Near Sweep Of Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to salvage the final game of a three game set against the Cubs with their 2-1 victory this afternoon. Starting Pitcher Gerrit Cole went 8 scoreless innings and was able to best Jon Lester who took a no hitter into the 7th inning. Despite the victory the Pirates are only 1-5 against the Cubs this season and still trail the NL Central Leading Cubs by 8 games.
Today’s loss drops the Cubs to 27-9, which still leads all of baseball and doesn’t look to be a bad omen. Gerrit Cole was simply dominate today using his Fastball and Slider effectively – while taking advantage of a very fluid Todd Tichenor strike zone. While the Pirates may not have the overall depth to catch the Cubs in the Central, they definitely have a team that will compete for one of the Wildcard positions.
Come Tuesday night the Cubs will begin a three game series against an over matched Milwaukee Brewers club at Miller Park.
Still On Schedule
With a 13-3 record on the road, sweeping the Brewers is a realistic goal against a team that will be fortunate to not finish at the bottom of the
division. Hendricks, Lackey, and Hammel should be able to contain a Brewers lineup that may not have Ryan Braun available. While the Cubs lineup should salivate at the opportunity to face a Pitching Staff with the worst ERA in baseball. It’s extremely unlikely the arguably best lineup in the Major Leagues will struggle to put up big numbers in their upcoming series.
The only Cubs hitter that seems to be mired in a slump is outfielder Jorge Soler, who has the ability to break out of at any moment as he has a wealth of raw talent.
He just has to go out there and play, he needs opportunity. When a guy has a tough day, I don’t get carried away in a negative way. It’s part of development, it’s part of making a player a good Major League player. There’s a lot of patience involved. You saw what he did at the end of last season, and nobody’s complaining about that. – Cubs Manager, Joe Maddon
Soler had an impressive division series against the Cardinals last season where he hit .571. His early season struggles arise from his high swinging strike percentage (16.0) and the fact he isn’t making as much hard contact as he has in previous years. He and Hitting Coach John Mallee will have to make some alterations in order to generate consistent success from the talented Soler.
Guys are asking Joe, ‘What do you need to see so you don’t give up on him?’ That’s absurd ,the talent is there. It’s undeniable. – Cubs President, Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein on Jorge Soler