The Cubs made a brief visit to Anaheim (yes I disagree with associating them with Los Angeles) for a two game mini series. The two teams locked horns with similar win loss records, with the Angels being under .500 a reflection of them underachieving despite having a middle of the order that features sluggers Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. The Cubs, on the other hand, are basically where they should be despite bold words by the front office of being competitive this past off season.
The Cubs pounded out 23 hits and scored 11 runs over the two games. Their series finale win witnessed a clutch three run homer by Cody Ransom and two separate rallies, including a base clearing extra base effort by Anthony Rizzo in the bonus inning.
June 5, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kevin Gregg (63) and catcher Welington Castillo (53) celebrate the Cubs 8-6 victory against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Feldman kept up his bid to be an All Star representative for the Cubs, tossing six innings of two run ball with just six hits allowed and one free pass issued. Unfortunately for him, his bullpen mate let him down, as has been the on going theme in 2013. More on that below, but if you are going to play the blame game when things are going bad, you also have to give credit where credit is due. Where Feldman had to settle for the unlucky no decision, game two starter Matt Garza was rescued from the L thanks to his offense and clutch relief appearances from Hector Rondon and Kevin Gregg. The rookie Rondon helped bridge the late tie ballgame to Gregg with 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. The Cubs closer then made sure the game went into extras where Rizzo provided the above mentioned heroics.
Regarding the bullpen failures hinted at above, this time the victim was Carlos Villanueva, who was eventually hit with the loss. The former Cubs starter saw his record drop to 1-4 and Albert Pujols was the culprit, giving Villanueva a crash course on how several Cubs Cardinals battles seemed to end when Pujols was still in St. Louis. To be fair, Villanueva was not the only Cubs relief man to give up a run. James Russell gave up a rare long ball himself on the final night, with that game tying run the one causing the extra innings. Gregg also allowed one run in his appearance, but unlike Carlos Marmol he had the composure to work around it for the win. The Cubs closer improved to 2-0 while his ERA crept over 1.00 to 1.08.