The Cubs’ slide continued Tuesday with another lackluster effort at a rainy PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Pirates jumped ahead early and Chicago never really threatened the lead as they looked waterlogged even before the wet conditions dampened them further.
Kyle Hendricks came off the injured list to make the start for the Cubs and Adam Frazier picked up where he left off Monday by singling to open the game. Starling Marte singled to move Frazier to third, where he would score on a Josh Bell sacrifice fly to right.
Marte doubled Frazier home in the 3rd inning to increase the lead to 2-0. Joe Musgrove dominated the road team in three scoreless before a torrential downpour delayed the game for over two hours.
Play resumed with Dillon Maples replacing Hendricks in the 4th inning. A walk and single to pinch-hitting pitcher Steven Brault put two men on with two outs. Joe Maddon pulled Maples to have Mike Montgomery face the white-hot Frazier. That move was a mistake, as is any decision to have Monty face a lefty batter, and the Bucs second baseman ripped a three-run homer to right.
Montgomery actually went the next three innings without allowing a run, but the damage was already done. The Pirates bullpen gave up just one run in six innings to earn the 5-1 victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The offense wasn’t much of a factor on Tuesday, with the only run came from a Willson Contreras double in the 9th. That lack of run support is going to doom most pitchers.
The three-run homer after the rain delay buried the Cubs’ anemic offense in a hole they would never climb out of. The decision to use Montgomery, who has been crushed by left-handed hitters, was a real head-scratcher.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks seemed to have his usual velocity and stuff Tuesday, so that’s one silver lining.
- Frazier is the first player to have back-to-back games of at least four hits against Chicago since Carlos Gonzalez — yes, that CarGo — in 2010.
The Cubs look absolutely lifeless right now. I wish I could tell you what the cause is, I just don’t know. They have to fix it and quick before this season completely falls apart.