As expected, the Chicago Cubs have struggled mightily on offense to begin the 2014 season, and this trend is likely to continue. However, a visit to Wrigley Field from the Arizona Diamondbacks has provided a temporary remedy for the Cubs’ troubled lineup, and allowed them to nab two victories in the process.
The Cubs entered their four-game weekday series against the Diamondbacks with a record of 5-12. This futility has been largely based on the general ineptitude of the offense, which had produced a mere 58 runs in 17 games going into the Arizona series. This lack of production has served to waste consistently solid performances from the starting rotation, particularly from Jeff Samardzija, who is winless despite a 1.29 ERA.
However, the offense got just what it needed in the form of the Diamondbacks and their league-worst team ERA.
The Diamondbacks have been awfully generous to the opposition in 2014, and the first two games this week at Wrigley Field were no exception. On Monday night, the Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 5-1, and while five runs may not seem like much, it represented only the sixth time all season the Cubs had scored five or more runs in a game.
Actually, starting pitcher Travis Wood did most of the damage to Diamondbacks starter Bronson Arroyo, blasting a three-run homer and doubling in another run. Of course, he also pitched rather well, allowing only one earned run while striking out nine in seven innings of work.
On Tuesday night, the Cubs exploded for a season-high nine runs in a 9-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. The Cubs knocked around starter Brandon McCarthy and then jumped on J.J. Putz out of the bullpen. Cubs third baseman Mike Olt had a three-run homer, and every starting position player with the exception of catcher John Baker hit safely in the game.
These two games were just what the Cubs offense needed at this point in the season, and the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff is to thank for this thoughtful charity. There are still two games left in the series, so the runs will likely continue to flow at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and Thursday.