In an absolutely delicious case of switcheroo, the Nationals decided to stop their own momentum with defensive errors, and the Cubs would jump all over those errors in kicking Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals to the curb. Edwin Jackson led three Cub pitchers to the 8-2 victory while Stephen Strasburg became the second ace in this series to continue his winless streak since opening day. ( Jeff Samardzija lost yesterday.) Both teams were pitching donuts until the fifth inning. With two outs, nationals 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman would throw an errant ball on Wellington Castillo's routine ground ball. Darwin Barney would draw a walk and Strasburg would give up a huge double to pitcher Edwin Jackson. That would score both Castillo and Barney. Dejesus and Castro would single to load the bases and Anthony Rizzo would take a pitch at his eyes and tomahawk it into center field for a two run single. The Cubs would put up another 4 spot the following inning. Soriano would leg out a double, advance to 3rd on Nate Schierholtz's single and walk home when the awful Zach Duke threw a wild pitch. Duke would then allow a double to 3B replacement Cody Ransom, somehow hit Wellington Castillo in the back of a knee with a pitch, and allow both of them to score on a David Dejesus single. Thanks for playing Zach. And just like that, the series is tied. Let's take a vote...
I DON'T REMEMBER ASKING YOU A GODDAMN THING.
Congrat to Ejax on his first victory as a Chicago Cub. Jackson only threw 88 pitches threw 5 1/3 rd innings. But it was definitely one of his better outings. Perhaps he relaxed a little more when before the game Dale Sveum said there was no way he was going to the bullpen when Garza arrives. Whatever the reason, the fastball was in more control and the slider bit down instead of out and he looked like a totally different pitcher. Shawn Camp Relieved Jackson once the game gathered laugh trax and rule 5 guy got two innings of impressive mop up work.
YOU BE ME FOR AWHILE, I'LL BE YOU.
Meanwhile, Strasburg's outing, and year for that matter, should give you deja vu about yesterday's starter Jeff Samardzija. Strasburg was downright dominant through the first four innings, striking out 7 and not allowing a hit. The Zimmerman error didn't rattle him per se, but it did cause him to work from the stretch for the first time that game, which did lead to a walk and a hit to the pitcher. Strasburg gave up 4 runs and none of them were earned. Both pitchers, while winless since opening day, have impressive stats in K/9 and ERA and since nobody is really panicking over Strasburg, nobody should about the Shark either.
HEY MAN, PULL MY FINGER.
So Luis Valbuena got all brave and tried to stretch a double into a triple. He was out easily but also appeared to jam his finger into third base. He was replaced in the game by Cody Ransom. If he has to go on the disabled list, it should make for an interesting call up as Ian Stewart seems to have pissed off everyone in the Cubs organization. Stewart has been riding the pine recently due to poor performance and poor attitude. Josh Vitters, who had been playing the outfield, has most recently been playing 3rd and had his first hot streak of the year while battling injuries, hitting two home runs in the last week. He's only hitting .219, and if he Luis V has to go on the DL and Vitters gets the call up, well, it will tell a very sad tale about Ian Stewart.
This game might be more about the Nationals kicking it away. But the Cubs pounced on an opportunity, and that's worth a cheer. The Cubs go up against another lefty, Gio Gonzalez, so we'll probably see that ulcer inducing all righty lineup. But a series win over the Nats to start a road trip would be large. And Edwin Jackson looking more like a frontline pitcher is large to. This team could really use a big series win. So let's get one. Onwards.