The offense mustered just six scattered hits on Wednesday night as the Chicago Cubs dropped the second game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley.
After taking the home opener on Monday afternoon in commanding fashion, the Chicago Cubs had a very different look and feel on Wednesday night. An offense that pounded out 10 runs on Monday managed just two tallies and the weather, which had been sunny and near 70 just 48 hours earlier, was as chilly as the bats.
Chicago (3-8) got its main offensive contribution in the form of a Jason Heyward solo blast. That home run, his fourth on the year, gets him – at least in terms of homers – to a point he did not reach in 2018 until mid-June. After Wednesday’s three-hit performance (which accounted for half the team’s base hits), the five-time Gold Glove outfielder is hitting a robust .371.
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On the mound, it’s hard to label Yu Darvish and his efforts as a success or a failure. The right-hander pitched into the sixth, a promising sign given his injuries last year. He also did not walk a single batter on the night. Considering he walked a career-high seven earlier this season, that, too, is a good sign.
But his overall line leaves plenty to be desired. 5 1/3 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 2 HR.
Really, the long-ball killed Darvish on Wednesday. His season earned run average is an unsightly 7.50 three starts into 2019 and that’s not sustainable in any sense – especially for a guy on a six-year, $126 million contract. Still, he didn’t walk anyone and ate at least some innings, so I guess it’s a step in the right direction.
Despite a lackluster performance against the Pirates, the Chicago offense is showing signs of being just as or even more potent than the one that helped the Cubs win a World Series just three years ago. Getting Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant on-track (the two went a combined 1-for-6 with three strikeouts and a pair of walks Wednesday) will be a critical next step.
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