Cubs record: 56-37, 1st NL Central, (8 games up)
W: Hansel Robles
L: Hector Rondon
S: Jeurys Familia (33)
MVP: Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta (was) great again, but the Cubs lost a tight and frustrating game with missed opportunities against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets.
The Cubs hit it hard and hit it often, but the scoring was scarce against Thor and the Mets’ bullpen. Four walks and nine hits for the North Siders were only good enough for one run in this battle of aces.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Willson Contreras was a one-man wrecking crew as he doubled with two outs, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a Rene Rivera throwing error. The Cubs ended up having men on base in seven of the nine innings, they just couldn’t get the timely hit needed to score another run — including a chance with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th.
On the pitching side, Arrieta looked like himself in his first start since the break. Seven innings, five hits, one walk and one earned run to go with his eight strikeouts. Hoo-doggy, Jake was ferocious in this one. His earned run came in the top of the 6th when Jose Reyes hit a leadoff triple and scrambled home on a Curtis Granderson sacrifice fly to center.
Tied at one entering the top of the 9th, Hector Rondon gave up one too many hits to blow the tie and lose the game.
Ranking 19th in all of baseball, the Mets are…not a great offensive club. But who cares? Jake looked like Jake as he pitched an absolute gem. Opting for rest over pitching in the All-Star game, there were questions about his mechanics and where he was at mentally, but tonight, Arrieta showed that the rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated.
Is he going to be historically great moving forward? Probably not, and it’s going to take a couple more games of pitching like this to regain more trust, but an Arrieta start is still appointment viewing television for the foreseeable future.
Rondon came in with the game tied and didn’t have his best stuff. James Loney led off with a single and Neil Walker beat out a double-play ball on review. Asdrubal Cabrera promptly singled, but the Cubs had a chance to get out of it as Rondon fanned Michael Conforto for the second out. Then Rene Rivera singled to plate Walker and that was the difference. Rondon is the best pitcher in the Cubs bullpen, so there are no qualms with Joe Maddon going with him in this spot, it just sucks he couldn’t get it done.
The Cubs squandered opportunity after opportunity Tuesday night, and it cost them the win. Two on with no outs in the 1st inning and no runs scored. Men on second and third with no outs in the 2nd and they came up empty. In the 4th, Arrieta doubled and Tommy La Stella singled, but the pitcher was nailed by a perfect throw at the plate trying to score. In the 6th, the Cubs squandered a leadoff walk by Contreras. And finally, in the 9th, the bases were juiced with no outs and they couldn’t plate one to tie the game. Timely hitting and bad luck cost the Cubs this one.
It’s Kyle Hendricks vs. the living legend Bartolo Colon at 1:20 CST Wednesday as the Cubs look to win the series. The Professor has been the Cubs’ most consistent pitcher this season and sports a 6-1 record at home with a 1.50 ERA. They’ve had five team wins in his last five starts, it sure would be good to see the sixth tomorrow.