Road trips have not been kind to the Cubs in 2019.
Following Friday’s game against the Dodgers, the Cubs are now 14-20 on the road this season. Furthermore, they are now 1-4 on their current road trip, which comes on the heels of their 1-5 road trip against the Astros and Cardinals from May 27-June 2.
Outside of Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rockies, though, the Cubs have faced the same problems on their current trip out in the wild, wild west. Cubs starting pitchers have surrendered early leads, and the offense has been unable to score after the early innings. A case-by-case look:
-Monday: Cubs take 4-0 lead over the Rockies in the third inning behind home runs from David Bote, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo. In the bottom half of the inning, the Rockies hit two, two-run home runs off Yu Darvish to even the score.
In fairness, the Cubs tied things up at five in the eighth inning after the Rockies took a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. However, Colorado re-took the lead in their half of the eighth, going on to win 6-5.
The first two games against the Dodgers have almost mirrored one another.
-Thursday: The Cubs held 3-0 lead after three innings, but the Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs to win 7-3.
-Friday: The Cubs held a 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning and a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the third inning. The Dodgers scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings, while the Cubs were shutout for the final six innings en route to a 5-3 loss.
Thus, the Cubs are dealing with quite the quandary. The starting pitching is giving up early leads, but the offense has had ample time to either tie or re-take the lead. At the same time, the offense can’t be relied on to carry the Cubs in every game. The team needs their starting pitching to carry its weight. And again, in fairness, the rotation has done that and more this season.
Playing against a Rockies squad that is fifth in MLB with 366 runs scored, entering Friday, and against the National League-leading Dodgers (who now have won seven-straight home games) doesn’t help matters, of course. While their 1-4 record this week leaves a lot to be desired, the Cubs’ current road trip was never going to be a cake walk. For that matter, neither was the previous trip against the Astros and Cardinals.
Still, Monday, Thursday and Friday’s games were winnable for the Cubs and they came up short. Things aren’t about to get any easier, too, as the Cubs will face Walker Buehler (Saturday) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (Sunday) to close out the road trip.
Buehler (3.35 ERA, 78 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings) is one of the best young starting pitchers in baseball. Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA, 77 strikeouts/five walks in 86 innings) is an early candidate for the Cy Young Award. This isn’t to say Buehler and Ryu are unbeatable, but they hold a combined 16-2 record in 26 starts between the two of them this season.
There’s still time for the Cubs to turn things around this weekend. Splitting a road series against the Dodgers — even after letting two early leads slip — would be a nice way to salvage a tough road trip.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.