Casey McGehee Haunts Cubs Again

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The Cubs had a chance to win their second series in a row, but so far Sundays have been a jinx for the bullpen. Former Cub Casey McGehee, who has had a slow start to the 2011 season, came off the bench with pinch hit two run homer that ended up being the game winning hit. The Cubs could easily be 6-3 right now.

OFFENSE

The Cubs offense jumped on Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo early. Aramis Ramirez lead the way by hitting a double and driving in Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd in the first inning. The Cubs frequently scored first inning runs in Spring Training, and it was good to see it in the series finale against the fellow NL Central division contender Milwaukee. The offense tacked on additional runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Darwin Barney made sure the team collected on Tyler Colvin’s lead off double with a RBI single. In the 3rd inning Ramirez and Byrd repeated the walk ahead of a double combination to make the score 4-2 in favor of the road team.

The Cubs slugging third baseman actually finished the game 3 for 5 with three RBIs, all of hits being doubles. Unfortunately he could not add to his great day at the plate despite Byrd getting hits in front of him in both the 7th and 9th innings. In fact, the Cubs as a team stranded four runners at second base and three at third, and the offense was not able to give the pitching staff a nice comfortable lead to work with. Even fill in starting pitcher Casey Coleman chipped in with a double of his own and two sacrifice bunts.

Byrd had a nice 2 for 3 game with two walks and three runs scored, but unfortunately the focus was on the miscommunication resulting in his ill advised stolen base attempt in the top of the 9th with doubles machine Ramirez at the plate. The Cubs center fielder was curt in the post game interview after a reporter repeatedly tried to get Byrd to explain what happened on that play, and manager Mike Quade chalked the mistake up to miscommunication and possibly his own fault.

Until the Cubs were shut out yesterday, the team had been involved in very close games so far this season. With the tension displayed by Byrd’s post game reaction, one has to wonder if tension of all these tight early games has already begun to put the team through the grinder. The injuries to the back end of the starting rotation has not helped either. Whether or not the Cubs are starting to tighten up, it seems to be the perfect time to be making a trip down to Houston to play the lowly Astros, who are 2-7 on the year.

PITCHING

Coleman did not have a pretty pitching box score as he subbed for the injured Randy Wells, but he did provide an admirable effort to keep the Cubs in the game. Marcos Mateo and Sean Marshall did their part to shut down the powerful Brewers offense, but Kerry Wood issued a lead off walk and the previously mentioned two run homer to McGehee to combine with the Cubs offense to cost the team the game.