Game Recap: Cubs 0, Braves 2 -- Timing Fail
Usually when a team gets three hits in the first inning, you expect a good day from your offense. At the very least, you expect one or more runs to start the game off. The Cubs would end up with ten hits in total on Monday, outhitting their opponent by two, drawing three walks in the process--and end up not scoring.
The primary issue this evening: a major power outage. All ten hits were singles.
The secondary issue affecting the Cubs' offensive performance this evening? I'd say they were hurt pretty significantly by another lackluster showing from Kosuke Fukudome. Fuk's first inning GIDP came at a pretty awful time, and from there, Kosuke would become the only Cub position player to go hitless on the night.
On the plus side, Andy White had a 2-for-4 evening, pushing his average up to a scorching .245 ("scorching" as in "better than Soto, Font, Sori, Miles, etc."). Blanco appears to have made his way to Lou's good side; he played a crucial role in one of the Cubs' comebacks against the Indians, and throughout his time with the major league club has shown defensive prowess. Every at-bat he takes from Miles adds a day to my life span, thanks to the amount of anger and stress I am spared from as a result.
Ryan Dempster didn't appear to have his best stuff tonight. That'd be at least the second start in a row of that kind by my count. Still, Demp fought his way through, and held the Braves to two runs in 6.2 innings. After his departure, Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart pitched well in relief.
The most important storyline with Dempster is almost certainly that of the medical issue his family has been forced to deal with. I'm blown away by the fact that Ryan can compete at the level he's shown lately, and I'm certain everyone's best wishes are with the entire Dempster family. Let's all hope for the best, yeah?
With Soriano out of the leadoff spot, the 3-4-5 hitters had a few more base runners to try to bring home. Unfortunately, they couldn't get it done in tonight's game. They got hits, they got walks, they got good pitching--but just couldn't put it together.
In terms of long term impact, I'd say this game has only increased the pressure on a struggling Kosuke Fukudome. He's repeating last year's trend of posting a severely declining batting average in each consecutive month of the season.
As we approach the All-Star Break, it appears we pretty much know what we're going to get from most of the regulars from here on out. Having said that, it'd be nice if a role player like Blanco got hot heading into the break, or if a continually disappointing starter-type (Fuk, Soto) kicked it up another notch (BAM!) for the rest of the season.