Cardinals Cub the Cubs--Cardinals 6 Cubs 3

The Cubs have won so many games coming from behind. They fell behind early, but they had a lead late in the game. The taxed bullpen could not hold the lead, and the Cubs dropped the nightcap.

The Cardinals started the game hot against lefty Mike Montgomery. The lefty was victimized with back to back singles to start the game. A line drive sacrifice fly scored leadoff hitter Harrison Bader. The Cubs struggled against John Gant. Leadoff singles in the first two frames and a one out single in the third resulted in nothing.

Monty pitche into some trouble in the second inning. Monty walked Yairo Munoz with one out and Francisco Peña singled. The pitcher struck out for a critical second out, but the pair executed a perfect double steal. Bader flew out for the final out. Monty gave up a leadoff single in the third inning but retired the next six batters he face. The final two outs of the fourth inning involved nice defensive plays by Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr.

Willson Contreras became the first Cub to reach second base in the fourth inning. Gant walked Contreras with one out and Contreras tagged with two outs to move into scoring position. Almora walked on soft pitches around the zone. Russell weakly grounded back to the pitcher. Gant lobbed it slowly up to first but it beat Addison Russell by plenty for the final out. The Cardinals still lead 1-0 after four innings.

Monty retired the side in order for another pair of frames. He kept the Cardinals to just the single run scored after the first three batters. Monty pitched six strong innings. The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning. Anthony Rizzo singled into left field with his two strike swing. Kris Bryant drew a walk, but Jason Heyward flew out. Báez was called out by the homeplate umpire on a checked swing call. Báez argued and after tossing his helmet and bat was tossed. Maddon came out to argue and was also tossed.

Greg Holland pitched the sixth inning for th Cardinals. Kyle Schwarber walked with one out, and Holland's command wavered again with a hanging overhand curve that Almora smacked into center. The Cubs moved station to station with Russell hitting what should have been a tailor made double play ball to Paul DeJong. The ball clanked off DeJong's glove to load the bases instead of potentially ending the inning. Relief pitcher and pinch hitter extraordinaire Tommy La Stella took Monty's spot. A spiked curve was wild, but Schwarber couldn't see how far the ball scooted away. La Stella waved Schwarber home, but the medium sized guy wouldn't risk it. Schwarber made the right call as Holland bounced a couple more pitches to walk in the tying run. That was enough of Greg Holland for new manager Mike Shildt.

Jordan Hicks and his hundred mile an hour sinker. Anthony Rizzo smacked the first ball to DeJong's left. DeJong could glove the ball, but his throw was late and wide of second. The Cubs were up 2-1 and the bases were still loaded with just one out. Kris Bryant hit a slow bouncer up the middle tht turned into a run scoring fielder's choice. Jason Heyward made contact but it was another ball in the infied which was easily converted to the final out.

Randy Rosario got two outs on four pitches, and then Matt Carpenter hit a flyball into the teeth of the wind. That meant six straight games Matt Carpenter has hit a home run. That ended Rosario's night as interim manager Brandon Hyde brought in the righty Pedro Strop. A walk was the first outcome of the move. Kolten Wong swung over two sliders in the dirt to end the inning. The Cubs lead was now a precarious 3-2 margin. Hicks kept the Cubs off the board for another inning.

Pedro Strop started the eighth inning, and Paul DeJong hit an easy groundball to third for the first out. Ozuna put a charge into the ball but the wind kept it in the park for the second out. Tommy Pham rolled a single up the middle to keep the inning alive, and Yadier Molina pinch hit for Jordan Hicks. Strop walked Molina and forced the tying run into scoring position. Strop was given the inning and he faced Yairo Munoz. Jack Flaherty entered the game to pinch run for Yadi. Strop fell behind 1-0, but a foul ball evened the count. A groundball just out of the reach of replacement second baseman Ben Zobrist for the tying run. Peña swung over a slider in the dirt. It escaped Willson Contreras briefly but he easily fired to first for the final out. However the Cardinals had tied the game.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Sam Tuivailala induced an easy ground ball from Addison Russell to start the inning. He lost Ian Happ on a 3-2 pitch for the first base runner of the inning. Rizzo attacked early but hit an easy fly ball to left for the second out. Bryant hit a sinking line drive that Ozuna made a sliding grab to end the inning.

