It was déjà vu all over again at Wrigley. A Cubs starter again pitched a quality start but ended up with a no decision. The Cubs bats were active and created all sorts of traffic in the early frames. But the big hit alluded the league's best offense for another night in a row. The Cubs stranded eight runners in the first inning and did not manage a single hit with runners in scoring position all night. The Phillies once again were able to deliver a big two out hit late to flip the score.
And then a different script was written in the ninth inning. Kyle Ryan struck out the pinch hitter with a runner in scoring position to end the inning. The Cubs entered the final half inning still down just a run. Kris Bryant drew a walk to start the frame and advanced to his defensive home on an Anthony Rizzo double. Willson Contreras hit a pop fly into shallow right that kept Bryant at third. Albert Almora Jr. hit a bouncer back to Juan Nicasio who flipped it too late to catch the speedy Bryant sliding into home. Javier Báez was summoned to face Nicasio and it took all of one pitch for El Mago to turn the tables on the other Pennsylvania team.
Kris Bryant's base running accounted for two of the Cubs three runs, and the almost cliché arrival of the wounded hero delivering in the clutch moment. Well perhaps cliché for movies but it still takes some getting used to the opposite outcome being the norm. That inspired me to torture an American Dad recurring side bit to fit the offensive highlights.
José Quintana and Yu Darvish both pitched quality starts, and both made it six innings. Darvish started incredibly strong and then was derailed in the sixth inning to give up three runs and the lead. Q was not nearly as sharp early on, but he was able to battle through it to deliver six shutout innings. The Phillies threatened in the first inning when Jean Segura smacked a one out double. Harper struck out and proved Theo right for not signing the talented right fielder. Rhys Hoskins drew the first of four walks that Q issued, but Almora was able to flag down a J.T. Realmuto flyball.
Zach Eflin induced a groundball from Kyle Schwarber for the first out, but Kris Bryant bounced a single back up the middle for the first of many Cubs base runners. Anthony Rizzo walked to move Bryant to second. Willson Contreras grounded out to short, but Kris Bryant kept running with the hit and run play on. He beat the throw home to give the Cubs the lead with some Javy-esque baserunning of his own. Eflin pitched himself into further trouble by walking Jason Heyward and Almora to load the bases, but Daniel Descalso struck out swinging to end the inning.
Quintana would pitch another five innings without allowing more than a single baserunner. The only real danger ever occurred in the fourth inning when Q walked Hoskins to start the frame. J.T. Realmuto switched spots with Hoskins for an out. Realmuto stole second with two outs and the throw from Willy bounced into centerfield allowing him to reach third. Kingery flew out to end that threat.
Eflin wouldn't pitch a clean inning until the fifth. The Cubs would place a runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings. Twice it was with two outs, but Descalso and Rizzo both couldn't come through in the clutch to drive in the extra runs. Eflin would only allow a two out single to pinch hitter Mark Zagunis to complete his six inning quality start.
Carl Edwards Jr. took over in the seventh inning and constant thorn in the side César Hernández singled to start things off. Kingery bounced into a fielder's choice and ended up at third on Franco's double. Odubel Herrera bounced the ball right back to Edwards who looked Kingery back before tossing to Rizzo for the second out. Brandon Kintzler was given the task of retiring Andrew McCutchen, and McCutchen was once again able to come through in the clutch against the Cubs. He punched the ball back up the middle to drive in a pair. Kintzler retired the next four batters he faced, but the damage had been done.
Edgar Garcia took over in the seventh inning. Kris Bryant bounced a hot smash past a diving Maikel Franco demonstrating about as much range as Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Garcia retired the next two batters. José Álvarez was the next Phillies arm, and he uncorked a wild pitch to move Bryant into scoring position. But it became moot when Heyward hit a groundout to end the inning.
Álvarez was given the eighth and got two quick outs to make it seem like the Cubs would go with a whimper. However, he walked Addison Russell and Bote was able to beat out an infield single that Franco snared. Schwarber grounded out to rinse and repeat the Cubs RISP woes. Xavier Cedeño was given the ball in the ninth. Kingery doubled with one out and that brings us back to the start with Kyle Ryan coming through in the clutch to keep the game close.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and Mother Nature certainly helped the Cubs provide it.
The Cubs were suppose to be mad. They were suppose to get one back. The hope was that the Cubs could cruise to an easy win but the rampage was been about as successful as this through eight innings. And then Javy provided a little help.