The Cubs absolutely gave away a game to a putrid Royals team on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Chicago’s sloppy, mistake filled-effort resulted in a painful one-run loss that could come back to haunt them in September.
Kansas City went ahead on Jameson Taillon in the top of the 3rd inning when Drew Waters singled, stole second base, and came home on a base hit by Kyle Isbel. An infield single with a throwing error by Jeimer Candelario set up a Salvador Pérez sacrifice fly in the 4th and the road team led 2-0.
The Cubs finally rallied against hard-throwing lefty Cole Ragans in the bottom of the frame. Yan Gomes doubled and Seiya Suzuki singled to put runners on the corners for Candelario, who knocked one up the middle for an RBI hit. After a Patrick Wisdom single loaded the bases, Christopher Morel tied the game on a run-scoring groundout to third.
Chicago took the lead when Nico Hoerner singled to center and it looked like Ragans was on the ropes. Unfortunately, Hoerner got picked off first base and the inning ended with Morel tagged out in the ensuing rundown.
Wisdom made an error on a ground ball at first base in the top of the 6th inning, allowing former Cub Matt Duffy to reach. The mishap proved to be incredibly costly as Bobby Witt Jr. followed and jumped on a hanging slider from Taillon for the eventual game-winning two-run homer to center.
The North Siders were not able to score on Kansas City’s dreadful bullpen and they remained behind 4-3 into the final frame. A potential 9th inning comeback fizzled when Hoerner got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and the Cubs went down to defeat. (Box score)
The Wisdom error put Witt, the Royals’ best player, in a position to put his team in front. Once again, Chicago allowed a bad opponent’s only good hitter to beat them. It’s not a great trend.
Why the Cubs Lost
A pair of unearned runs were the margin of victory for Kansas City on Friday and failure to do damage on a very questionable relief corps also really hurt.
Stats That Matter
- Taillon did not get help from his defense but he also gave up a fair amount of hard contact: 6 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 K, and 0 BB.
- Hoerner had three hits but ran into two outs on the bases, although it took an absolutely perfect throw to get him in the 9th.
- Gomes had a hard-hit single to go along with his double.
The Cubs have begun their stretch of games against bad teams by losing two of three. Friday was a flat performance where they failed to execute numerous times. This is a golden opportunity to gain ground with playoff rivals facing much stiffer competition this weekend and they may end up kicking themselves later on if they don’t start handling business right now.