Shark Not Sharp as Pirates (53-32) Crush Cubs (36-48) in Chicago

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July 5, 2013 by Ryan S

Jeff Samardzija (5-8, 3.54 ERA) allowed five earned runs over six innings today, surrendering nine hits and walking five Pittsburgh Pirates.  He even walked two hitters that he had in 0-2 counts.  There was nothing really good about this game.  Let’s recap, because why not?

  • Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano (8-3, 2.20 ERA) threw his first complete game since 2011 agains the Cubbies today, and it was ugly.  It’s also the first Pirates complete game of the year.
  • The Cubs only notched four hits, giving them six total in the past two games.
  • The Pirates stole four bases against the Cubs today, and Starlin Castro was picked off of second base after a double in the 8th to end the inning.
  • In the third inning, Dave Sappelt took one of the ugliest routes to a ball that I’ve seen a professional take.  It resulted in a triple with help from the fielder, one of three triples the Pirates slugged out today against the Cubs.
  • The Pirates hit 13-for-37 with seven walks today, which equates to a .351 average and a .455 on-base percentage.  Yikes, those are little league numbers.
  • On Samardzija, it was evident to me in the first inning that he didn’t have his best stuff today.  The Pirates squared up his pitches all day,

Now for the very few positives:

  • Castro tallied another hit, a double in the eighth that he squared up really well.  It’s nice to see him take advantage of a mistake pitch and hit the gaps with power.  This puts his post-day-off-average at exactly .300, so we’ve gotten to see him hit the ball well for more than a week straight now.  Baby steps, Starlin, baby steps.
  • Pedro Strop has now pitched two scoreless innings to start his Cubs career.  He threw a 1-2-3 inning today in the 9th, and may quickly become a favorite option of Sveum, who has had a hard time finding consistency in the ‘pen for the past couple of weeks.
  • Scott Hairston hit his 7th homer of the year, and despite his .165 batting average, may have some interesting trade value at the deadline as a platoon hitter vs. lefties for a contender.

That’s about it for the positives though.  I also had to sit through the game and listen to the Pirates’ awful commentators tear apart the Cubs today, so there was that.

My grades for the game today:

  • Hitting: C.  Four hits is not at all good, but they did draw four walks as well, and if you can string some hits together, those can be worth something.
  • Pitching: D.  Shark was awful, Hector Rondon and Henry Rodriguez both pitched pretty poorly, allowing four hits and two walks in their two innings combined of work.  Strop saves the day here, as his emergence as a potentially reliable reliever makes me happy.
  • Base running: C.  Well, there was nobody on base to run, but when someone finally got into scoring position, he (Castro) was picked off second to end the eighth, and that just can’t happen.  Cody Ransom did make a nice first-to-third run on a ground ball to first though in the second inning, which was very smooth and aware.
  • Defense: D.  Sappelt’s play in center field leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but Alfonso Soriano got an outfield assist at third, which is meh.

The Cubs did not play nearly well enough to win this game, and it should come as no surprise that they got their teeth kicked in by the Pirates today.  Tomorrow, Edwin Jackson (4-10, 5.75 ERA) takes on Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.50 ERA) in an attempt to even the series at one game apiece.

That’s all for now, friends, and as usual, go Cubs!

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