In a season consisting of a few high points and many more low points, the Chicago Cubs lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 on Monday, September 17, in the final meeting between the teams this year. After scoring 26 runs in the first three games of the series, the Cubs couldn't score any on Monday and allowed the Pirates to earn a split in the series. The Cubs are now 58-89 on the year and are attempting to avoid losing 100 games.
Following a lengthy rain delay, Chicago's hitters were baffled by Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia, who earned his 11th win. Correia allowed only two hits in the game, both from second baseman Darwin Barney. While this has been the norm all season long, it is still frustrating as a fan to watch the team perform well offensively, only to be shut down when trying to claim the series win.
Cubs pitcher Travis Wood allowed three runs in 5.2 innings, dropping to 6-12 and bringing his ERA to 4.25. Still, there will be games in Wood's career where he will give up three runs and still walk away with a win. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case on Monday, as his offense managed just the two hits. However, I am continually impressed with Wood's upside and his potential as a strikeout pitcher. With nine on Monday, Wood topped 100 strikeouts for the first time in his career. I expect that total to increase next year when he is given more starting opportunities.
Wood has allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of his last 10 starts, but his record is 2-5 in those games. In September, Wood is 2-1 and has allowed only six earned runs in four starts. By closing out his season this way, Wood is setting himself up to play a bigger role with the Cubs in 2013.
With 26 runs in their last three games, a bad offensive performance can be expected, especially for this year's Cubs team. The Cubs will now continue their homestand by welcoming the Cincinnati Reds to town for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday. The Reds are hoping to lock up the division this week, but hopefully the Cubs will make it take a little longer.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.