“Go Cubs Go” is probably the happiest song in all of baseball, and it’s been on repeat in Wrigley as of late. The Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves two out of three in what was probably Chipper Jones’ last trip to the Friendly Confines.
Game One of the series saw Jeff Samardzija throw yet another gem, lively Cubs bats, and Carlos Marmol looking more like his old self.
In seven innings of work, Samardzija struck out seven and only allowed one run in the 2nd inning. Against a lefty-heavy lineup with the success that the Braves have had so far, that’s pretty impressive.
Of the five runs that the Cubs scored in this game, four of them came from the long ball. Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart went back-to-back in the fourth to gain the lead, and the Cubs didn’t look back. Starlin Castro had an RBI single in the seventh and then Soto hit a two-run dinger in the eighth.
However, the biggest story of this game had to be the bottom of the 8th inning when Carlos Marmol took the mound. Marmol recently lost his closing job after multiple blown saves and got into trouble early by walking the first two batters he faced. However, he came back and finished off the inning without allowing any runs to score, striking out two along the way.
As encouraging as Game One was in all aspects of the game, the Cubs fell back into the same problems they had earlier in the season: lack of run support for the starters and the inability of the bullpen to hold an inning.
Ryan Dempster can’t seem to catch a break as he only allowed one run in seven innings of work. The Cubs could only manage to push one run across, so when Kerry Wood came in for the eighth, Dempster once again got a no-decision after a great performance.
Wood allowed two walks and two hits, which earned the Braves two more runs to make it 3-1. That would end up being the final score of the game as Wood earned his second loss this season.
Game Three of the series was a pitchers’ duel between the sinker specialist Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm, who has had an excellent year so far. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh after an RBI single by LaHair scored David DeJesus. James Russell came in for relief in the eighth for the hold followed by a save by Rafael Dolis as the Cubs went on to win 1-0.
In their six-game homestand, the Cubs managed to beat two of the best teams in the National League in the Braves and the Dodgers. Hopefully, the Cubs can take this level of play on the road as they go on to face the division rival Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.
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