The Cubs played a rare three game set at Wrigley in which all contests were under the lights. Such a series figures to only become more regular if the North Siders can successfully push through demands for more night games along with their plans for renovating the second oldest ballpark in all of MLB. On a lighter note, the Rockies were wearing team 20th anniversary patches on their uniform sleeves. For those of us who remember when Colorado first came into the league, don’t you feel a bit old all of a sudden?
Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija picked up wins in the series, with The Shark’s W his first since Opening Day. For Samardzija in particular, it was great to see an excellent bounce back effort after getting smoked in Washington the weekend prior. The young Cubs righty went eight innings with seven strike outs and hit a home run himself for an added bonus. Wood had set the bar high in game one, limiting the Rockies to just two hits over seven innings with no runs allowed.
May 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney (15) makes the out on Colorado Rockies second baseman Josh Rutledge (14) during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports
It takes more than just good pitching to win a game; you need to score runs. The Cubs certainly did that and did so behind a barrage of extra base hits; 16 over the three games to be exact. That accounted for more than half of the base hits, as the Cubs finished with 30, and eight of those came in game one alone.
RISP. The stat that has aptly summarized the Cubs offensive short comings so far this season perfectly reflected the results in this three game set. The North Siders were 6 for 18 in the opener on their way to nine runs scored and behind Samardzija on Wednesday the offense went .550 with RISP (3 for 6). With the way this rotation has been pitching and veteran Kevin Gregg being solid so far, all the Cubs really need is some timely hitting with runners in scoring position to really start turning some heads. Even if the bullpen around Gregg and James Russell is a crapshoot, the long outings by the starters limits bullpen implosions. While the Cubs will likely not become contenders by the end of June, things are certainly looking up for the boys in blue pinstripes.
As mentioned above, the RISP stat perfectly reflected the win loss results for the Cubs in this series. An ugly 2 for 12 line in the middle contest, combined with the worst start of his Cub season by Carlos Villanueva, led to the lone loss of the series. The mustached righty was tagged for seven runs over 12 hits in just five innings of work, although even grinding it out through five frames should be a credit to Villanueva’s professionalism. There would be no Carlos Zambrano like early clubhouse departure while muttering of retirement from the former Blue Jay on this night.