Hardly surprising, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon employed an incredibly quick hook when things started heading south for Tyler Chatwood on Saturday.
Another day, another lackluster performance from the Chicago Cubs offense. Regardless of how you feel about the effort put forth by Tyler Chatwood, what Saturday’s loss really boils down to is simple: the bats aren’t doing what they need to in order to help the team win.
Chicago has tallied more than four runs one time since Aug. 7. In the month of August, the Cubs hold the fourth-worst OPS in the National League at .647. Similarly, they have the fifth-lowest batting average. In Pittsburgh, the club put up one measly run in each of the first three contests – coming away with two wins thanks to Jon Lester and Cole Hamels.
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Chatwood only pitched into the third – and did not record an out in the frame. He opened the second with back-to-back walks to Josh Bell and Francisco Cervelli. Naturally, both guys came around to score later in the inning. A sac fly later in the inning capped the scoring in the inning. But a leadoff walk in the third spelled the end of the right-hander’s abbreviated evening.
"“I didn’t see it getting better,” Maddon said after the loss. “The two walks led to two of the three runs. … I know we’re not scoring runs, and I know [Pirates starter Joe Musgrove] is pitching really well. So it’s a bad assumption to think that if you continue to let them maybe get four or five [runs] at that point, that you would have any chance.”"
The Cubs look to rebound and, hopefully, they can get the bats going in Sunday’s matinee finale behind Jose Quintana. As the lefty looks for consistency, hopefully he can take a page out of Cole Hamels’ book.
Hamels has been nothing short of dominant since joining the team last month, actually matching what Justin Verlander did over his first four starts with Houston last summer. They’ve gotten their outs in different fashions, but both men provided huge boosts to their respective clubs.
A string of strong outings from Quintana could help solidify the rotation – especially if the Cubs punch a fourth-straight playoff ticket in the next six weeks. But, for now, we’ll settle for getting some semblance of an offense going
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Chicago concludes a four-game set in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Jose Quintana (10-9, 4.46) starts for the Cubs opposite Jameson Taillon (9-9, 3.66). Then, the club hits the road for a quick trip to Detroit.