Originally written on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Just when I thought this team was heating up a bit they decide to prove me wrong by forgetting how to hit. Let’s hope that the bats wake up for the series against the Reds, but for now, let’s recap the last series vs. the Pirates.   5/21 vs. Pirates: L 4-5 5/22 vs. Pirates: L 0-1 5/23 vs. Pirates: L 2-4     5/21- Matt Garza’s first game back from the DL didn’t have the ending he probably expected. The hype around his return to the rotation was big, and with a good reason. Cubs’ starters have been the bright spot this season, but adding a starting pitcher that has a good record and no-hitter type stuff is always good. In his first start since July 21, 2012, Garza was expected to have a pitch limit between 80-90 pitches. He pitched five innings (82 pitches) walked three, struck out five and gave up only one hit, zero runs. He got some offense behind him; Alfonso Soriano and Welington Castillo singled and Darwin Barney delivered an RBI single. Garza then doubled to drive in two more runs and give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. However, Pirates’ Travis Snider came in to spoil the party. The Pirates loaded the bases in the sixth against Hector Rondon; James Russell then took over and walked Pedro Alvarez to force in a run. Shawn Camp replaced Russell with two outs in the sixth, and Snider hit a pitch into the bleachers for his first career grand slam. That was the tenth blown save for the Cubs in 45 games…not a stat to be proud of. Shawn Camp has now given up six runs over 5 1/3 innings in May, but he is currently on the DL with a toe injury.   5/22- Jeff Samardzija is familiar with the Pirates; he beat them on Opening Day limiting them to two hits over eight scoreless innings to pick up the win. On Wednesday, he did pretty much the same thing, he was stellar. He pitched seven innings giving up only one run on three hits while striking out eight, but thanks to the lack of offense, he got another “L” on his record. This was another wasted quality start by a Cubs starter. They have 28 quality starts, where they have given up three runs or less and have a 1.98 ERA over that span of games. To say that the Cubs have struggled with runners in scoring position is an understatement. Those struggles became very evident in the third inning. The Cubs loaded the bases with none out, but Julio Borbon hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing the runner at home plate, Starlin Castro struck out and Anthony Rizzo flied out. The Pirates got all the runs they needed in the first inning when Andrew McCutchen doubled with two outs and scored on Garrett Jones’ single.   5/23- Edwin Jackson was only able to pitch three innings thanks to a rain delay that forced that game into a halt. I’m thinking that was a good thing since Jackson didn’t come out with his best stuff. Before the rain delay, the Pirates had already scored all the runs they would need. Edwin Jackson allowed four runs on six hits over three inniogs of work. Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen had a great game; he hit two RBI singles, stole two bases and scored a run before Travis Snider would add one more with his RBI triple. The Cubs offense was once again missing. Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano alone were a combined 3-for-25 all series with only one RBI. With this win, the Pirates completed the sweep and improved their record to 14-6 in the month of May. The Cubs, however, have lost five of their last six, including the last four games.   Looking Ahead The Cubs continue their road trip with three games against the Reds beginning this afternoon. Here are the probable pitchers and game details:   Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Friday, May 24, 2013 @ 6:10 p.m. CT Scott Feldman, RHP (4-3, 2.19 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo, RHP (4-4, 3.28 ERA)   Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Saturday, May 25, 2013 @ 3:10 p.m. CT Travis Wood, LHP (4-2, 2.24 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey, RHP (2-3, 3.09 ERA)   Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Sunday, May 26, 2013 @ 12:10 p.m. CT Matt Garza, RHP vs. Johnny Cueto, RHP (2-0, 3.22 ERA)   Thank you so much for reading and as always, Go Cubs! -Ivy
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