The Cubs enjoyed some sun and fun on the field in Miami, as they took part in a four game series over the weekend with the Marlins. It was a home coming for first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and Cubs fans got a glimpse of former Cub Juan Pierre and a former prospect that was traded for him in Ricky Nolasco. After getting swept at Marlins Park in the last season, the Cubs were also looking to get their first win there.
Finally! A series win for the first time since the season opening set in Pittsburgh. The Cubs took three of four, falling just short of the sweep on Sunday. The North Siders collected the wins with a total team effort all series long. There were long balls, some hitting with RISP, and solid pitching overall.
The closer’s role appears to be decided without, well, being decided. Dale Sveum continues to avoid officially anointing a closer, but veteran Kevin Gregg collected two saves in this weekend series against his one of many former teams. The righty has yet to give up an earned run and was perfect in his two appearances in Miami. His stuff is not as nasty as Carlos Marmol’s, but the positives already mentioned along with his ability to pitch instead of throw so far has made him a refreshing 180 degree change from Marmol. It will be interesting to see if Gregg is the official unofficial closer for the near future. At this point it really makes sense to ride the hot hand in a closer’s role that has been like kryptonite to the other relievers in the Cubs pen.
The North Siders continue to struggle with RISP, going 6 for 29 in the series. While the stat did not cost the Cubs more than one win in the series, the lack of clutch hits is one main reason the boys in blue have had to grind out nail biter after nail biter. The lack of a big inning puts added pressure on the pitching, defense, and in turn back on the offense again, creating a chicken or the egg type scenario. One game in which the Cubs bust out with some runs could really get this team over the hump and start an honest climb towards a .500 record.