What looked like an easy Angels win Saturday afternoon became very dramatic late, but the Cubs came up just short. The loss had some controversy, as Kyle Schwarber hotly disputed his check-swing strike out that ended the game.
Starter Kyle Hendricks went off script and ran into 2nd inning trouble instead of his usual opening inning issues. Four singles, a Tommy La Stella catcher’s interference, and a double play led to three Los Angeles runs.
Brad Brach replaced the Professor in the 6th and promptly loaded the bases on a hit and two walks. He then walked pinch-hitter Albert Pujols with two down to score a run. Randy Rosario took over and walked in another run before Allen Webster finally ended the inning.
Tim Collins allowed an 8th inning double to Justin Bour, who would score on a Peter Bourjos sacrifice fly that turned out to be a crucial run for the road team. In the bottom half of the inning, pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis singled with the bases loaded to bring the score to 6-4.
Closer Cody Allen got the final out that inning, but ran into trouble in the 9th. Rizzo walked with one out and moved to third when Baez blooped a hit to center. Javy aggressively went for second and barely beat the throw for double number three.
Jason Heyward hit a pop-up toward the third base bleachers that drifted fair and was dropped by outfielder Brian Goodwin. The error allowed Rizzo to score and moved Báez to third, leaving men on second and third with one out. Allen proceeded to strike out the next two batters and preserve the 6-5 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The bullpen gave up one too many runs for the offense to overcome. A total of eight walks were killers yet again for the ‘pen and failure to execute with the tying run at third and less than two outs was also huge.
Willson Contreras came to bat with one out in the 9th needing to make contact to possibly score the runner from third and tie the game, but Allen got him to chase three curveballs for a strikeout. Then the struggling Schwarber worked a full count with two down before being called out on a highly questionable check swing.
Stats That Matter
- Schwarber struck out twice Saturday and his frustration showed when he erupted at the end of the game. He is chasing breaking pitches in the dirt at an alarming rate.
- Báez continued his daring baserunning with his three doubles, two of which were definitely of the hustle variety.
- Hendricks was fine other than the 2nd inning: 5 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, and 2 K.
This was a frustrating loss for the Cubs, who had a great chance to win at the end. The walks from the relief corps really hurt in the middle innings. While the failure to make contact late was the deciding factor.
Weather permitting, the rubber match of the series will be Sunday at 1:20pm CT as Tyler Chatwood gets the fill-in start against former Cub Trevor Cahill. WGN has the television feed and 670 The Score has the radio coverage.