Offense continues to struggle in loss to Giants
|Sunday, March 19, 2023, 9:28 AM- -|
I don't want to panic too much as this is still spring training, but the recent trends for this Cubs offense have to be concerning. Their inability to score runs consistently has been an issue dating back to the 2019 season, and it is starting to show up again in the spring.
You can get by with this in the early portion of the spring, but when you are two weeks away from the start of the regular season, it does have some cause for concern. With Adrian Sampson looking to put his name back in the No. 5 starter conversation, the Cubs offense struggled yet again as they fell to the Giants 5-1.
Sampson was not the issue on Saturday as he pitched his outing of the spring to prove to the Cubs he still has a lot to give. The right-hander allowed two runs (1ER) on hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also struck out six to lower his ERA to 9.95. As good as that start was, Anthony DeSclafani was even better, as the right-hander has yet to allow an earned run this spring.
DeSclafani may have gone just 3 1/3, but there were very successful innings, as he allowed one hit to go with five strikeouts. Throughout spring, it seems as if the Cubs need to score first if they want a chance to win. After both teams struggled to put runners on base in the first few innings, the Cubs had a chance to do damage in the third.
Tucker Barnhardt led that inning off with a single with Zach McKinstry adding a walk a few batters later. The problem was that the Cubs couldn't cash in when they needed to as DeSclafani pitched out of trouble. That led to the Giants scoring the game's first run in the bottom of the third, with Bryce Johnson leading things off with a single before swiping second base. Add in a throwing error by Eric Hosmer, and the game's first run came across to score as the Giants took the lead 1-0 and never looked back.
With the score still sitting at 1-0 in the fifth, the Giants began to add onto their lead as David Villar led off the fifth with a douadding ton was chased shortly after in favor of Michael Rucker who promptly allowed an RBI double to Johnson as the Giants took a 2-0 lead. Following a Will Wilson walk, LaMonte Wade busted the game wide open with an RBI double to make it 4-0 in favor of San Francisco.
It took the Cubs seven innings to get things going offensively with Patrick Wisdom leading things off in the seventh with a double. A few pitches later saw Edwin Rios rip an RBI single to put the Cubs on the board, but that was the final hit for Chicago as they still trailed 4-1. After Jarod Wright tossed a scoreless outing and gave way to Brad Boxberger who did the same, the Cubs bullpen was trying to keep things close to provide the offense with a chance late.
Another pitcher looking to potentially solidify a spot on this year's team is Mark Leiter Jr who has been dealing this spring. This pitcher was the odd man out this winter but elected to sign a minor league deal to return to the Cubs. After tossing several scoreless frames to begin his spring, Leiter ran into a bit of trouble with Blake Sabol taking a one-out walk to put the Giants in business.
Leiter then allowed an RBI double to Brett Wisley to put the Giants back up four as their lead grew to 5-1. That would be it offensively for the Giants, but with only three outs work with Chicago had a lot of work to do in the ninth. Unfortunately for the Cubs, their offense was nowhere to be found as they went down in order in the ninth and fell to the Giants 5-1.
Chicago was held to just three hits in the game, with Barnhardt, Wisdom, and Rios grabbing one. Rios was credited with the RBI in the loss, as the Cubs are sitting at 10-9-1 this spring.