Cubs 12 @ Pirates 2

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

How To Win On the Road
Apparently we aren’t forcing enough errors. The Pirates made an eye-popping 7 errors in Friday night’s tilt at PNC Park. No major league team had made that many errors in a single game since Mark Prior was still a dominant ‘if he can stay healthy he’s headed to the HOF’ type of player. It was 2004 when the Braves made 7 errors in a game against the Rockies. The Pirates last made 7 errors in a game back in 1985. Astoundingly they once, in 1939, made 8 errors in a game.

Unearned Runs
Tonight was a disservice to the unearned run. Every single Cub run occurred after at least one Pirate error in the same inning. That’s not to say that all 12 runs were technically unearned, but I can’t imagine how unnerving it was for Pirate pitchers, specifically AJ Burnett, to continually be behind the 8-ball due to terrible fielding. Conversely, during innings in which the Pirates did not commit an error, they also kept the Cubs off the board. The official tally was 12 runs, 6 earned. Remarkably, just a month ago the Twins beat the Indians 14-3 in a game that saw the Twins score only 6 earned runs (the result of a 10-run inning where only 2 were earned).

AJ Burnett
He’d never lost to the Cubs…that’s over now…through almost no fault of his own. He actually had decent stuff tonight, but his fielders betrayed him at nearly every opportunity.

Starlin Castro
On Friday, he became only the 28th player in MLB history to get his 500th hit before his 23rd birthday. The last guy to do it was Edgar Renteria. As you might imagine, the list is littered with HOFers; Yount, Bench, Robinson, Kaline, Aaron, Mantle, Williams, Ott, Foxx, Cobb – Griffey and A-Rod too. What’s amazing is the names that are NOT on the list; Rose, Gwynn, Boggs, Musial, Yaz, Mays, Jeter, Brett, Carew, Clemente, Henderson. Just how rare is it? There are 25 guys who have 3000 or more hits. There are 28 guys who had 500 hits before age 23. Oh, he also had a double, stolen base, and 4 RBIs.

Alfonso Soriano
Soriano was the other Cub with a big night at the plate; 3 hits, 3 RBIs, and he reeled in – albeit a bit clumsily – an Andrew McCutchen blast ticketed for the the LCF wall.

Brett Jackson
Jackson made this phenomenal catch in CF and reportedly only suffered a bruised knee. He had some great post-game quotes about how the score of the game (7-0 at the time) wasn’t going to stop him from going all out. And why should it, if that ball falls the Pirates would’ve scored 2 runs and perhaps changed the momentum of the game.

Travis Wood
Six innings, 1 hit, 3 walks, 0 runs. I’ll take it. Especially because…

Jeff Samardzija
The Cubs have not publicly committed to an innings limit on Samardzija ala the Nationals/Strasburg – until now. I’ve surmised more than once that, if only to avoid second-guessing in the future, the Cubs would be well-served to sit Samardzija before he went too far afield of 150 IP for the season. Remember, he’s a reliever who had only thrown a total of 170 innings in the majors over parts of four seasons. Add in his innings in the minors, and he’s much closer to 150 IP/season. But especially with a lost season for the Cubs, caution is prudent. His start on Saturday will be his last of the year. I believe that makes Travis Wood the defacto ace of the staff.  Say it again…Travis Wood is the Cubs ace.

52!

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