The Cubs arrived in Pittsburgh Friday to start a weekend series with the division rival Pirates. President Obama would prefer to stick around DC for a while, but the Cubs were eager to leave Washington after getting a beat down at the hands of the Nationals.
Despite the low expectations for the 2012 Cubs, it has been a tough season for the players and fans alike. As a team in transition, part of the reason for that has been the attempt to see what the prospects can prove at the Major League level, something that has been amplified with the trade of a few veterans at the July deadline.
What Went Right:Going hand in hand with the youth movement are growing pains. But for one night, at least, it was great to see the miscues and embarrassment coming from a team other than the Cubs. The home team Pirates, despite being in the thick of the new two team wild card playoff chase, committed a comical seven errors on the night.
The positive for the Cubs offense was that they actually took advantage, gladly taking the freebies on their way to scoring 12 runs. Even these Cubs could not waste all of the extra outs the home team served on a platter. Thanks to the errors, the Cubs did not need the benefit of the long ball to score any of their runs.
Lost in the shadow of the offensive highlights was the fact that Travis Wood was cruising along off the pitching rubber, not allowing a hit until a deep drive in the fifth just clipped off the edge of center fielder Brett Jackson’s glove. That would be the only hit Wood would allow as he went six innings with five strikeouts, building his resume to be a first choice option for the 2013 Cubs rotation.
What Went Wrong: For once there was not much to complain about. James Russell did allow two runs to lose the shutout bid by the Cubs, doing so by allowing three hits in an inning of work.
What Was Interesting: Starlin Castro collected his 500th career base hit and finished the night 3 for 5 with 4 RBI and a stolen base, his 22nd of the season. He is not on pace to crack 200 hits on the season, the amazing league leading feat he accomplished last season, but his continued overall positive development confirms that the extension the Cubs signed him to will be a wise move for the coming years.