Matt Carpenter was the first batter of the ninth inning. He faced Justin Wilson who was old Justin Wilson. Not good old Justin Wilson from Detroit, but bad new Cub old Justin Wilson threw 10 pitches. Only two found the strike zone as Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader walked. Steve Cishek came into the game. Wong attempted to bunt the runners over and Rizzo pounced on the ball. He quicky fired to third for the first out. DeJong roped a single into left to drive in the go ahead run. Cishek fell behind Ozuna and he was intentionally walked to load the bases. Pham hit a ball into the right field corner for a two run double. Hyde made his third pitcher change in the now three run ninth. Dillon Maples was inserted into the game. He faced Dexter Fowler and spun some sliders wide of the zone. He also snapped off some solid ones that had Fowler swinging over the top for the second out of the inning. Maples fell behind Munoz 3-0 but came back to strike him out swinging to end the inning. The damage had been done though with the Cardinals now up 6-3.

Cardinals closer and former manager's designated bullpen bully Bud Norris finally got to enter the game after having to wait for half hour before the top half of the frame finished. Jason Heyward smacked a groundball single to start the inning. Zobrist hit a twisting pop fly that DeJong grabbed for the first out. Contreras hit the ball right back to Norris. That was turned into a game ending double play. The Cubs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they prove the old saying it is difficult to sweep a doubleheader.

Source: FanGraphs

Surprising Difficult Evening
The Cubs fifth and sixth starter pitched well today. The pair threw a crucial 11.1 innings on a day where a minimum of 18 was needed. They yielded just one run each and gave the Cubs a chance to complete the day-night sweep. Unfortunately the bullpen collectively could not hang on. The focus will probably fall on Brandon Hyde's decision to insert Justin Wilson into a tied ballgame in the the top of the ninth. No one had been getting Matt Carpenter out this entire series since the ESPN announcers proclaimed that the Cubs had figured him out. Instead it was a night where the trickle down effect of not having Brandon Morrow was clearly felt as Cubs relievers gave up 5 runs in the final three frames.

Random Reference
What it felt like watching that ninth inning.


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  • Why pitch Cishek and Wilson twice in the same day?

  • I had an irrational want for this game tonight. I can't explain it. It hurts.

    Tomorrow's another day. We'll get a W. But tonight just seems like a good plan gone awry. Set up just right, until it wasn't, and then, well:

    "Hit young Rocky in the eye.
    Rocky didn't like that.
    He said "I'm gonna get that boy".
    So one day he walked into town.
    Booked himself a room in the local saloon."

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    Javy didn't swing at that pitch. He was walking away too. We had our chances but today was on us. This was as disheartening a loss as I've experienced in a long time.
    Some day I'll find lyrics like BP, but I couldn't do it any better.

  • I'll try to make myself feel a little better. The Cubs are the best team in the NL. Every team has holes, and every teams' holes are bigger than ours.

    Trade deadline time! I make out my roster and depth chart and see some obvious areas of improvement. I have guessed that we get Eovaldi and Britton. Or the equivalent of. We will not give up more than minor-leaguers for both. And here is where it gets crazy.

    I have been steadfast in my belief that we add to what we got, not re-make it. We have so many question marks, with the continued success of Lester and the questionable continuation of Hendricks and Quintana. Here's what I know, and what should inspire Cubs fans:

    We will add a SP and a LHRP. My guess has been Eovaldi and Britton. I promise you this. We have an aggressive FO. I would bet anything that we collect nothing less than that. We will add before the deadline. And knowing this FO, and their focus on maximizing the competitive seasons, I wouldn't be surprised by anything they do. Bottom line, we get better without giving up really anything. We may get much better and give up some stuff. Don't ever sit on this FO making big moves.

