Padres 13, Cubs 7

Box Score / Highlights

The Good  I said almost a week ago that if this Cubs team could heat up at the plate, they’d be a fun group to watch. And lo and behold, this last week has been pretty fun. The Cubs’ bats stayed hot Tuesday night, with several hitter contributing to the cause. Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro, David DeJesus, and Cody Ransom all hit homeruns. Anthony Rizzo couldn’t manage to get one over the wall, but he did hit three doubles on the evening, along with one apiece for Welington Castillo and Darwin Barney. It wasn’t necessarily an offensive explosion, but it was a productive night for a lineup that’s short on fireworks. On most nights we’d be celebrating how they walked away with the win. However…

The Bad  It was the pitchers’ night to light the dumpster fire. Edwin Jackson went from shaky in the 2nd and 3rd innings to downright horrific in the 5th. Kameron Loe and Hector Rondon weren’t much better out of the bullpen, with only Shawn Camp working a clean, albeit meaningless 9th inning. Put it this way–the Blackhawks dropped the puck on the playoffs around the time Jackson threw his first pitch, and the pervasive ineffectiveness of the pitching staff made my viewing choice easy for most of the evening.

The Ugly  Just a short word about unexpected pick off plays. The Cubs recorded two errors tonight–both of them on errant throws to Rizzo in an attempt to pick off a runner on first. Castillo threw one down the first base line in the 3rd and Jackson tried to throw one into the visitors’ dugout the following inning. I think the snap throw to first has become a little like the thundering collision in football, in that guys occasionally betray some basic fundamentals for the sake of a highlight-reel play. So far I’ve been fairly impressed with Castillo’s defense, but he’s got to know the blind throw to first from behind a left-handed hitter has poor hope for success, especially when he’s betting on Rizzo to win the surprise footrace back to the bag. While the circumstances were different, the same basic principle applies to Jackson–it won’t ever work if the one you’re surprising is your firstbaseman.

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