September 15 is the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States and it was also Roberto Clemente Day in Major League Baseball, a tribute to one of MLB’s legendary Latino players. As MLB limited the number of individuals eligible to wear Clemente’s #21 on his day, some players chose to honor The Great One by wearing yellow and black batting gloves.
The Cubs’ Clemente Award nominee, Jason Heyward, was left out of the starting lineup as tough lefty pitcher Ranger Suárez started for the Phillies Wednesday night. Suárez entered Wednesday’s action with an ERA of 1.38 and only three home runs allowed, a total that increased when Frank Schwindel hammered a sinker to the right field seats for a home run in the 5th inning
That two-run shot brought the Cubs to within one after Alec Mills gave up three in the 4th inning. The home team tacked on another run in the 5th to answer the Schwindel homer, but the Cubs tied the game in the 8th with a Robinson Chirinos two-run shot.
J.T. Realmuto then homered on the first pitch he saw from Codi Heuer in the bottom of the inning to take back the lead. Matt Duffy then homered on the first pitch of the 9th inning to knot things up yet again, but Chirinos and Trevor Megill got crossed up a curveball that allowed a runner to score from third to walk it off for the Phils. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs’ relief pitching and defense failed to hold fast against the Philly offense in the late innings. Andrew Knapp singled to lead off the bottom of the 9th, advanced two bases on a bunt and groundout, and scored the winning run on a passed ball.
Duffy’s fourth homer of the season was a big one, tying the game and giving the Cubs life. But 10 pitches later, the inning was over and the home team was able to pull ahead. Jean Segura stepped in with the winning run 90 feet from home but did not need to take the bat off his shoulder as Megill’s 2-0 curveball hit off Chirinos’s glove and allowed Knapp to score the winning run.
Stats that Matter
- The Cubs never had a lead in this game.
- All of the Northsiders’ runs came via longball.
- Three of Duffy’s four home runs in 2021 have come over the last seven games.
- Schwindel has a 1.026 OPS over 48 games.
- Megill’s ERA is now 9.33 over 18.1 IP
This was an especially disappointing loss after the Cubs rallied twice to tie the game.
The series finale will be at 5:05pm CT on Thursday night as Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.54 ERA) takes the ball against a TBD Phillies pitcher. Listen on 670 The Score or watch on Marquee Sports Network.