After dropping the opening game of the series Monday, the Cubs were hoping to bounce back against the Cardinals Tuesday on a beautiful evening at Wrigley Field. Chicago again struggled to get a hit with runners in scoring position and lost another close game late.
St. Louis took the lead in the top of the 1st inning when Nolan Gorman hit a solo home run to left off of Jameson Taillon. The Cubs got that run right back against Jack Flaherty in the bottom of the frame when Dansby Swanson doubled home Nick Madrigal.
Taillon ran into big trouble in the top of the 3rd, beginning with a solo dinger from Lars Nootbaar. Two singles and a walk then loaded the bases and a second walk forced in a run. Julian Merryweather relieved Taillon and forced in another score with a free pass before finally getting the third out.
The Cubs cut the deficit down to just one in the bottom of the inning when Swanson hit a two-run homer into the right field basket. Following a recent pattern, the home team squandered numerous chances with men on base, including three different bases-loaded situations.
Christopher Morel made an immediate and loud impact in his first game back in Chicago, crushing a long game-tying home run to center field in the 6th. The crowd went crazy as he celebrated around the bases.
MOREL BOOST! pic.twitter.com/NkZJ9NGT7M
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 10, 2023
Javier Assad came on in the 4th inning and was outstanding, keeping the Cardinals off the board through the 8th. The Cubs sent him back out to try and finish the 9th but it was not to be, as Paul DeJong blasted the game-winning homer to left. St. Louis added one more tally and won 6-4. (Box score)
It really felt like a mistake pushing Assad into the final inning. He had already thrown five frames and was giving up some hard contact in the 8th. The bullpen’s load had already been lightened by then, so it would’ve been fine to give a fresh arm a chance to set up a walk-off.
Why the Cubs Lost
They were 1-for-7 with RISP and hit into three double plays on Tuesday night. The inability to get those men home has been a huge problem over the last two weeks.
Stats That Matter
- Swanson had a huge game with two doubles and the home run.
- It was really unfortunate how the night ended for Assad: 5.1 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 K, and 1 BB.
- Madrigal reached base three times on Tuesday and had his best offensive night in a while.
- Morel also had a single and made several nifty plays at second base. It’s very nice to have him back.
The Cubs continue to be very frustrating at the plate recently. The good news is that they have brought up the young hitters that have been dominating Triple-A. Rookies are going to have growing pains and the results may not be immediate, but at least it will be more fun to watch than the Eric Hosmers of the world. It’s a lot less fun to allow the Cardinals to get back up off the mat.
Chicago tries to avoid a sweep Wednesday at 6:40pm CT. It’s a battle of southpaws between Jordan Montgomery and Justin Steele with coverage on MLB Network (out-of-market only) and Marquee, with the radio broadcast on 670 The Score.