I was certainly wrong on this call. I was sure that the Cubs were going to sweep the Pirates. They started with a 14-2 win opening the home stand, but then came game two. The Pirates came back and beat the Cubs 14-7, and it really wasn’t that close of a game.
Chicago CBS Channel 2 has posted an article titled “Walker, Jones Lead Pirates Past Cubs 14-7.” The Pirates ended a 14-game road losing streak and it was fitting that they would break it against the Cubs since they now have won 12 out of 16 games.
In analyzing the game initially, I thought that the Cubs were in great shape. They had a lot of momentum on their side. Their new interim manager, Mike Quade, has been doing a great job and seems to be able to bring out the best in the players. The starting pitcher for the Cubs, Ryan Dempster, had won his last four decisions. The starting pitcher for Pittsburgh, Jeff Karstens, had lost his last eight decisions and had a whopping 5.40 ERA. The only thing that concerned me was that Karstens was 2-2 against the Cubs and Dempster historically has not done that well against the Pirates. And that is how it went.
There were three main factors that caused the Cubs’ loss. The first factor was that Dempster (12-9) gave his worst pitching performance of the year. He gave up seven runs in only three innings. This surprised me because he is one of the players who has been most affected by Quade’s impact.
Another factor in the Cubs’ loss was the hitting of Neil Walker and Garrett Jones. Both players had two-run homers, and Walker had a career day, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
Finally, the Pirates’ starting pitcher, Karstens (3-10), pitched a surprisingly strong game. He went six innings and gave up only four hits and two runs.
The final game will tell a little more where the Cubs really are to see if their resilience can continue. In this game, they made a five-run comeback in the ninth, but the game was really too far out of reach to give anyone any hope.
And so it goes.
Chicago CBS2.Com, “Walker, Jones Lead Pirates Past Cubs, 14-7