The suddenly reeling Cubs attempted to right the ship in Washington Thursday afternoon. Chicago fought back from an early deficit before once again coming up short with runners in scoring position in a key spot and losing another one-run decision.
Jameson Taillon returned from injury and was greeted rather rudely by the Nationals as Lane Thomas launched a three-run homer to left in the 2nd to put the home team up 3-0. Patrick Corbin was on his game Thursday, holding the Cubs to just one hit through seven innings.
Chicago was finally able to rally in the top of the 8th inning after back-to-back singles knocked Corbin out of the game. Trey Mancini doubled to score a run and young Miguel Amaya got a sacrifice fly in his first career game. Nico Hoerner slashed a two-out single to right field that tied the score at three.
The North Siders had runners on second and third with none out in the top of the 9th inning but failed to score a run. That proved immediately devastating when Brad Boxberger gave up a walk-off home run to Alex Call in the bottom of the frame. (Box score)
Ian Happ walked and Seiya Suzuki doubled to left field to put runners on second and third with nobody out in the 9th. Nationals reliever Kyle Finnegan then proceeded to strike out Cody Bellinger and Patrick Wisdom before getting Mancini to fly out to end the threat.
Why the Cubs Lost
The offense could do nothing in the first seven innings and then did not come through in the final inning.
Stats That Matter
- Taillon was fine other than one bad three-batter stretch in a short return start: 3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 4 K, and 0 BB.
- Javier Assad did an outstanding job of keeping the Cubs in the game Thursday: 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 K, and 0 BB.
- Bellinger was the only Cub with two hits, although one of them was a pop-up misplayed by shortstop CJ Abrams.
This was a complete disaster of a road trip for Chicago. Five of the six losses were by a single run, only adding to the frustration. The offense really needs a shake-up, and one is finally on the way. Word leaked out during the game Thursday that Matt Mervis, who had been mashing at Triple-A, is getting the call to the majors on Friday. It’s unclear how much of an impact Mervis will have on the lineup early on, but it certainly inject excitement into the currently flagging roster.
The Mervis era begins Friday at Wrigley against the Marlins at 1:20pm CT. Justin Steele faces Edward Cabrera in a game televised on MLB Network (out-of-market only) and Marquee with the radio broadcast on 670 The Score.