The Cubs welcomed their old friend Willson Contreras and the St. Louis Cardinals to Wrigley on Monday night. Chicago’s former catcher played a huge role on offense and the road team was able to win the first game of the series.
The Cardinals struck first against Marcus Stroman in the top of the 2nd inning. Contreras opened the rally with a single in his first at-bat against his former squad and Dylan Carlson knocked him in with an opposite-field hit to left.
The Cubs tied the score against Miles Mikolas in the 5th but it may have cost them dearly. Dansby Swanson ripped a double down the left field line to score Patrick Wisdom and advance Nico Hoerner to third. However, Hoerner ran into the base gingerly and was forced to leave the game with hamstring tightness.
The Contreras show continued in the top of the 6th when he hit a go-ahead double to center. Finally, Contreras knocked in the third run with an RBI groundout against Michael Fulmer in the 8th.
Chicago’s hitters were completely shut down in the late innings and the Cardinals took home a rather stress-free victory. (Box score)
Cody Bellinger hit a fly ball to relatively shallow left field with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 5th. Nick Madrigal, pinch running for the injured Hoerner, tagged and attempted to score the go-ahead tally but was out by 10 feet on Brendan Donovan‘s throw home and the Cubs never really threatened again.
Why the Cubs Lost
They had just one hit the last four innings of the game on Monday night. It’s just very hard to win any game when you score a single run.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman once again deserved a better fate and really could use some run support one of these games: 6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 6 K, and 1 BB.
- Swanson also drew a walk and made several outstanding plays at shortstop.
- Wisdom singled and walked twice on Monday.
Cubs fans know very well a motivated Willson Contreras is a dangerous Willson Contreras, and he made them pay Monday night. If Hoerner is out for a significant period of time it will be a big problem for a lineup that is already scuffling right now. If he does miss time, the newly recalled Christopher Morel should get the lion’s share of the playing time at second base and maybe the leadoff spot as well.