April 3rd’s Game Results and Analysis
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 to Chicago Cubs 1
Winning Pitcher: Rodriguez (1-0) Losing Pitcher: Jackson (0-1)
Save by Grilli (1)
Player of the Game: Wandy Rodriguez
The second game of the year was a difficult one for the Cubs, in which they struggled against the left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. The Chicago Cubs hitters tend to have a hard time against LHPs and today’s game showed it. Rodriguez went 6.2 innings with 6 Ks and only gave up two hits in the game, but he did walk one and had two hit batsman. Wandy pitched effectively against the Cubbies and was the player of the game in my mind because he showed that he can still dominate a lineup without really having any overpowering pitches. Edwin Jackson made his debut as a Cub and did well, but struggled with control at times which caused his pitch total to increase and cause him to leave after the 5th inning. Jackson gave up two earned runs on 3 hits and one walk in a total of 5 innings.
Impressive: There wasn’t a lot that impressed me in today’s game for the Cubbies, but the one player that did impress me was Welington Castillo. Castillo really didn’t do that much in today’s game; he went 0 for 2 with a strikeout and got hit by a pitch. The reasons why Castillo impressed me were the way his at bats went and how he played behind the plate in tonight’s game. Castillo’s first at bat took 9 pitches from Wandy Rodriguez to get him out and then Castillo’s next at bat took 6 pitches, but eventually Castillo was called out on strikes. Castillo’s performance behind the plate was impressive because he blocked a lot of balls that were in the dirt and threw out Starling Marte, who is very fast and he should have thrown out Andrew McCutchen stealing second, but Alberto Gonzalez dropped the ball on the tag.
Surprising: What surprised me in the game was the difficulty that Starlin Castro had against Wandy Rodriguez. Yes, coming into the game Castro didn’t have the best batting record against Rodriguez, but Wandy is a left-handed pitcher and Castro usually does fairly well against LHPs. Tonight’s game wasn’t the best for Castro; he went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and had an error in the game, although I thought it should have been ruled an infield single. I think Castro will make up for his performance in today’s game in tomorrow’s game against the Pirates.
Concerning: What I found most concerning about tonight’s game is the Cubs lineup against lefties. I have some doubts about the lineup having enough pop in it to make a splash against LHPs. I know it was the first game of year against a lefty, but there are better LHPs than Wandy Rodriguez and if the Cubs can’t hit Rodriguez then they might struggle against lefties all year long. I’m also concerned about Anthony Rizzo; Rizzo took a nasty pitch off his head today. Initially I was extremely worried when I saw it, but since he stayed in the game I’m not as concerned as I thought I would be. My last concern about the Cubbies, is Brent Lillibridge. I thought Lillibridge was going to be a difference maker for the Cubs because he can play almost every position and bring some pop to the lineup, but he hasn’t showed it yet this year. I was disappointed in Lillibridge’s performance in today’s game because he was up with the bases loaded in the 7th inning with only one out and struck out, when all the Cubs needed was a hit to tie the game. Lillibridge also struggled in the opening day game with 3 strikeouts. He just looks lost at plate in this opening series and I hope he can overcome this funk in the next few games.
Preview for the next game: The Cubs next game will be tomorrow, April 4th. I will be posting a preview for that game shortly after I post this one.