The Cubs were back in action Tuesday night in Houston trying to snap a three-game losing streak. In a familiar pattern of late, Chicago once again failed to get a quality start and the Astros won easily.
Mauricio Dubon began the bottom of the 1st inning with a bloop double off of Cubs starter Justin Steele. Dubon would eventually score on a wild pitch that Tucker Barnhart failed to block. The only good news for the road team on Tuesday was when Matt Mervis mashed his first career home run, a line drive rocket off the right field foul pole that tied the score in the 2nd.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 17, 2023
The Astros seized control of the game in the bottom of the 4th with a four-run inning. Houston hit four doubles in the frame, including RBI shots by Yordan Álvarez and Kyle Tucker. Chicago never really threatened a comeback after that.
Nick Burdi made his Cubs debut in the 7th and gave up a pair of runs to increase the deficit to 7-1. Seiya Suzuki cracked a two-run homer in the top of the 9th to make the score a bit more respectable and the North Siders went down to a 7-3 defeat. (Box score)
Steele opened up the 4th with a hit by pitch and the wheels fell off from there. It was really his only bad inning on Tuesday, but it buried the Cubs.
Why the Cubs Lost
Their undermanned lineup had no chance against Cristian Javier, and a mediocre start from Steele gave them very little opportunity to win.
Stats That Matter
- This is the first time Steele has struggled at all in 2023: 6 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 8 K, and 1 BB.
- Mervis also had a single and flew out to the warning track as he appears to get more comfortable in the majors.
- Suzuki was the other Cub with two hits and he is starting to find his power.
The Cubs’ lineup featured four players who probably should not be MLB hitters. That puts a lot of pressure on the starting staff and they have been buckling a bit lately. The good news is if Cody Bellinger returns quickly and Nico Hoerner comes off the injured list, the offense should improve at least back to its early season form. If it doesn’t, things could get pretty ugly pretty quick.