This game could be summed up in 4 words: Runners In Scoring Position.
The Cubs were 0-9 with RISP in what was a 1-run ball game until Rafael Dolis came in and looked rustier than an rot-iron fence. I wont get into the details but it took him 31 pitches to get two outs… and that’s after giving up 3 earned runs.
He had control issues and his mechanics looked spotty at best – even finishing his delivery facing second base at one point.
Dolis’ woes aside, the Cubs had no problem putting ducks on the pond, but couldn’t get the clutch hitting to drive them in. The Cubs outhit the Astros is every game this series but were still swept – accumulating 10 hits tonight vs the Astros’ 9. Joe Mather and Jeff Baker both went 2-4 respectively and looked relatively comfortable working in the dish. Reed Johnson hit a solo homer in the top of the first to double his season total – which now sits at 2.
Jeff Samardzija on the other hand looked very good today. He started out well throwing mostly fastballs (94-96 MPH) in the early goings and then switched it up with some offspeed stuff after going through the Astros’ batting order once. He had the corners locked in and wasn’t hesitating to aggressively pitch against any batter. That’s good mature pitching from the young lad and he definitely pitched well enough to win tonight. He even helped his own cause by slashing a bloop single into right!
James Russell was called upon to work in the 7th and he did what he does best: pitched a good clean inning.
Alfonso Soriano stranded 5 men on base alone after going 0-4 at the plate. He also looked bothered by his bum knee for most of the game, often limping to grab balls in the outfield. I feel for the guy, but he needs to perform.
All in all, sputtering offense killed the Cubs today. Chalk that up as their 9th straight L; the first time they’ve lost that many in a row in 10 years.