Jordan already discussed the rash of injuries in an earlier post, and after a loss on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the rest of the team was probably just happy to get on the airplane to Chicago in one piece.
The Cubs offense struggled with the knuckleball that is Tim Wakefield’s speciality, and it took all the way until the top of the 7th inning before a pair of batters were able to figure out Wakefield some what to scratch across a run. Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker were that duo, both doubling in the frame. However Baker added his name to the MASH unit that the Cubs are quickly. The super utility man barely slid into second base before calling time due to his injury.
Mean while James Russell found himself in the starting rotation in place of the scratched Matt Garza. Despite his struggles as a spot starter so far in 2011 and the fact that he threw three innings in relief on Friday night, the young left hander provided an admirable performance considering the circumstances. He looked noticeably better than his prior starting appearances and was able to wiggle his way out of trouble until the 4th inning.
Even then, the Red Sox were able to only muster back to back sacrifice flies for their two runs that inning, when things could have gotten real messy real quick for Russell and the Cubs. Depending on Matt Garza’s health status this week, I am almost curious to see how Russell would fair in another start. If he were to be kept in the rotation for the time being, his next start would fall against the Pirates, who are no Red Sox. Russell has been working on a couple pitches to expand his repertoire, something starters need since they face a line up two or three times through in a game. He has two solid pitches that have helped him stay unscored upon as a reliever, and a third and fourth pitch that are coming along would result in better starts out of him.