The Cubs’ lifeless play continued Thursday as they went down to a fourth consecutive defeat and a sweep at the hands of the Phillies. Chicago wasted a quality start and made a pair of inexplicable decisions to bunt, which killed potential rallies.
Kyle Schwarber greeted former teammate Kyle Hendricks rudely with a solo home run on the first pitch of the game. Jared Young got his second big hit in as many days with an RBI triple against Taijuan Walker in the bottom of the 2nd inning to tie the score.
That deadlock would be very short-lived as a pair of singles put runners on second and third with two outs for Bryce Harper. The former MVP hit a ground ball that got just past a diving Dansby Swanson for what would be the game-winning two-run base hit.
The Cubs had great scoring opportunities in the 4th and 5th innings, but they were squandered by some very questionable decision making and the score remained 3-1. Hendricks settled in nicely and gave up nothing in his final four frames Thursday night.
Chicago only got a single runner on base against Philadelphia’s bullpen and the road team was able to secure the victory with very little drama. (Box score)
Nick Madrigal‘s decision to bunt with runners on the corners and two outs in the 4th didn’t make very much sense, but Christopher Morel made an even more confusing bunt decision in the following frame. Morel, perhaps the Cubs’ best power hitter, sacrificed with men at first and third and nobody out. A lineout and a strikeout ended the threat with no runs scoring.
Why the Cubs Lost
They went 1-for-10 with RISP and failed to give their starter any support in a game that was very winnable.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks continues to pitch well and certainly did not deserve a loss Thursday: 7 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 0 BB.
- Morel had a single and a double in the game, making his decision to bunt even more of a mystery.
- Nico Hoerner picked up a single and a double in four at-bats.
- The Phillies dropped two relatively easy fly balls, but the Cubs could not make them pay for the errors.
Chicago has looked completely discombobulated after returning from London, playing very sloppily and making mental mistakes they weren’t during their hot stretch. All the good work they did to claw their way back into the race is quickly being undone. Something will have to change this weekend or the Cubs could be back to being sellers by the middle of July.
The Cleveland Guardians head to Wrigley Field for a three-game series starting Friday at 1:20pm CT. Justin Steele battles Cal Quantrill in a contest aired on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.