Cubs' offense struggles in double loss

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Cubs may be starting to feel the effects of not having Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in their lineup.They were pretty punchless Saturday in falling twice to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a gorgeous day and evening at Wrigley Field. Here Chris Valuka reacts to striking out

    The Cubs may be starting to feel the effects of not having Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in their lineup.They were pretty punchless Saturday in falling twice to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a gorgeous day and evening at Wrigley Field. Here Chris Valuka reacts to striking out Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/7/2014 1:04 AM

The Cubs may be starting to feel the effects of not having Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in their lineup.

They were pretty punchless Saturday in falling twice to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a gorgeous day and evening at Wrigley Field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Pirates won the resumption of Friday's suspended game, 5-3 in 11 innings. In the regularly scheduled game, the Cubs managed just 6 hits in falling 5-0.

Castro and Rizzo both are out indefinitely with injuries.

"Those guys are really important pieces of the team," manager Rick Renteria said. "I tip my hat all the kids that are in there right now who are playing because they've actually picked up the slack quite a bit, quite frankly, and they've done a nice job.

"We weren't able to score any runs the last half of the first game and this second game, but we'll settle back in."

Renteria also said he's not of a mind to give shortstop Javier Baez (.174) a day off. Baez struck out four times in the first game and three times in the second. He has 58 strikeouts in 132 at-bats.

"I don't see him pressing," Renteria said. "I think he's getting away a little bit more from his middle-other-way approach. That's one of the things he was working on down in the minor leagues.

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"When he finally settled in and started swinging the bat well, one of the things he was doing was hitting the ball more to the middle, to right-center field.

"We need to keep him in there and see if we can get him to trust what he was actually doing before he got here."

A Doubront debut at Wrigley:

Lefty Felix Doubront made his Wrigley Field debut by starting the second game. He ran his pitch count up early and lasted 5 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs.

The Cubs obtained Doubront in a July 30 trade with Boston. He pitched for the Cubs on Aug. 30 at St. Louis, but this was his first time pitching at Wrigley.

"Awesome," he said. "Like it."

Doubront is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. He threw 64 pitches over the first three innings.

"I think I went too fast with my mechanics," he said. "I lost my mechanics with a couple pitches and came back against a good team. I came back, repeated my delivery and threw strikes after that."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At long last:

The Cubs got their long-awaited first look at reliever Arodys Vizcaino in the second game. He pitched the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff homer to Jordy Mercer.

Vizcaino came to the Cubs in a July 2012 trade for pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and missed that season as well as the 2013 season. The Cubs made him a September call-up from Class AAA Iowa.

"Actually, I need to see him a little bit more," Rick Renteria said. "I can't judge him on the one opportunity out there. He's been working, and he's been trying to get himself back. He's here now … He got up to 94, 95 (mph) a couple pitches."

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