Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs got off to a great start to the week, and had a bookend win to finish the week. What took place in the middle was frustrating to fans as well as the Cubs themselves. Let’s take a look back at the last seven days and see how the Cubs fared.
Team Recap: 3-4 for the week (8-16 on the season)
Things were looking up when the Cubs took the first two of the series against the D-Backs, and led 5-2 going into the ninth of game three. The Cubs were looking to win their first series of the season.
Then wheels fell off when the Cubs bullpen imploded on the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field. The Cubs surrendered five in the top of the ninth, losing that game as well as the final game of the series to end up with a split.
Things looked so promising for the Cubs to break the streak and finally win a series this season, but the tail end of the bullpen, still looking for an identity as well as a closer failed to close the door. The Cubs squandered a great opportunity and another great start from Jeff Samardzija, now winless since beating San Diego on August 24th of last season.
The Cubs offense did show improvement this week, finishing third in runs scored (36) in the National League over the last seven days. It’s nothing to celebrate over, but it is a promising sign the Cubs are starting to score runs on a consistent basis.
After splitting the D-Backs series, the Cubs headed to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers and former Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, who hasn’t been shy about his disdain for Chicago in the media. Unfortunately the Cubs were unable to silence Garza as they dropped the opener 5-2. Travis Wood followed in game two with one of his less effective starts, but the Cubs didn’t provide much offense again, scoring only three as the Cubs dropped the contest 5-3.
Jason Hammel came out in the series finale and was able to stop the bleeding and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Carlos Gomez hit a double on his bobble head day to break it up. Hammel finished the day with seven shutout innings and Hector Rondon went 1-2-3 in a non-save situation to close out the win.
If manager Rick Renteria was “testing the waters”, it looks like Rondon passed with flying colors.
Players of the week
Jason Hammel – 2-0, 14 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 11 K
Hammel has become the Cubs’ top arm and has benefited with the team’s offensive support to come away with four wins. His lone loss was a 3-0 shutout to the Yankees on April 16 at Yankees Stadium, a place the Cubs have never won at in their history. Hammel leads the NL in WHIP with a .069 and has half of the Cubs’ wins.
Ryan Kalish – .455 (7/15), 1 2B, 3 R, .455 OBP, .545 SLG
Kalish didn’t hit any home runs this week or even have an RBI, but he battled in his at-bats, got on base (.455 OBP) and scored three runs. Kalish went 2-for-4 on Sunday and made his first start since his neck surgery this offseason. With Junior Lake struggling at the plate, Renteira may put Kalish in the lineup more.