April 4th Game’s Results and Analysis
Chicago Cubs 3 - Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Chicago Cubs 3 - Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Winning Pitcher: Wood (1-0) Losing Pitcher: McDonald (0-1)
Save by Marmol (1)
Player of the Game: Nate Schierholtz
The Chicago Cubs won the rubber match in today’s game against the Pirates, but it was an eventful game to say the least. Travis Wood pitched a great game today and only gave up one hit to the Pirates hitters, but Wood wouldn’t have got the win if it wasn’t for Nate Schierholtz. Schierholtz put in a great performance, not only at batting but he also made a great diving catch that stole a base hit away from Neil Walker. Schierholtz was crucial to the Cubbies win because he hit a two run homerun in the top of the 8th which was the winning hit. It was the winning hit for the Cubs because closer Carlos Marmol struggled again in the 9th; Marmol had a three run lead heading into the ninth, but finished with only a one run lead.
Impressive: There were a couple things that impressed me in today’s game which were how Travis Wood and Nate Schierholtz played. Schierholtz impressed me the most, not just because of his homerun but also because of his fielding, even though his homerun was impressive because he hit it to deep center and the walls in that location of PNC Park are quite tall. What Schierholtz has shown me in this opening series is that he can field his position well and is an underrated hitter because he has great plate discipline, which he showed by getting two walks in this series and also he can really hit right-handed pitchers. Travis Wood was also impressive in today’s game; Wood went 6 scoreless innings, had only 4 strikeouts and only gave up one hit and 2 walks in the game. Wood nabbed himself his first win of the year and his first quality start by changing pitches, changing speed and keeping them down in the strike zone.
Surprising: Two things in today’s game and series with Pittsburgh that caught me off guard were Anthony Rizzo’s and Starlin Castro’s play. Rizzo surprised me by how patient he can be when he bats because he had two walks this series and also his stolen base in today’s game was surprising because if he can steal a base or two in a series that means the Cubs can create runs without having to use their bats. The thing that was surprising about Castro in this series was Castro struck out in every game and I was a little disappointed in the way he approached those at-bats. However, Castro did get two hits in this series when he had two strikes on the count, one of which came today when there was a runner in scoring position which was the first hit with a man in scoring position for the Cubbies. Therefore, there is some give and take with him, but I still believe he is the best Cubs hitter and is the franchise player and if Castro is going to be MVP caliber, which I believe he can be, he just needs a little better plate discipline.
Concerning: Two things have me concerned about the Cubs this early in the season, one being Marmol as the closer and the other is the Cubs lack of hits in this series. Although Marmol got the save, he struggled again in the ninth giving up two earned runs on three hits and one walk. I strongly believe that Carlos Marmol shouldn’t be the closer for the Cubbies, but the Cubs need Marmol as the closer in order to maintain his trade value. The best outcome I can think of for the Cubbies is either make Marmol pitch his fastball more or change his pitching technique. If Marmol can’t do either of these suggestions, then the best thing for the Cubs to do would be to trade him for some prospects. The last thing that concerned me was the lack of hitting the Cubs had this series, but I’m going to blame the weather for the struggles with the Cubs bats. I believe the Cubs will get on track next series because the weather will be warmer and the Cubs batters are actually showing good plate discipline right now.
Preview for the next game: The next Cubs game is on April 5th and is against the Atlanta Braves. I will be previewing that game right after the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies finish their game tonight.