Chicago Cubs: Road woes continue with another loss to the Dodgers

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Facing a critical stretch of the schedule, the Chicago Cubs have fallen flat on their current road trip, raising questions about the team’s ability to win on the road.

It’s been a tale of two teams so far this season. When the Chicago Cubs welcome opponents to Wrigley Field, they’ve looked like a team with real World Series aspirations – a force to be reckoned with in a top-heavy Senior Circuit. Away from the Friendly Confines … well, things haven’t been so friendly.

After Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago drops to 14-20 on the road this season. That stands in stark contrast to the club’s 24-11 mark at home – and has raised one simple, yet maddeningly difficult question to answer: why have they struggled so much away from the Windy City?

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Believe it or not, Chicago boasts the second-highest road OPS in the National League (.809), trailing only the Arizona Diamondbacks (.810). Their 189 runs in 34 road games also rank second in the league – so it’s hard to point to the offense as a major issue here. I mean, even on Friday, Chicago scored three runs – and Kris Bryant added three hits, including a home run – but if you ask Joe Maddon, there’s been a missing next step: putting opponents away.

"“We’re letting them back in and then they’re just holding on,” Maddon told MLB.com. “We have to continue to churn out runs game in progress. I think we lose patience during the game. I’ve talked about that. I think we have to maintain our patience.”"

Earlier this week, our very own Erik Mauro pointed to the myriad of statistics that suggest Chicago and Los Angeles are on the same plane – but through the first two games of this series, it sure hasn’t felt that way.

We pointed to Chicago’s 14-20 road record. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 27-7 in Chavez Ravine and a still respectable 20-16 away from Dodger Stadium. That has culminated in an MLB-best 47-23 mark entering play Saturday.

If the offense isn’t (at least entirely) to blame, what about Cubs pitching?

Bingo.

Chicago hurlers boast the third-highest road ERA (4.94) in the National League, besting only the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. (The fact the Cubs swept the Redbirds twice at Wrigley Field makes a lot of sense knowing that).

Opponents are hitting .264 (third-highest mark in the league) against Chicago pitching away from Wrigley – so it’s abundantly clear where the issues have arisen. The arms aren’t doing their job and it shows in the team’s disappointing record.

Next. Cubs seeking (and need) an impact left-hander. dark

We’ll turn the page on the disappointing 1-4 start to this trek through Colorado and Southern California for another showdown between two of the league’s best on Saturday night. Yu Darvish will look to shut down his former team and stem the tide – writing a new narrative for us all to focus on.

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