The Cubs and Pirates have played an awfully similar three games of baseball in a row. Neither teams bats have shown up this series. Each team has scored a mere three runs in the first three games. The Cubs have scored single tallies in three games. While the entirety of the Pirates scoring came in 1 of 26 innings at the plate. Heading into the final game the Cubs find themselves ahead in the series with a start made by Tyler Chatwood.
The Tyler Chatwood experience was exactly what you recall of it. Chatwood faced the minimum in the first inning with yet another double play. Corey Dickerson hit the first one of the game to lead off the bottom of the first. He was erased on a Starling Marte groundball double play. Gregory Polanco grounded out to Anthony Rizzo to end the inning.
Joe Musgrove was very strong for the Pirates. He scattered five hits over 7 innings. The Cubs managed their first single in the second inning, but a double play removed much of the steam from the Cubs rally. The Cubs would manage just seven base runners the entire game. Two reached on errors but none scored. Cubs hitters also produced five singles the entire night.
Tyler Chatwood reverted back to Tyler Chatwood in the second. Chatwood walked Josh Bell and Francisco Cervelli to start the inning. Adam Frazier hit a double into center field to score Bell. Colin Moran hit a groundball to Rizzo to drivve in Cervelli. Frazier moved to third on the play. That would be significant as Adeiny Hechavarría hit a flyball deep enough to drive in Frazier. The three runs would be more than enough.
Ben Zobrist hit a two out solo shot in the third inning to put the Cubs on the board. The Cubs would put the tying runs on base just one time the rest of the way. In the fifth inning, Willson Contreras dropped a perfect bunt to reach with one out. Tommy La Stella executed a perfect hit and run to give the Cubs runners at the corners. Addison Russell struck out swinging, and Ben Zobrist flied out.
The Cubs bullpen was strong once again. Chatwood started the third inning, but Maddon pulled the plug after walking Corey Dickerson. Randy Rosario got another double play, and then Polanco grounded out as Rosario collected three outs in two plate appearances. Rosario gave up a leadoff single in the fourth inning, but retired the next three batters to put another zero on the board.
Jesse Chavez was the next Cubs reliever. He ran into a little trouble with Joe Musgrove singling with one out on a bunt. Corey Dickerson collected his second hit of three on the day. Marte and Polanco flew out to the end the inning. Chavez struck out three Pirates in the sixth inning. The Pirates put runners in scoring position in seventh and eighth inning. Brandon Kintzler gave up a two out double to Dickerson, and Jorge de la Rosa walked Cervelli and Frazier singled with two outs.
The Cubs couldn't muster a tease rally against the Pirates very good closer Felipe Vázquez in the ninth. Vázquez struck out Báez and Schwarber on six pitches. Contreras had a more competitive at bat, but flew out harmless to Polanco to end the game.
The offense is in the doldrums, but I still feel pretty neutral about the end results. The bullpen was fantastic once again. But mostly it just feels like another day off the calendar. The Cubs division lead is hardly insurmountable, but it feels comfortable. And that is why my feelings are best summed up here.