The Cubs offense scored single run tallies in each inning from the 3rd to the 6th frame in an attempt to claw back into the game for starting pitcher Matt Garza, who got into trouble in the 4th and 5th innings to give the visiting Reds five runs. But the Cubs offense could not get the clutch hit to break open the game over the Reds. The Cubs left bases loaded no out opportunities wishing for more not once, but twice, doing so in the 4th and 6th inning. The Reds attempted to give the game away to the Cubs with errors in the field and walks by their inconsistent starter Edinson Volquez.
The batting averages for the top four hitters in the order have been steadily dropping over recent games after a hot start. The slide for Kosuke Fukudome has been expected, but it appears the league is adjusting to Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, and both youngsters will be looking to make an adjustment themselves to get back on track, although still having an average over .300 a week into May is not too shabby.
Alfonso Soriano was bumped up to the fifth spot in the order in hopes of getting more out of the home run binge he has started the season with, as well as protecting clean up hitter Aramis Ramirez. However the Cubs left fielder was kept silent on Friday afternoon. We saw Carlos Pena’s power awaken at the end of the West Coast trip. On Friday he ended up collecting three walks. Could the better command of the strike zone be a sign the sub .200 average first baseman may be on his way to breaking out of his hitting slump?
Garza was not able to mimic the stellar outings by Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano in the days before his start yesterday. Considering the Cubs offense missed so many chances, Garza deserved a better outcome, but he could have helped himself as well from the mound. He did try to give a boost to his offense, getting his first career Major League hit in the 3rd inning before eventually coming in to score the first run of the game on a passed ball.
The Cubs bullpen followed up with three innings of scoreless ball to keep the team in the game, but the offense could not muster a rally to get the tying run. Just when the Cubs put together back to back quality games, the thought was that this was the chance for the Cubs to put together a run and a winning streak. Our boys in Cubbie pinstripes will have to try again on Saturday afternoon.