The Cubs lost a baseball game. It may result in the Cubs being up a mere game and a half by the end of the night. However, I find myself mostly frustrated by Francisco Cervelli transformation into Johnny Bench any time he visits the friendly confines. It is becoming so bad that I honestly think I'd rather the Cubs have to face Mike Trout than Cervelli in a key bases loaded, two out situation (otherwise known as a Bote).
Cole Hamels pitched well but it wasn't enough with the way Jameson Taillon is throwing the ball. Hamels was victimized with a first inning blip once again. This time it happened with two outs as Josh Bell bounced a single back up the middle for the games first hit. That gave Francisco Cervelli a chance to hit in the first inning, and he crushed a two run blast to get the Pirates on the board. Corey Dickerson drew a walk before José Osuna flew out to end the inning. Hamels settled in and retired the Pirates in order until it was time for him to come back to the plate.
Cole Hamels tried to do it all himself. He led off the third inning with a great at bat. He worked the count and then crushed a fastball to put the Cubs on the board. It was the first Cubs hit of the night but wouldn't be the last. It would be the last run scoring hit from the Cubs though as Taillon found the pitches he needed in a few key spots.
Hamels walked Cervelli to start the fourth inning and Osuna's one out double put the Cubs in danger of falling further behind. Hamels dug deep to retire the next two Pirates hitters in Jordan Luplow and Kevin Newman, whom I've been assured are real baseball players. The Cubs had a chance to tie the game in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Jason Heyward had the Cubs second hit with a soft single into right. Victor Caratini hit a two out single bringing Daniel Murphy to the plate. Murphy hit a groundball that the shortstop was able to knock down, but it loaded the bases. This brought the guy Cubs fans most want to see at the plate right now in this situation, but an easy groundball to Bell at first base ended the inning.
Cervelli hit a groundball down the third baseline with one out in the sixth inning. Bryant threw the ball into the stands, and Cervelli was credited with a single and error. Corey Dickerson was punched out, but Osuna doubled to put the Pirates ahead 3-1. Luplow hit a popfly Báez grabbed to end the inning. Báez singled to start the Cubs half of the frame. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk which meant that Kyle Schwarber had a chance to put the Cubs ahead with one swing. Instead his one swing resulted in two outs, and the Cubs never brought the tying run to the plate again.
Jaime García started the seventh inning and he started by walking Newman to start the inning. Newman! reached second on a Jameson Taillon sacrifice bunt. Taillon would pitch a clean bottom half of the inning afterwards for the exclamation point on his night. After Adam Frazier flyball resulted in the second out of the inning. Joe Maddon decided to insert Steve Cishek in the game. Pablo Reyes hit a run scoring single to push the Pirates lead to 4-1. Cishek walked Josh Bell to bring him back to the plate one last time. The Cubs decided to go off script and actually retire him this time.
It didn't matter much as Brian Duensing gave up a two out blast to Reyes in the ninth inning while Richard Rodriguez and Felipe Vázquez each pitched around a single single in their innings. The Cubs offense or lack there of is going to draw the headlines, but Steve Cishek is the larger story in my mind. The Cubs desperately need him to be the steady presence he was throughout the season, but as he continues to add to his career high in appearances each time out it feels less likely.
I found myself yelling at the TV a lot when the Bryant error happened. It looked a little something like this.