By: Alex Patt
Well, when the season started with a 12-4 win over the Texas Rangers, fans were pretty excited about what was to come. Then the next three games happened…and lets just say it has not been pretty.
The good news? The offense clicked in that series against the Rangers with a total of 28 runs. The bad news? They gave up 23 and lost two out of three games. Both losses in very painful fashion in which they squandered late leads. Outside of the opener when Jon Lester threw six solid innings of two-run ball, both the starting and relief pitching has been ineffective.
Yu Darvish’s first start of 2019 saw a four strikeout effort…along with seven walks and three runs in 2.2 innings. Jose Quintana came in long relief and struck out eight guys, giving up two runs in four innings. The Rangers took the lead on a Joey Gallo three-run shot off Carl Edwards late. This game was followed by a frustrating Sunday afternoon affair which 4-0 and 8-5 leads were blown. Cole Hamels was cruising until a five-run fourth crushed his hopes at a long outing and the game was eventually lost on a walk-off wild pitch.
It only got uglier in their first game in Atlanta. Six errors…SIX. The most by a Cubs team in a game since that dreadful 2006 season where they lost 96 games. The tone was pretty much set on the second pitch of the game when Mark Zagunis dropped a foul pop up that was immediately followed by a leadoff home run by Ender Inciarte. Kyle Hendricks only went 4.1 and gave up 10 hits and two earned runs…seven total. Despite having 13 baserunners, the Cubs scored zero runs.
So the team is 1-3 four games in. There is a long way to go, but this is not an ideal start at all. Losing a series to the Rangers right off the bat is frustrating and the Cubs will have some “winnable” games this month before the season gets tougher. This division is tight and the Brewers are off to a great start again, it would not be ideal to dig a deep hole. The pitching simply has to be much better and the defense has to rebound after that laughable game Monday.
As for the bullpen struggles, Craig Kimbrel is still on the market…eh don’t even bother. It’s not happening.
Cubs will play two more in Atlanta before heading to Milwaukee where they are probably licking their chops.