Though there were quite a bit more runs scored in the second game between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals, the process and end result of Saturday’s game were virtually identical to Thursday.
For the Cubs, it was another strong outing by a starter, this one from Matt Garza. With the exception of his mid-game meltdown, Garza was very good over six innings, surrendering just a pair of runs on a home run by Adam LaRoche.
Then the bullpen happened. Again.
Rafael Dolis came in and quickly shut the door with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, but the two elder statesmen of the Cubs’ ‘pen were hit with a replay of Opening Day.
After Kerry Wood blew the save and Carlos Marmol took the loss on Thursday, Dale Sveum went right back to the two in the eighth on Saturday. The results were even uglier. Wood was removed with runners on, before Marmol put more on with a pair of walks, with the Nats striking for five in the inning. The three earned Wood was hit with and the two Marmol took turned the 4-2 Cubs lead into a 7-4 deficit.
One positive for the Cubs is the offense, which looked much better on Saturday. Reed Johnson and Joe Mather had the team’s three official RBIs, Starlin Castro had a pair of hits, and Gio Gonzalez didn’t make it out of the fourth inning.
But obviously, the bullpen is a major concern, even more than it already was. No one expects the Cubs to win anything this year, but that’s two wins in a row lost by the bullpen. And if your nerves weren’t already wrecked enough after watching these first two games, Jeff Samardzija will make his first start of the season on Sunday.