Delayed for exactly two hours due to rain, the Cubs took on the Washington Nationals today. Rarely do we see a game whose hopelessness is defined by the first inning of play, and so resoundingly reversed during the last out in the 9 inning but in this case a Ryan Zimmmerman home run along with Travis Wood‘s all-over-the-place pitching signaled what we thought to be the end early. That ended up being wrong. Donnie Murphy went from 3 strikeouts on the day to a two-run blast in the ninth to tie it, 4-all. It wasn’t enough, as a Dioner Navarro GIDP in the 13th ended it , and the Cubs lose 5-4 in 13 innings and drop to 54-73 while the Nationals better their record at 63-64.
Stephen Strasburg had a dominant game with 8 strikeouts in a performance which saw his changeup and curveball really shining today. He went for 9.2 innings for 112 pitches and was 3.00 on his ERA. He also happened to be responsible for an RBI in the 2nd.
Travis Wood for the Cubs was another story. Dropping to 7-11 for 3.22 ERA, he had control problems early that the Nationals happily took advantage of. He gave up two bombs, one from Zimmerman in the first and one from Steve Lombardozzi in the 7th. It was his 26th start of the year, and his very first against the Nationals.
With eight hits, the Cubs did what the Cubs do and played with our emotions today. Their offensive production was ugly early by a throwing error and TWO, count ‘em, TWO caught stealing on Starlin Castro (all while earning his Golden Sombrero in extras). There was a shining light in the 8th as Brian Bogusevic hit a solo, lead-off homer. Then in the 9th, Donnie Murphy, after 3 strike outs on the day hit a two-run blast to tie the game. In comparison, the Nationals had 11 hits and scored 5 of them. The Nationals take the series, 3 games to one.
In extras Michael Bowden again disappointed after hitting Bryce Harper in the 13th and eventually allowing Denard Span to score off a Steve Lombardozzi sac bunt, which proved to be an insurmountable total in the lower half of the inning.
In other news today is Dutchie Caray, Haray Caray’s widow’s 84th birthday and she was in attendance at Wrigley. Javier Baez hit two home runs last night for AA Tennessee in an epic performance that serves as a small consolation in hope for the future.
The Cubs travel to the golden state to take on the San Diego Padres tomorrow, at 9 PM CST on WGN.