The Cubs hosted the Padres in a four game set to close out the month of April and start the month of May. Some of the off the field items of note were the match up of traded prospects Andrew Cashner and Anthony Rizzo, a series between the two last place teams of their respective divisions, Cody Ransom suiting up against the team that dumped in just a couple of weeks into the 2013 season, and a first hand look at Chase Headley, who was a rumored trade target of the Cubs in the past couple of years.
As in consistent as the offense has been for a month, one of the areas where the Cubs have been fairly productive is in the home run department. The North Siders added seven more to their tally in this series. Granted four came in the slug fest that resulted in a loss, the homers that have been hit have meant something over the course of the games, unlike many of the long balls Sammy Sosa hit at Wrigley with the win or loss sealed early on in the contest.
The Cubs also collected 39 hits total in the series, again almost averaging 10 knocks per game.
As good as the starting rotation has been as a whole, a majority of the collective success has been attributed to the efforts of Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, and Carlos Villanueva. So it was a pleasant surprise when Scott Feldman put up what is arguably the best outing by a Cubs starter so far, collecting his first complete game in a 6-2 that he dominated.
While the hit total noted above was good, the clutch hits continue to elude the Cubs offense and prevent more comfortable score lines for their pitchers. While the team averaged 5 runs a game in this series, this on going issue helped lead to the tough loss suffered in the series finale. A clutch hit or two in that game helps avoid even setting the stage for late inning drama.
As great as Feldman’s outing was, Edwin Jackson’s was the complete opposite. The former National’s appearance in the series is one to forget, by far the worst showing by a Cubs starter so far this month. Jackson could not even get through five innings while allowing eight runs on 11 hits.
Then there was the whole debacle that was the top of the eighth inning on Thursday. Let’s just leave it at that because I’m sure no one is in the mood to rehash that tough loss any further.