The Cubs entered this two-game set with the Indians looking to build on their recent success of taking three of four against the Reds. The young Cubs lineup has been widely criticized for poor situational hitting, not only during this season, but also through the previous few years.
This shortcoming was on display Tuesday night as the Cubs’ bats went cold with runners in scoring position, leading to a flat night on offense and a disappointing loss (box score).
Why the Cubs Lost
Tyler Chatwood’s command issues were on full display in this one just as they seemingly have have been for much of the season. He issued six walks through just 2.2 innings pitched while allowing four earned runs. The bullpen was also ineffective behind Chatwood’s short start, as Mike Montgomery gave up six earned runs after taking over.
This game was marked by a glut of scoring from the Indians, with all the runs coming between the 3rd and 5th innings. It all began with a three-run home run from Jose Ramirez in the top of the 3rd, and the Indians’ offense didn’t look back.
Stats That Matter
- Chatwood was ineffective, throwing just 30 of his 74 pitches for strikes. This led to a short outing, perhaps his worst of the season (2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 1 K).
- Ian Happ hit his eighth home run on the season in the bottom of the 9th to help the Cubs avoid a shutout. Happ has been swinging a hot bat over the last two weeks, which is nice to see from someone who has struggled mightily in the early going with his high strikeout rate (.300/.500/.667 over the last 14 days).
- Justin Hancock pitched nicely in relief following subpar outings from Chatwood and Montgomery (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K).
The Cubs were 0-for-10 with RISP and the short outing from Chatwood forced Joe Maddon to go to an already highly-used bullpen, which could backfire over the course of the long season. The Cubs will look to get the bats going Wednesday evening against a pitcher in Adam Plutko with very little major league experience.
The Cubs take on the Indians in the final game of this brief series tomorrow night. Jon Lester will take the mound to face Plutko with first pitch set for 7:05pm CT. The game can be viewed on NBC Sports Chicago as well as MLB Network for out of market viewers.