You know, I probably could have just taken the recap to Wednesday’s game, changed a few names and details and posted it here. The photo at the top should look familiar, only in a different jersey and in daylight instead of under the lights.
Here’s the story of Cubs hitting in this game:
I mean, you almost can’t hit a ball harder than that and not get a hit. The xBA there — the expected batting average — is .820! That means players should get a hit 82 percent of the time when hitting a baseball the way Anthony Rizzo did leading off the game.
But that’s what Cubs hitters have been doing: Hitting balls hard but right at people. That is, when they’re not striking out and looking bad doing it.
Pirates starter Chad Kuhl entered this game with the following numbers in his last two starts: 7⅓ innings, 12.27 ERA, 2.318 WHIP, eight walks. The Cubs made him look like a Hall of Famer.
Alec Mills didn’t throw too badly... oh, who am I kidding. Yes, he did, three home runs allowed in fewer than four innings isn’t very good at all. Kyle Ryan got touched up for a pair of runs in a bit more than one inning’s work and Duane Underwood surrendered another run, though he was dealing at 96 miles per hour.
The Pirates thus win four of the 10 games played between the two teams this year. The only team they defeated more than that was the Brewers (five times). The Pirates actually played fairly well vs. NL teams this year, going 16-24. It’s the AL clubs that crushed the Bucs, the Pirates are 2-15 against them with three games remaining (Indians).
Here, have a couple of Cubs highlights.
That’s about it for this game.
The only optimistic thing I can come up with is that the White Sox, who the Cubs will face next, have been just about as pathetic at the plate as the Cubs were during the Pirates series. Entering the final game of their series vs. the Indians tonight, the Sox have dropped five of six and been outscored 28-18, and that includes a 5-0 shutout of the Reds. Oddly, that matches the Cubs’ only win in their last five, a 5-0 shutout of the Pirates.
Anyway, Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Cubs Friday against the White Sox, and former Cubs prospect Dylan Cease will go for the Sox. Game time is 7:10 p.m. CT and there will be plenty of TV coverage, both local and national: Marquee Sports Network, NBC Sports Chicago (Sox announcers) and ESPN2 (outside Cubs/White Sox market territories).