The Cubs looked to break out of their hitting slump against the Cardinals Friday night. St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas was outstanding and a late Cubs rally came up just short as Chicago lost another low-scoring game.
Cubs starter Jose Quintana struggled with runners on base his entire outing. The Cards did all their scoring in the bottom of the 3rd inning, when a Javy Baez error and a Jedd Gyorko infield hit put two men on base for Tommy Pham. The red-hot Pham slammed a long three-run homer to left to give the Birds a 3-0 lead.
Chicago staged a 9th inning rally against Cardinals closer Bud Norris, as Tommy La Stella had a RBI single and Ben Zobrist had a RBI groundout. Norris was able to get a ground out from Kris Bryant to preserve the 3-2 St. Louis win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The same problem that has plagued the Cubs the last week, lack of offense, caused Friday’s loss. Not to diminish the work of Mikolas, who threw 7.1 shutout innings, but this was on the Cubs. The Chicago bullpen kept them in the game and made things interesting, but it wasn’t enough.
Javy Baez singled and pinch-hitter Ian Happ doubled to put men on second and third with one out in the 5th. Mikolas froze Ben Zobrist on strikes and got Bryant to ground out to third to strand the runners.
Stats That Matter
- Quintana was very inefficient, racking up 88 pitches in just four innings of work: 4 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 K, and 4 BB. The four walks were a big part of that high pitch count. It’s not that he was particularly bad, but working out of the zone ends nights pretty quickly.
- The Cubs had three hits in the pinch Friday: Ian Happ, Victor Caratini, and Tommy La Stella all came through.
- Baez singled twice and hit another ball hard in his four at-bats. His error proved costly, though, and the hope is that the errors will start become less frequent in time.
The last time the Cubs went this many consecutive games scoring three or fewer runs was 2006. That needs to change, and soon. Don’t think anyone wants the year to turn out like the last place finish in 2006.
Game two of the series starts at 1:15 pm CT Saturday afternoon, when Tyler Chatwood takes on young Luke Weaver in a game that airs on ABC-7.