    We will be a better team, and more specifically better set up for a postseason run, in a week from now. This will be fun.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I worry about the pen. We gotta get a lights out 7th or 8th inning guy. I said this a couple of weeks ago. This bullpen is not a NLCS caliber bullpen. I don’t want to see Bass Ferrell Wilson strop Duensing going against kemp or Machado in a 1 run game in the 8th inning.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Good thing we have Morrow, Edwards, Strop and Cishek then. I agree adding a lefty to that mix would be nice, but lets not pretend that Farrell is going to pitch in the 8th inning of a playoff game. Wilson is probably the only guy you listed who is even going to be on the roster. The days off during the playoffs allow you to more heavily rely on your best guys. In any given game, 2-3 of the Cubs top 4 guys will be available.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks for making my point for me. If you are relying on Edwards Cishek and morrow to get it done it will be nerve racking to watch. They have to get a lights out 7th inning or 8th in guy. If bass Duensing Ferrell aren’t on the roster then that is great but have to find someone to replace them.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yeah, that Edwards guy that was a key for us in 2016 is trash.

    So is that Morrow guy that the Dodgers found so unreliable that they refused to pitch him in any World Series game last year. No, wait. Was he the first guy to ever pitch in 7 WS games? I forget which one it was.

    Strop and Cishek are two of the most consistent relievers in all of baseball over the past 5+ years.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    So we are living in 2016??? Edwards was decent that year but the closer carried the pen that year. Chapman was the only pen we needed. Most middle Relievers very year to year. Cause he was good in 16 doesn’t mean squat in 2018.
    Morrow didn’t close for dodgers. It will be a big change for him to get 3 outs in the 9th. If he can stay healthy. Hasn’t shown that ability to stay healthy.
    And u are confident in Cishek and strop to get it done?
    As I said the cubs better add 2 good arms in then pen if they want a great shot to escape the NL.

  • Anybody know what happened to my other favorite site, The Cub Reporter? I miss Az. Phil.

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    In reply to Hagsag:

    I've been wondering the same thing, It is or was an invaluable site especially the input from Arizona Phil. Hopefully the sit will be back up soon.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    There were some server maintenance messages up earlier this week. I wonder if there were issues at their host site.

  • I suppose it is just human nature to want more of a good thing, what I wanted most out of this series was to end the Cardinal season and have them down 10 games leaving town. Ok, so now maybe I have to wait until next weekend.
    If they get to the point where they need to go......?...45-15 to win the division, you know that’s not going to happen.....let’s get it done today.

  • I read some very discouraging info about Kyle Hendricks. He’s giving up the highest hard contact % of his career this season (33%), highest barrel % and highest solid contact %. Opponents are hitting.308 off his sinker , he’s already allowed a career high in hr’s and is on pace for a career high in walks.Hendricks is getting barreled up more than ever this season and lacks control. Not sure what can be done to change anything, the jig may be up.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don’t know where you get this stuff from but espn Thursday night posted a graphic on Hendricks showing that his velocity is low but velocity on hits he gives up also is the 4th lowest in the league. Then they even commented to that fact.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    the info was collected at via reddit. You can read it yourself buddy

  • In reply to bolla:

    Well...ok, that says that, then ESPN posts what they did. Whoever or whatever is right I don’t know.....all I do know is I don’t come in here making it a habit of always posting the negatives of players which you seem to enjoy. You are entitled to your opinions, of course you are, but let me tell you what you can do with yours...
    On Monday, call up the President of Operations of the Cubs and go ahead and tell him he always overpays in trades, gives up too much in prospects and most of his current roster of picks are overrated like you always insist here they are. His name I think is Epstein..... he has a team with the best record in the National League and the highest win percentage of any the last 3 years......
    Get back to all of us then please with what he tells you.......

