All good things must come to end. Unfortunately for the 2019 Cubs that has come after just two games. This had the feeling of a team loss as the offense sprung to life late and wound up falling short in the end. Kyle Hendricks pitched a decent but not spectacular game. The bullpen gave the world to the opposition and the defense was leaky at times.
At the end of the day the focus is going to lay on the bullpen walking in the winning runs, but I can't help but focus on that oh so familiar feeling of the dreaded tease rally. The Cubs placed the winning run in scoring position with less than two outs, but the tying run remained planted at third as the twenty-seventh out was recorded.
I feel a bit like Barley Pop with the only thing in my mind is a song. I am not sure he would approve of a little Soft Cell, but as Willson Contreras whiffed with Javier Báez on third the only thing I could hear was the title of the recap.
The Angels struck first in the second inning. Three straight singles put Los Angeles ahead without an out being recorded, and then the line continued to move with Tommy La Stella doing what he does best in earning a catcher's interference. Zack Cozart singled to make it a 2-0 game with still no outs recorded and not really any balls truly squared up hard. Hendricks was able to get his counterpart to ground into a double play, but it drove in the third run of the game. Kole Calhoun popped out to short to end the threat finally. The professor avoided any further damage in his outing, but he left the game trailing after just five innings.
The Cubs at least kept Chris Stratton from earning a win. Kyle Hendricks was able to return the favor from the second inning by leading off with a single. Daniel Descalso advanced Hendricks into scoring position with a ground out and Javier Báez ripped a double to drive him in. The Cubs had a chance for a big inning with the bases loaded but Willson Contreras struck out swinging.
The Cubs got closer in the fifth inning. Descalso continues to swing a hot bat with a single to start the frame, but was thrown out when Ben Zobrist swung through a hit and run play. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk and then scored on Báez's second double of the afternoon. That chased Stratton from the game, but Ty Buttery was able to vulture a win by recording the final out of the fifth inning.
Brad Brach was given the sixth inning and he started out strong inducing a flyball from Jonathan Lucroy. But Brian Goodwin singled next and then Brach walked three of the next four batters. That meant he got the second out of the inning, but the fifth run was forced in without a swing of the bat. Randy Rosario was called upon next but he kept the carousel moving by walking in the fifth Angels run.
Tim Collins took over in the seventh and put up a zero on the board. You can't blame Joe Maddon for getting greedy and trying to get another frame out of Tim Collins. Tommy La Stella reached for the fourth time to start the inning and then Zack Cozart singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Brad Kintzler was summoned and Peter Bourjos hit a sacrifice fly for what turned out to be the winning run. Kintzler recorded another two outs and the Cubs relievers started another scoreless streak with a clean ninth inning from Kyle Ryan.
The 6-2 lead would stand up but not without a little drama first. Jason Heyward continues to look like the batter the Cubs thought they signed with a one out double and the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs. Mark Zagunis delivered a pinch hit single to pull the Cubs within two, but Descalso struck out to head to the ninth inning down 6-4.
Cody Allen retired Descalso and went back out in the ninth for the four out save. Zobrist flew out, but then things got interesting with Rizzo's second walk of the afternoon. Báez doubled for a third time to put the tying run in scoring position. Jason Heyward hit a flyball into left and once again the opposition biffed it allowing Rizzo to score making it a 6-5 game. The Brian Goodwin error also meant the go ahead run was now standing on second with just one out. Cody Allen then struck out Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber swinging to end the tease rally and the game.
Winning is fun and losing is not.
As I said from the outset, I feel a bit like Barley Pop. So here is what I couldn't help but think about this as the Cubs failed to close the deal late.