CI Recap (7/31/18) – Cubs 4, Pirates 5: Offense Doesn’t Do Enough, Lester Struggles with Command

What looked like a potential game-winning rally was unceremoniously cut short as the Cubs offense could not provide much firepower against Jameson Taillon and company. Jon Lester had issues finding his command and was only able to pitch five innings in this one. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out three in an outing in which he was consistently falling behind in counts.

The bullpen did a good job tonight with the only blemish coming when Justin Wilson gave up a leadoff home run to Gregory Polanco. Javy Baez hit a three-run homer to provide most of the scoring, and Addison Russell had what was almost a triple wiped off when he was called out at third following a review (box score).

Why the Cubs Lost

Lester didn’t have a great night, but this loss is ultimately on the offense. They were unable to take advantage of their opportunities, going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Key Moments

Javy Baez hit a leadoff double in the top of the 6th and moved to third on an Albert Almora Jr. groundout with the game tied 3-3. The Cubs then hit a pair of lineouts to strand him at third.

Russell laced a triple into the right-center gap in the top of the 9th to send David Bote home and get the Cubs within a run with no outs. Or so we thought until a crew chief review of the play deemed he was tagged out by David Freese. Had he maintained contact with the bag, or not stretched the play at all, we probably have different thoughts about this game.

Stats that Matter

  • Ben Zobrist continued his great work at the plate, hitting a double and walking twice in five plate appearances. He also scored a run.
  • Baez was a triple short of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.
  • Five of the Cubs’ nine hits was for extra bases.

BottomĀ Line

The Cubs have looked rather subpar in the past couple of series, so it has been difficult to watch them play recently. They are a half-game ahead of Milwaukee for first in the NL Central with a 61-45 record, pending the result of the Brewers’ late-night affair in LA.

On Deck

Cole Hamels will make his Cubs debut Wednesday night at 6:05pm CT, which I am really excited about. Nick Kingham will take the mound for the Pirates and the game will be broadcast on WGN and MLB Network.

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