Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/31/23): Reds 6, Cubs 5 – Stroman Shelled, Comeback Falls Short

The Cubs made a comeback attempt after falling behind early to the first-place Reds on Monday night but fell just short. The big deficit was due to the continued struggles of Marcus Stroman that are starting to become a problem for Chicago as they try to fight back in the playoff race.

Cincinnati struck first against Stroman in the top of the 2nd with back-to-back doubles from outfielder Will Benson and catcher Luke Maile to build a 3-0 lead. Dansby Swanson hit a solo home run off of Andrew Abbott to cut the deficit to two in the bottom of the frame.

RBI singles from Jake Fraley and Joey Votto were part of another three-run Reds rally in the top of the 3rd. That was Stroman’s final inning and the Cubs bullpen was absolutely lights-out the rest of the night, keeping the road team from adding to the lead.

Chicago immediately answered those three tallies with three of their own in the next half-inning. Sacrifice flies from Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ were followed by a single from Yan Gomes to account for the offense.

Both relief units were on their game Monday night and the score remained 6-4 into the 8th inning. In the bottom of that frame, Christopher Morel hit an RBI double against Ian Gibault to make it a 6-5 game.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Morel was stranded at second and outstanding Cincinnati closer Alexis Díaz was able to save the one-run victory in the 9th. (Box score)

Key Moment

The Cubs had two men on base with nobody out in the bottom of the 7th inning. Reds pitcher Lucas Sims struck out Suzuki and Happ, then got a weak line drive from Cody Bellinger to escape unscathed.

Why the Cubs Lost

A bad starting pitching effort put them way behind and they just could not get the big hit against the Reds’ sometimes shaky bullpen to overcome the deficit.

Stats That Matter

  • Stroman has allowed 30 runs in his last 30 innings, not great: 3 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 2 K, and 2 BB.
  • Gomes is absolutely raking right now and had three more hits on Monday.
  • Nico Hoerner had a pair of doubles and is starting to drive the ball.
  • Outstanding work by Javier Assad to save the bullpen after a short start: 3.2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 K, and 3 BB.

Bottom Line

If the Cubs want to make a run, they are going to need Stroman to pitch well and that is not happening at the moment. You’d like to hope it’s just a slump and he will snap out of it soon, but it’s been over a month now. The addition of Jeimer Candelario to the lineup means it’s probably time to move Suzuki and Happ down in the order. They just are not producing enough to merit getting the most at-bats right now.

On Deck

Chicago looks to get back in the win column Tuesday night at 7:05pm CT. Justin Steele goes up against Ben Lively in a broadcast available on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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