April 6th Game’s Results and Analysis
Atlanta Braves 6 - Chicago Cubs 5
Winning Pitcher: O’Flaherty (1-0) Losing Pitcher: Marmol (0-1)
Player of the Game: Justin Upton
The Chicago Cubs loss was a heartbreaker in tonight’s game. It was a heartbreaker because the Cubbies played great until the last two innings and should have won the game today. The Cubs starting pitcher, Carlos Villanueva, deserved a win and should have won the game. Villanueva only gave up one run in 6.2 innings and looked dominating after he gave up a homer to Justin Upton, but struggles from Kyuji Fujikawa and Carlos Marmol cost Villanueva his first win as a Chicago Cub. The player of the game was Justin Upton again, because he hit his 4th and 5th homeruns in tonight’s game, the latter one being a walk-off. Upton’s older brother, B.J., hit a homer in the ninth off Marmol to tie the game and give his brother the chance to hit the game winner.
Impressive: The performance by the Chicago Cubs hitters is what impressed me in tonight’s game. Every Cub, except pinch hitter Steve Clevenger who got a walk, had a hit in today’s game, which included the starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Luis Valbuena and Anthony Rizzo hit homeruns in the game and both homers where impressive; Valbuena’s homerun gave the Cubbies the lead and Rizzo’s was his second of the year. Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus both had a double in the game and a run scored. Schierholtz also got a two out RBI single in the first inning that scored DeJesus. Welington Castillo put in a good performance by going 2 for 5 with a RBI and a strikeout. Although the Cubs had great performances at the plate today, they spoiled a chance to get some more runs in the 8th inning by leaving the bases loaded.
Surprising: There were two surprises in the game tonight. One of those surprises came in the 8th when the bases were loaded; Starlin Castro was at bat with one out and had a hit that looked like it could have scored Alberto Gonzalez, but Gonzalez didn’t tag up. That was surprising to me because B.J. Upton bobbled the ball and the Cubs were up by 4, therefore I thought Gonzalez should have tagged up and challenge B.J. Upton to make a good throw at the plate. Instead the Cubs didn’t send Gonzalez and Anthony Rizzo struck out causing no one to score. The other thing that I found surprising in today’s game was Welington Castillo getting a steal. I thought it was surprising because Castillo stole the base with a delayed jump.
Concerning: The main concern I had in tonight’s game was the struggles by the closer, Carlos Marmol. Marmol gave up two home runs in the 9th and the win to the Braves in tonight’s game. Yes it is true that Marmol didn’t get any help from the setup man Kyuji Fujikawa, but Marmol still had difficulty in the 9th. I believe it’s time for a new place for Marmol because it will be the best thing for the Cubs and Marmol himself. Another concern that I have is a small one and it’s probably just an overreaction of mine, but I’m concerned about the defensive shifts that Cubs have on when fielding. I think the difficulties that Kyuji Fujikawa faced in the 8th were due to the shifts; I believe two of the hits that Braves got in the 8th would have been outs if the Cubs weren’t in the shift. I know that this concern is a reach and the shifts work out more than they don’t, but I don’t think they need to be done as extravagant as the Cubs do.
Preview for the next game: The next game will be on Sunday, April 7th and will be against the Braves in Atlanta. My preview for the next game will be posted shortly after I post this one.