The Cubs lack of offense has been an issue throughout this four-game series with the Pirates. Sunday it was the same issue again. The Chicago pitchers tried to stave off defeat as long as possible, allowing the offense a chance to respond in extra innings. With a total lack of run support, the inevitable finally happened in the 11th inning, with the Pirates getting a walk-off home run from Adam Frazier.
Jose Quintana started out a little shaky, but settled down nicely to pitch an effective game. Kyle Schwarber provided the Cubs trademark solo home run of the day — their fourth solo home run in four games — in the 2nd inning. The Pirates were able to tie the game in the 6th on an RBI double by Gregory Polanco.
Carl Edwards Jr. relieved Quintana with men on second and third and none out. Edwards was able to escape the jam with the help of Anthony Rizzo throwing home to get Starling Marte on a David Freese grounder. Edwards allowed a single in the 7th inning before being replaced by Justin Wilson. Wilson surrendered a Marte double to left, Schwarber and Javy Baez combined on two great throws and the runner was out at home.
The Cubs got in trouble in the bottom of the 9th when Steve Cishek walked the leadoff hitter. Pedro Strop entered and got one out before a walk and hit batter loaded the bases. Joe Maddon called in Ben Zobrist for a five-man infield. Amazingly, the move worked for the Cubs as Corey Dickerson hit into a 4-9-3 double play to end the inning.
Chicago’s only real late scoring chance came in the top of the 11th inning. They had runners on first and third with one out, unfortunately Addison Russell wandered too far off third and was picked off by Elias Diaz on a pitchout. The Cubs would draw two walks to load the bases before Albert Almora struck out to end the inning. Brandon Kintzler retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 11th inning, before Frazier hit a homer to right to walk it off. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The offense was almost nonexistent in the series, a grand total of four runs tallied, all on solo homers. No pitching staff will hold up with so little run support.
Russell getting picked off at third base just can’t happen, with a bunt as an option Addison had to know a pick off was a possibility. Being the potential winning run, awareness on the bases is critical.
Stats That Matter
- Quintana was actually very good especially in the middle innings: 5 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 K, and 2 BB. A lot of times that would be more than enough to earn a win.
- Jason Heyward had a nice game off the bench with a double and a walk.
- Kyle Schwarber seems to be finding his power stroke again with his second homer of the weekend. He also made several excellent defensive plays in left, including bounding up against the wall to rob Marte of a hit in the 10th.
The Cubs splitting a four-game series in which they scored a total of four runs is frankly kind of amazing, and I’ll gladly take it. The pitching was excellent, but the bats have to wake up soon. The Northsiders have a 3.5 game lead in the division so things aren’t dire, but the time for an offensive wake up is now.
After an off day on Monday, the Cubs head to the Motor City to do battle with the Tigers on Tuesday. Jordan Zimmerman goes for Detroit and Kyle Hendricks for Chicago. The 6:10 pm CT start is available on NBC Sports Chicago.