The Cubs are looking to put the disastrous Florida weekend series behind them. Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol cost the Cubs 2 wins in Miami, and kept the Cubs from taking the 1st place lead in the NL Central back from the Cardinals.
Let’s take a quick look at some numbers.
Starting pitchers: in Friday’s 5-2 loss, Rich Harden gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 5 innings of work (he also had 11 K’s); in Saturday’s 9-8 extra innings win, Carlos Zambrano lasted only 3 innings because of a lower back strain, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks; & in Sunday’s 3-2 loss, Ryan Dempster gave up 0 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings of work.
Relief pitchers: in Friday’s 5-2 loss, Carlos Marmol gave up 3 runs on 1 hit, 2 walks and 1 HBP in just 2/3 of an inning of work (the rest of the bullpen held the Marlins scoreless in 2 1/3 innings of work); in Saturday’s 9-8 extra innings win, Kevin Gregg blew the save in the 9th inning by giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in 1 painful inning of work (Jeff Samardzija had a shaky 1 2/3 innings giving up 3 ER, but the rest of the bullpen pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings) ; & in Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the bullpen gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 2 1/3 innings of work with Gregg blowing the save for a 2nd straight night and taking the loss after giving up back-to-back home runs in the 9th inning.
The starters kept the Cubs in the games, but the bullpen imploded in each of the 3 games.
The Cubs bats weren’t all that hot either – if you take out Saturday’s 9-run, 13-hit barrage, the Cubs mustered only 4 runs and 13 hits combined in the Friday and Sunday losses. Not good…
Manager Lou Pinella cannot be pleased with what he saw from his club in the 3-game weekend series loss in Florida.
The Cubs are 55-48 and they trail the Cards by 1/2 game in the NL Central race and the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies by 2 games each in the NL Wild Card race.
But now for the good news. Randy Wells gets the 1st start of the series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Wells has been one of the most consistents Cubs’ starters all year and he beat the Reds at Wrigley Field on July 24th, allowing just 7 hits and 3 ER in 6 innings of the Cubs 8-5 win. Overall, Wells is 7-4 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
The Reds are in a tailspin – they have lost 9 of their last 10 games – and have dropped into a tie for last place in the NL Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds are 14 games under .500 at 45-59.
And with the Cards idle tonight, a Cubs win over the Reds would mean a tie for 1st place in the NL Central.