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's simply a fastball command issue I have very little concern. He's having mechanical issues I hope he figures things out this year but I think he'll get his mechanics on track over the long haul

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hendricks is stuggling now, that is obvious to most everyone. But why would you cherry-pick probably the worst slump he has been in in the last 4 years to claim that his run of excellence is now over? It doesn't make sense for a Cubs fan.

    Can't wait for your post the next time Schwarber or KB goes in a slump, or when Lester loses three starts in a row. They are probably already pre-written. Just need to wait for the right timing, huh?

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Agreed I read that article and we already know that his results are down this year that's not news to me. I personally try to analyze process more than results. I'd be more concerned if he was executing his pitches and still getting hit but he's not. I think it's easy to pick on players in slumps which tends to happen in baseball but the intelligent baseball fans diagnose why they're struggling. I think Hendricks just flat out isn't pitching well right now it's that simple but that doesn't mean that he's not a good pitcher overall. That's not me or you being homers I have a much higher concern for say chatwood or Brian duensing so I'm open to criticizing cub players but I think Kyle is going to be just fine in the long run but I hope this isn't an off year for him because we'll need him in the postseason

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I'm on the same page as you. There are some Cubs players who have built up so much good will for us fans, due to sustained, excellent quality play (while wearing a Cubs uniform) over a long period of time. They deserve our backing, especially during the times that they are struggling. Hendricks is certainly in this category.

    Now I am a bit of a homer (bit on the pollyanish side, too), but we are in a truly golden era as Cubs fans when looking through the lens of the last 50 years. Why wouldn't you?

    As for ESPN, they love narratives, and being an east cost biased organization (yes they are), and being two east coast teams are having stellar years, expect a lot of negative-base narratives with respect to the Cubs. They have mostly pushed negative narratives about the Cubs, ever since they have become a perpetual playoff-quality team. Here are a few over the last few years:
    a) Lester is the worst hitting player in the history of the MLB. Remember the continual chirping every single at bat he had when he was 0-60ish as a hitter? It was just nonstop, unending, repetitive chatter about this, without any discussion about any of his positive contributions.
    b) Remember the continuous, nonstep, never-ending discussion (for at least two years!) about Lester's inability/unwillingness to throw to first? Although there were arguably 0 games whose outcomes were significantly affected by this, there was far more discussion about this than about the factors that did affect game results. You know, like the quality of his pitching?
    c) I remember a few years back, there was an ESPN telecast of a Cubs game where they spent virtually the entire game insinuating that Maddon was "losing the team" because he had been moving KB around to different positions in the outfield (he was playing RF that game). "How can he jerk around a superstar like Bryant?" Rather than just mention this, they just could not let go of that narrative. Poor Kris Bryant. It was incessant and very annoying to hear of the many different ways they would say the same thing.
    d) The JHey narrative in 2016. How many times did we hear that noone was being pitched fast balls more often than Jason Heyward? I think I heard it on at least 4 different occasions. That was literally the only thing they would even discuss, if Heyward was the subject.

    Rest assured there will be more to come this year, with the Cubs being so good. There is truth to all of these narratives, it is just the incessant picking at the warts, over and over again, and then when it's clearly proven that they are overblown arguments, they just move on to a new narrative.

    Just take what ESPN has to say with a grain of salt, when it comes to the Cubs this year.

  • Got some inside information:)

    Bote, hatch and little for Britton is being discussed

  • In reply to bolla:

    I hope not. That seems like a lot of an injury ridden rental.

  • In reply to bolla:

    That’s way to much.. we’re headed right back to the toilet in a couple of years if we keep trading away the future. We do not have the starters to make it through the playoffs. Get deGrom or forget it.. Could ha e had Verlander last year, but no.. we get Chatwood and Darvish instead.

  • Don’t know if it’s all 3 or 2 of the 3 but bote is definitely one name, because orioles scouts were in Iowa scouting bote recently.It could be hatch or little doubt both. But Theo overplays in every prospect trade imo so who knows

  • In reply to bolla:

    Bote and Hatch ... I'm ok with that deal

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