Welcome to the first installment of the Chicago Cubs weekly recap at Cubbies Crib. Every Monday we’ll be taking a look at how the Cubs fared over the last seven days, while highlighting the top performers in that span. So let’s take a look and see how our Cubs performed for the week of April 7th through the 13th.
Team Recap – 2-4 last week. Season: 4-8 The Cubs started the week by welcoming in the Pittsburgh Pirates for their second series of the season. Once again the Cubs found themselves in a trio of close games, similar to the opening week in Pittsburgh. Once again the Cubs were unable to win a series, dropping two out of three. Jason Hammel was strong in his outing in the Cubs only win, but the bullpen struggles continued as they were unable to hold the Pirates in the other two games. Travis Wood had another quality start, but the bullpen surrendered four runs and the Cubs squandered a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4 and the Cubs dropped another season series. The team then traveled to St. Louis for a weekend series against the Cardinals.
In the opener, Jeff Samardzija pitched seven solid innings and finally got some run support as the Cubs looked poised to take the opener with Jose Veras taking the ball in the ninth for the save chance. But Veras couldn’t close the door, and the Cards tied the game. If not for the heroics of Wellington Castillo’s three-run shot in the 11th, the Cubs may have been swept in St. Louis. The bullpen was not to blame in the other two games of the series as Carlos Villanueva was roughed up in the second game, and Edwin Jackson surrendered four runs in his outing on Sunday. The Cubs are now winless in their last nine series, going back to September of last season.
Players of the week
Batting – Starlin Castro: .400 Avg/.423 OBP/.720 SLG, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.143 OPS I think that I speak for most Cubs fans when I say this week when watching Starlin Castro, it was very encouraging. And it wasn’t just his performance at the plate. Castro made several great defensive plays, and seemed to be fully engaged when in the field. His solid week was highlighted by a two home run day against the Pirates in the series opener. It’s only a week of baseball, but hopefully Castro is getting over the proverbial hump and returning to the form that had the Cubs front office convinced he was part of the nucleus to take them to the top.
Pitching – Hector Rondon: 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, O ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 SV After being a Rule 5 pick last year, Hector Rondon is showing more and more confidence with each outing. Last year the Cubs used Rondon in low pressure situations, and he performed well. The Cubs rebuilding status last season allowed them to keep him on the roster all year, per the Rule 5 draft rules. Now, 16 innings later, going back to last season, he has yet to allow a run and has snuck into the closer conversation after notching his first career save against the Cardinals. Many times when the talk is being had about a pitchers ability to become the team’s closer, it’s due to a failure of the current closer. That is all too true for the Cubs. Jose Veras has faltered, and now the Cubs are looking for someone to close out games. Rebuilding season or not, you don’t want to throw away games in late innings.
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