Command fails Alexi Ogando vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- Alexi Ogando was able to overcome his struggles with fastball command by leaning on his other pitches in his first three starts of the season. However, in Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, nothing seemed to be working for the Rangers righty.

“He was hanging his breaking ball, he was getting his fastball up and they didn’t miss it,” manager Ron Washington said. “They came out swinging today. Whenever he made a mistake with the breaking ball they hit it, and whenever he made a mistake with the fastball it left the ballpark.”

The Cubs pounded out 13 hits on the day and hit two home runs, both off Ogando. Ogando said he was consistently missing the zone, so he wanted to throw some strikes, but he left some pitches up and the Cubs bats feasted.

“By far today’s outing was the worst of all,” Ogando said. “Since (my fastball command) was off and I wanted to throw strikes, they took advantage of the pitches that stayed up.”

Ogando added that on top of his control issues, the wet mound – it had been raining for over 24 hours prior to first pitch – caused him to slip a couple times and made it difficult to pitch. Prior to giving up back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano, pitching coach Mike Maddux made a visit and the grounds crew did some mound maintenance.

Contrary to what his pitcher said, Washington was quick to shoot down any talk of problems with the mound.

“I didn’t hear anything about the mound,” Washington said. “It didn’t bother (Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva). They were doing maintenance all day. Not gonna use that as an excuse; he didn’t get it done.”

Washington said Ogando’s fastball has not been where it should be all season, but was confident he’d find it in short order.