For those of you wondering why there’s no Cubs game today:
— DNAinfo.com Chicago (@DNAinfoCHI) June 29, 2014
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 29, 2014
The Cubs are probably on their way to Boston now for their next series, having finished up their 10-game homestand with a 4-6 record, and about to embark on a long road trip. Let’s take a gander, shall we?
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, Wrigley Field
Thursday, June 26 – Nationals 3, Cubs 5
On a super-foggy night, reminiscent of the series with the Pirates but worse, the Cubs were somehow able to cut through the pea soup mist and eke out a victory. Unfortunately, they also saw Junior Lake almost kill himself against a door that I later discovered wasn’t actually padded. Lake miraculously survived mostly intact and seemed to be neurologically sound, but the outfield at Wrigley is an adventure to say the least.
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) June 27, 2014
The Cubs rode a Travis Wood by-the-skin-of-his-teeth quality start into the seventh inning until Travis gave up a game-tying RBI-TOOTBLAN to Denard Span. The Cubs retook the lead after the stretch on a two-run RBI-TOOTBLAN by Justin Ruggiano and closed the door. Other than Lake’s game of chicken with an immovable object, no outfielders actually got hurt in the fog.
Friday, June 27 – Nationals 2, Cubs 7
I’ve been harping on the fact that on any given day this season, the Cubs employ anywhere from four to seven automatic outs in their lineup. It’s actually nice when those guys beat the odds and string together enough hits to make life interesting for the opposing pitcher. This was the case against Nationals starter Tanner Roark, who is having a great season of his own, but could not overcome John Baker‘s career game. Baker and his battery-mate, soon-to-be-traded (probably) Jason Hammel, held the Nationals in check and committed scoreboard battery of their own, leading the Cubs to at least a series split…but wait, there’s always more…
Saturday, June 28 (Day Game) – Nationals 3, Cubs 0
A pretty smart guy (h/t Cubs Insider) suggested that Cubs spot-starter-for-a-day Dallas Beeler has pitching motions reminiscent of a pretty good pitcher by the name of Roy Halladay. I’ll let you guys check out the video (including a pick-off of Denard Span) to see what you think. But usually, when a guy comes in for a day (he’s going back to Iowa no matter what, sorry), gives up only one unearned run (THANKS JOHN BAKER PASSED BALL) through six innings, and emanates the guts and glory of a would-be-Hall of Fame pitcher, you’d expect the Cubs to win. But they couldn’t solve Gio Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro had pretty bad results at the plate, and the auto-outs pretty much automatically made outs. Justin Grimm didn’t really help matters by giving up two insurance runs, and the Cubs could not overcome the insurmountable 3-0 lead to drop the first game of the doubleheader.
Saturday, June 28 (Night Game) – Nationals 7, Cubs 2
Now you say to yourself, okay, the Cubs won the first two games of the series rather handily and have Jeff Samardzija on the mound for the finale. They should win the series. Except that Jeff Samardzija was not being good Samardzija on this night, giving up lots of extra-base hits. As an aside, isn’t it funny how all the Cubs’ would-be extra-base hits are always flagged down, but their opponents’ extra-base hits just barely elude Chicago outfielders? Seriously, our outfielders are slow. Anyway, Luis Valbuena did tie the game with a sweet home run right before an hour-long rain delay. Blake Treinen, the Nationals’ spot-starter for Jordan Zimmermann, finished his five innings to keep it tied, but because they were at home, Jeff Samardzija had to wait even longer to start his fifth inning of work, and it seemed like he didn’t look comfortable at all. The first pitch was a “HIT ME” fastball that Wilson Ramos got into the basket in center field to give the Nationals the lead for good. Then a bunch of seeing-eye grounders and an Anthony Rizzo error put the game out of reach, especially when the only two productive bats all night were Starlin Castro and Valbuena and they simply didn’t string enough hits together to make an impact. Grumble.
There’s a narrative that Jeff Samardzija struggles in June. Maybe that’s true, but I take a look at his game logs and I see this…
FYI F7 June starts before tonight: 6/1 8 ER (just bad) 6/7 2 ER (dominant vs MIA) 6/12 4 ER (doubled to death) 6/17 3 R (all UE) 6/23 1 ER
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) June 29, 2014
So I guess I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say I really don’t know whether he is struggling in June per se, or if this is the result of a long layoff during the rain delay, or if he just ran into the wrong lineup. He certainly hasn’t seemed as terrible as in Junes past, although by my untrained eye it looks like he was okay in June 2013 and then decided to suck after that. Le shrug.
Oh right, the Cubs split a series that they probably could have won, but our expectations are kind of low this season anyway.
Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park
Sunday is a travel day and the Cubs are going to Boston, where they will take on a Red Sox team that will have finished up a series in the Bronx. If you check out the standings, bottom-dwellers such as the Sawx and the Rays have been making life difficult for the Yankees and Orioles, who are trying to close the gap between themselves and the inconsistent division leader Blue Jays. This could be good for the bidding war during trade season for the services of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, among other Cubs assets, so stay tuned.
And yeah, the Red Sox are struggling, but David Ortiz is still awesome so we might see some homers.
Here are the matchups and broadcast info:
Wednesday, July 2
6:10 PM Central
Travis Wood vs. Brandon Workman
TV = WCIU, ESPN