Thrice Not as Nice--Pirates 3 Cubs 1

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.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
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.

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    The offense is anemic and it seems like the pitchers have figured out David Bote. In the last week he's hitting about .250 and has 4 RBIs, and those came from the wonderful Bote Blast. Now it's time for him to adjust to their adjustments. His fielding is very good so I'm not down on him, but the others have to come through too.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    David Bote hitting .250 for a week is the least of the problem.

    How about Javy hitting .226 for August and going 5 for 38 in the last 10 games? Four singles and double and he's hitting into DPs too. He's always been and extreme streak player and his bat has been non-existent and it really shows. I'd say he should take a rest except Russell looks awful and his hand is definitely hurting him and Javy may need to play SS for bit.

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    This was a classic "bullpen" game. As close are there is in MLB to a "punt." Just get through the game tomorrow and take a day off. If you win, BONUS, if you don't, then don't worry about it.

  • So much for the recent "hitters only" meeting. With the "HO" caveat the meeting probably didn't have more than 3-4 attendees. I am so tired of seeing Russell and his lost boy look. Hopefully they'll get a SS that that has a pulse in the batters box.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Veteran, I'm a fan too. I haven't the talent to sniff pro ball, but I have at times put myself in position to interact with these talented young men. When they specify a meeting it is quite inclusive and intense. There are points made and grievances aired. I have to disagree with your premise of uselessness and the lack of attendance. I'm sure your comment came out of frustration, and we all feel that when the boys aren't hitting.

    Everyone is allowed to fan as they see fit, and I will not tell anyone they are wrong. But I will suggest that to fully experience the success of a team a fan must be completely immersed and not just a critic. You must take the good with the bad and suffer through. Shouting critiques without context may make one feel better in the short term yet misses the ultimate pleasure of true understanding of the highs and lows of a long, hard-fought season.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Good stuff, Barley, I'd like to think that I've learned a lot of that, just by hanging out on this site. The difference between teams that endure and those that swoon has to do with how well they handle adversity and embrace the big picture, and stay together as a team. I like our chances.

  • Has there ever been a playoff bound team with a worse starter than Chatwood?

  • If we win 3 out of 4 in Pittsburgh who can say this was a bad weekend?

  • From the reactions I saw, Cubs hitters are as frustrated playing as we are watching. I want to shout that Joe, or Chili, or Theo or SOMEBODY needs to do something, but who knows what "something" is? The record since the ASB has improved, but mostly due to the miracle "Bote game" against Washington and the improbable two 1-0 wins in a row against Pittsburgh. Otherwise, it's still a .500 team. Maybe Bryant, Darvish and Morrow make it all better. Montgomery's arm may recover enough for bullpen work the rest of the way. Maybe Chatwood gets a mysterious ailment and is placed on the DL, followed by some one-on-one "treatment" in Arizona followed by a LONG series of rehab starts in Boise. Maybe Cleveland offers Francisco Lindor and Andrew Miller for Russell and Chatwood in a "change of scenery" deal...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I don’t know... Maybe if, in the words of Jerry Krause, they throw in a ‘Sweetener.’ We would need a couple additional players in return.

  • The entire offense has taken a nap recently. But Russell hit .202 in July and is at .216 in August. I keep waiting for him to figure it out. And I'm tired of it. I'm starting to think he's broken, either physically or mentally, or both. Whatever it is, he's the biggest current disappointment. He needs to sit for a while. Put Javy at SS and let Zo, Bote and Happ take 2nd and 3rd.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I listen to first part of the game on the radio. Was right after la Stella got a hit and we had runners on 1st and 3rd I believe. Addi was up. At one point in the at bat he showed a safety squeeze. I like that joe is trying to manufacture a run but the reality of it is sad we have to do that. Needless to say Addi whiffed.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    That was a huge AB in the game. He gets that run home and we are just down 1 run the rest of the way, who knows what happens?

  • Here is what “should” happen......
    In the next week we play 9 games against the dregs, 7 of those at home. The Cubs could realistically put the season to bed in a positive way if they play the way they “should”. 6 out of 9 and the calendar really begins to hurt the pursuers and then that gets us right to the point when the lower end cavalry shows up from the minors and makes it easy on Maddon to get the regulars some days off to regroup. Hopefully the 3 missing pieces can then begin contributing and then......gas on it and lock up the division.
    Will they seize the opportunity like the last 3 seasons?

  • Big game today for Q. The other day, after Lester was taken out of the game with the 1-0 lead, I said Lester bouncing back was the most signficant development of the game and would almost rather they lose that game late than the Cubs win 10-9 with Lester having given up several runs.

    Feel the same way today. More than anything else, would love to see a dominant performance from Q.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Agree. A bunch of improvement anyway. The season is getting short.

  • Unfortunately Baez has cooled off tremendously. The cubs offense is cold as ice right now

    That Russell ab with runners at 1st & 3rd and 1 out was key and he couldn’t even get the bat on the ball, bunt or fly ball most likely scores a run.

    The bullpen did a great job

  • Jon Heyman reports that Toronto is going to place Donaldson on waivers as soon as his rehab is complete. This would be a very interesting, low risk trade for the Cubs.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I would not mind seeing Daniel Murphy wearing a Cub uniform and playing 2B for the rest of the season. That guy's bat is awesome in the postseason.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Boy, I don't know. I really really dislike Daniel Murphy. That would be a Chapman type addition for this fan.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I certainly understand your dislike for Daniel Murphy after he demolished us in 2015.

    But, I could probably let bygones be bygones after his first postseason HR while wearing Cubbie blue.

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    I was thinking that the last few days, but I highly doubt he makes it to us. Oh boy if he did. WOW. How we could use his left handed steady bat w pop in the middle of our lineup.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Thank you. I love Daniel Murphy.

    I was saving this for the off season, but as most on here know I have been pounding the “Machado to the Cubs” scenario since last off season. If the Cubs can’t get Machado, I would love to see Murphy at 2B (2 yr deal) and move Javy to SS as a second plan. Regardless I move Russell as replacing his bat with a legit 3, 4, or 5 hitter makes the Cubs better. The offense is way too up and down for my taste.

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    In reply to JohnCC:

    The problem w that is he would have to get thru all the AL teams ( you know the Indians are going to try n claim him n then move Ramirez back to 2nd) and then all the NL teams then to the Cubs.

    If he makes it to us, prob means he's not right yet or Jays asking too much.

  • Maybe old friend Matt Sczcur will send a couple crates of his bats to Clark & Addison.

    :)

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