The Cubs spent Mother’s Day weekend in the nation’s capitol, with the Nationals playing as the host. After a heartbreaking playoff defeat at the hands of the Cardinals to end 2012, Washington is competing with the Braves and Phillies for the 2012 NL East crown. Our Cubs, of course, are just working on improving their record compared to the 100 plus losses last season.
A series win on the road. The Cubs stole a game on Sunday in which they were no hit for half of the contest, scoring single tallies in the last two innings to snatch away the win and the series victory. This was after an eight run outburst on Saturday behind Edwin Jackson. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits and none of the runs they scored in game two were from the benefit of a home run.
From the mound, the aforementioned Jackson earned his first Cubs win and Scott Feldman continues to trend positively after a slow start, holding his own against Gio Gonzalez on Sunday to keep his team in the ballgame and set the stage for the late inning comeback. Kyuji Fujikawa had two scoreless innings of work upon his return from the disabled list and Kevin Gregg is now six for six in the save department.
Darwin Barney went 2 for 10 in the series and ended Sunday with a .154 batting average. To be fair, the Gold Glove second baseman is still working on getting his timing back after starting the season on the DL with a knee laceration that prevented a lot of physical activity. Barney was given a game off a few days ago and got some extra hitting in. While he may never be a career .300 hitter, Barney is fully capable of providing a respectable average of .280 with an OBP in the upper half of the .300s. The Cubs second baseman should start to see the hits drop before the end of the month.
There should be a little concern for Scott Hairston, on the other hand. The veteran outfielder was brought in for his history of feasting on left handed pitching and as of Sunday he only had an overall average of .136. He went 1 for 6 in this series and overall has been unable to get going against the left handed pitchers. One can argue that it is hard to get going with a part time rations worth of at bats, but the Cubs have faced a fair amount of lefties so far this season. The Cubs really need Hairston to get going because their outfield depth is heavily left handed, with Alfonso Soriano being the only other right hander currently.
Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija was beat up for seven runs (five earned) in just five innings of work to open the series. After being a victim of bad luck to start the season 1-4, everything just fell apart on him Friday. The Shark will just have to chalk this one up to a learning experience and go for win number two in his next start. With only 73 pitches thrown on Friday, his arm should feel fresh for his start against the Rockies.