The Cubs game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field Wednesday night could not have gotten off to a worse start. Their starting pitcher was knocked out early and they were down five runs in the 5th inning. It was at that point the road team made a furious comeback and was able to go ahead for good in a single frame.
Marcus Stroman continued his recent struggles Wednesday, surrendering a two-run single to Eloy Jiménez in the bottom of the 1st. The Cubs responded immediately against starter Lance Lynn in the 2nd with RBI singles from Tucker Barnhart and Nico Hoerner to tie the score.
A mental mistake by Cody Bellinger on a rundown play in the bottom of the frame let Andrew Benintendi reach second base and come home on a Tim Anderson single to put the White Sox ahead. Stroman completely unraveled in the bottom of the 4th, giving up four runs on a rally that started with a Jake Burger solo home run.
Luis Robert Jr. brought home a run on an infield hit and then Jiménez doubled home two more to end Stroman’s night. Javier Assad came on and got the final two outs to keep it a 7-2 score. That turned out to be very important because the South Siders completely melted down the following inning.
An infield single and a hit by pitch put two on for Ian Happ, who singled in a run. The bases were loaded with two outs when Christopher Morel ripped a hit to left that scored two runs thanks to a fielding error by Benintendi. Former Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly took over for Lynn and struck out Miles Mastrobuoni. Unfortunately for the Sox, strike three got away from catcher Seby Zavala and Mastrobuoni reached first safely with a run crossing the plate.
Kelly completely lost his control at that point, hitting a batter and then walking Hoerner and Mike Tauchman to force in the tying and go-ahead tallies. David Ross got yeoman’s work from his bullpen to keep the 8-7 lead safe into the 8th inning.
Happ and Bellinger provided crucial insurance in the aforementioned 8th, hitting back-to-back solo home runs off of Keynan Middleton to increase the North Siders’ edge to 10-7. Adbert Alzolay retired the heart of the Sox order 1-2-3 to lock down the huge Cubs victory. (Box score)
Happ & Belli go back-to-back! 😄💣 pic.twitter.com/WExV4EHF6a
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 27, 2023
The dropped third strike was the turning point in the game, as it would have ended the 5th inning with the Cubs still down two runs. Instead, they went on to score three more and take a lead they would never relinquish.
Why the Cubs Won
They were patient and allowed the lousy White Sox to implode while getting a terrific performance from the relief corps.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman has done a lot of damage to his trade value in his last six starts: 3.1 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 4 K, and 2 BB.
- Hoerner reached base four more times on Wednesday and is suddenly an on-base machine.
- Happ was on three times and it was very nice to see some power from his bat.
- Assad, Julian Merryweather, Mark Leiter Jr., and Alzolay allowed a single hit combined in 5.2 innings pitched with four strikeouts.
Losing Wednesday’s game would have been a big blow to the Cubs with the trade deadline so near. Instead, they fought back for a huge victory and they are back to within just a single game of .500. It really feels like a couple of additions to the roster could really get this thing rolling. If they keep winning this weekend they deserve a chance to make a push.
The Cubs begin a four-game series in sweltering St. Louis against the Cardinals Thursday at 6:45pm CT. Justin Steele goes up against Miles Mikolas in a game available on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.