointed out over the past 48 hours, there is no reason why Kerry Wood should even be on the Cubs’ 2012 reason. That sentiment will now be criticized by Cubs’ fans that inaccurately believe that Wood is entitled to be on the Cubs. That is exactly what was wrong with bringing Wood back. The reason had nothing to do with on the field reasons, rather, the Cubs needed at least one familiar face and fan favorite in order to still have a drawing card for fans this season. Though, if logical Cubs’ fans are basing their attendance in Wrigley Field on whether or not Wood is on the team, then would have to question their judgement.
Nonetheless, lets take a look at rest of the game notes from the Cubs 7 to 4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
What Went Right: The Cubs offense has been impressive in the early going of the season. With all the questions about the offense coming into the season, the Cubs’ position players have put the team in position to win in each of their first two games. Manager Dale Sveum went with a different lineup against the left handed Gio Gonzalez with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather starting in place of David DeJesus and Ian Stewart. Mather and Johnson were combined 2 for 7 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored at the top of the Cubs’ lineup. Starlin Castro was 2 for 5, pushing his streak of reaching base safely to 42 games.
With the exception of Wood and Marmol, the Cubs; pitching staff was relatively successful in containing the Nationals. Starting pitcher Matt Garza pitched six innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and one walk while striking out 5 National batters. Rafael Dolis through a perfect seventh inning. After the damage was done to Wood and Marmol in the eighth, Shawn Camp through an inning and a third while holding the Nationals scoreless.
What Went Wrong: Wood and Marmol…BAD!!!!!
What was Interesting: Matt Garza had a Zambrano-esque tirade in the Cubs’ dugout after the starting pitcher gave up a two run home run to Nationals’ first baseman Adam LaRoche. The only difference was that Garza kept the semi-tirade to himself, and was able to calm himself down within a few seconds. Garza is an emotional player, something that may have rubbed the previous Cubs’ regime the wrong way. Regardless, I take no issue with Garza’s display of disappointment on Saturday, Reason being Garza was mad at himself, and did not include his teammates in his behavior.
Jeff Samardzija takes the mound for the Cubs on Sunday as the team looks to get the first win of the Theo Epstein era.