After taking three of five from the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, the Cubs took on the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night in the first game of a four-game set.
The doubleheader on Saturday forced Chicago to use Luke Farrell as a spot starter in this one and it went about as well as most spot starts. The Diamondbacks hit Farrell hard right from the beginning and by the time the 1st inning was over, Arizona had built up a 5-0 lead.
The D-backs added on in the top of the 2nd when noted Cubs killer Paul Goldschmidt homered to right-center to give Arizona a 6-0 advantage.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the bottom of the 6th. Ian Happ led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a Jason Heyward single to right. Anthony Rizzo grounded into a force out, bringing Happ home to give Chicago its first run of the game and cutting the deficit to 6-1.
Arizona added another run in the top of the 8th on a Nick Ahmed pinch-hit single with two outs. With preservation of the ‘pen more important than trying to mount a comeback, Joe Maddon turned to Victor Carartini and Anthony Rizzo to get the final four outs. Not often that your leadoff hitter finishes the game on the mound (Box score).
Why the Cubs Lost
Starting the second half a day earlier than everyone but St. Louis, coupled with the doubleheader on Saturday, put the Cubs in the unenviable position of using a spot starter Monday night. Farrell struggled in his outing as Arizona got to him early and held a 6-0 lead by the time he departed one out into the 4th. The Chicago bats, meanwhile, were silenced by D-backs starter Patrick Corbin for most of the night.
The game got off to an inauspicious start when Farrell hit former Cub Jon Jay to lead off the top of the 1st inning. Goldschmidt lined out to left for the first out, but Arizona then followed with single, single, sac fly, single, single, double before Farrell struck out Corbin to end the frame with the Diamondbacks holding a commanding 5-0 lead.
Stats That Matter
- Corbin had the Cubs off balance for most of the night, as the lefty allowed one run on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings.
- For the second time on the homestand, the Cubs used position players in relief on the mound. Caratini entered with two outs in the 8th and retired Jay on one pitch, coaxing a fly out to right to end the inning. Caratini then got the first two out in the 9th before switching positions with Rizzo, giving the first baseman his long-awaited debut on the mound. After throwing what Statcast listed as a “54 mph slider,” Rizzo upped the velocity and fired in a “62 mph slider” to retire A.J. Pollock on a fly to center.
- It has been a rough 2018 season for Brian Duensing but he looked good on Monday. The lefty went 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing no hits and a walk while striking out two.
The Cubs fell behind right from the jump and were never able to get back and make a game of it. Farrell’s rough start put Chicago in a tough spot, but the offense didn’t do the team any favors by mustering just a single run.
The Cubs (58-41) will turn to Kyle Hendricks (6-8, 3.99) in game two Tuesday night as they look to even the series. The Diamondbacks (55-46) will counter with right-hander Clay Buchholz (2-1, 2.56) with first pitch set for 7:05pm CT on WGN.