The times are a-changin’ at Wrigley Field, not only on the lineup, but also in the front office. Oneri Fleita, the Cubs’ player personnel director, was dismissed today (much to the dismay of many Cubs players), along with baseball information manager Chuck Wasserstrom. In addition, stats analyzer Ari Kaplan lost his position but was re-hired as a consultant.
While all that hoopla was going on behind the scenes, the Cubs took on the Astros in the final game of the series. Staying true to his word, manager Dale Sveum included Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters in the lineup in all three games, and gave Darwin Barney the day off Wednesday, playing Luis Valbuena in his place. Overall, I’d have to say this was a mostly successful series for the Cubs.
Game 1 on Monday night was the definition of what we all wish every Cubs game could be – lights-out pitching and the runs to support it. Jeff Samardzija pitched beautifully, going seven innings, allowing four hits and tying his record of 11 strikeouts in a game. When Samardzija’s good, he’s good.
And lucky for him, the Cubs offense showed up in fine form, with Anthony Rizzo leading the pack with his second four-hit game this year. Barney hit a two-run bomb in the second, and Alfonso Soriano did the same in the fifth. But the Cubs have Samardzija to thank for that 7-1 win.
In Game 2, the Cubs didn’t have such luck on the mound in Chris Volstad. The pitcher racked up his 23rd consecutive loss, and if he keeps it up he will be breaking records that no one wants to touch. He went five innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. Reliever Lendy Castillo didn’t really relieve anything, as he gave up five hits and five more runs. The Cubs narrowly avoided a shutout – their lone run came from Soriano on an RBI by Barney in the 10-1 loss.
Wednesday’s Game 3 felt a lot like Game 1, just with better attendance. Justin Germano got the win, evening his record at 2-2. He went just over six innings, gave up five hits, two runs and struck out six. The Cubs offense showed some spark, especially David DeJesus, who hit two home runs in consecutive at-bats – his first at Wrigley. Starlin Castro also hit a two-run homer in the third, but most surprising was the strikeout-ridden Jackson. Though he did strike out twice, Jackson doubled and tripled, helping the Cubs to a 7-2 victory.
The Cubs travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a four-game set this weekend, with a double-header on Saturday.
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