Fun With Numbers: Despite Stellar Starting Pitching, Cubs Fall Against Rockies – Series Review

I guess the Cubs couldn’t win every single series this year but it was fun thinking ‘maybe.’ Now that the Cubs series against the Rockies is over we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the numbers to find out what happened this weekend.

No offense

The Cubs bats were really held in check by the Rockies pitchers this weekend. They only managed fifteen hits and seven total runs. We’ve spoken about HPR (hits per run) before and, interestingly enough, the Cubs managed 2.14 HPR in this series which would rank in the bottom third when compared to 2015 team totals. So not very efficient production of runs when compared to hits. If they managed to have a 1.5 HPR they would’ve scored ten runs in the three-game series and that could have been enough to win at least one more game.

The Cubs were outscored 10-7 in the series. And with an HPR of 2.14 it’s safe to say that the Rockies pitchers are either really good or the Cubs batters just had a bad weekend.

Series offensive totals

Player AB H R RBI BB K BA OBP
Dexter Fowler 10 1 1 3 2 3 .100 .250
Jason Heyward 7 1 0 0 1 3 .143 .250
Ben Zobrist 8 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Anthony Rizzo 10 2 1 1 1 2 .200 .333
Kris Bryant 12 2 0 0 0 5 .167 .167
Jorge Soler 9 3 2 1 2 1 .333 .455
Addison Russell 6 1 0 0 1 0 .167 .286
David Ross 4 0 1 1 1 2 .000 .167
Miguel Montero 4 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .200
Tommy La Stella 2 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000
Matt Szczur 3 1 1 0 1 0 .333 .500
Javier Baez 7 3 1 0 0 3 .429 .429
Jake Arrieta 4 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000
Jon Lester 2 1 0 0 0 1 .500 .500
Kyle Hendricks 2 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
Team Totals 90 15 7 7 10 26 .167 .255

Cubs that stood out

Jorge Soler and Javier Baez both played well this weekend, despite the Rockies dominant pitching. Jorge showed control in the box by taking two two walks and only striking out once. He batted .333 with an on-base percent of .455. This is exactly the type of production the Cubs and Joe Maddon were hoping to see from Jorge. He did a nice job this weekend and we’ll be watching to see if he can continue these good habits.

Javier Baez played in his first two full games of the season for the Cubs this weekend and he looked pretty good doing it. He had a couple fielding mishaps in the game on Saturday but that’s nothing to worry about in his first game of the year. Overall, he had three hits in seven at-bats to register a .429 batting average and a .429 OBP. He also had three strikeouts, which is a little high for him but that should normalize over the next few games.

Pitching in

While the Cubs’ bats weren’t hitting much, the Cubs’ pitchers weren’t allowing much hitting either. Every Cubs’ starting pitcher got a¬†quality start against the Rockies. Hendricks was burdened with two unearned runs in a sloppy four error outing by the Cubs on Friday, but consider this, Cubs’ starting pitchers gave up three earned runs over this series. That’s impressive.

The Cubs’ bullpen finally showed they’re mortal. Combined, they allowed five earned runs and six hits. Clayton Richard was charged with two earned runs on Friday, Travis Wood gave up two runs on Saturday, and Justin Grimm surrendered one run on Sunday. Both Wood and Grimm each gave up a home run. Richard was involved in a Bad News Bears type of inning by the Cubs on Friday that saw one throwing error, a wild pitch, three stolen bases, an intentional walk, an unintentional walk, and one single. All that led to two runs scoring for the Rockies.

Bottom line

The Cubs hitters had a tough series, batting a combined .167. That’s an anomaly – sometimes during a long baseball season the bats go cold for a few consecutive games. Nothing to be concerned about, the bats will come alive soon (like against the Cardinals).

Starting pitching continued to look great. Not much more to say, they played well and did what any manager would ask of their starting pitchers. This is another positive take-away that I feel really good about.

The Bullpen had a rough time, no doubt. If there’s any area I’ll be watching closely as the Cubs move forward in the season, based on this series, it’s the bullpen. There’s no reason to worry now because the bullpen has been stellar so far this year but I want to make sure that their performance in this series isn’t a sign that there could be some struggles going forward. If it’s a bump in the road, as I suspect it is, then every thing will be fine.

 

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