Series Review: Pittsburgh Pirates (April 14 – April 16)

OUCH! The Cubs suffered a sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates to drop to .500 on the season. It’s never fun to lose three games in a row, but to lose three games in a row during your home-opening week and against a division rival? Now that’ll sting for awhile. What’s worse is all three should’ve been victories if not for some bad luck and terrible bullpen pitching. We take a look at some of the miscues here.

 

Can’t Cash In With Bases Loaded

Four different times this series the Cubs were up to bat with the bases loaded: every single trip ended in 0 runs. The first game featured two separate occasions in the last two innings with a chance to regain the lead. However, two groundouts squandered any chance for a comeback. The team’s now 2-11 this season with the bases juiced with only five runs to show for it. That simply won’t get it done.

Bullpen Implodes

The bullpen, frankly, was atrocious this weekend. Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Brian Duensing and Koji Uehara all blew leads and let Pittsburgh back in the game. The starters did excellent; in fact, all three either left the game while winning or tied. Lester in particular today pitched an outstanding game. It’s a shame the pen couldn’t get it done.

Too Many Men Left On Base

The Cubs have the kind of offense where there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to score some runs. However, the Cubs were pitiful this series with runners in scoring position, going 7-27 and leaving a total of 14 baserunners at 2nd and/or 3rd base. They were leaving 8.27 runners on base per game this season coming into today’s game, according to teamrankings.com. That’s last in the league, and the number should stay the same after leaving eight more stranded today. A clutch hit or two probably would’ve put the Cubs in a position to win all three games. That unfortunately didn’t happen, and the Cubs paid for it with three losses.

What’s next: The Cubs face the Milwaukee Brewers in another three-game divisional set. The two teams faced off last week, with the Cubs winning two of three. Lackey, Anderson and Hendricks are slated to be on the bump trying to turn this homestand into a winning one.

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