The Cubs fell into an early hole against the Tigers on Tuesday night thanks to another rough starting pitching performance by Drew Smyly. Chicago’s lineup battled back and made it a game, but Detroit was able to hold off the rally and take the victory.
Smyly struggled right out of the gate in the opening frame, allowing a solo home run to Andy Ibáñez and an RBI single to Kerry Carpenter. The Tigers made it a 3-0 game with a Zach McKinstry sacrifice fly in the 2nd.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 22, 2023
David Ross decided to roll the dice and put Smyly back out for the bottom of the inning and it immediately backfired. The Tigers got two men on base and a throwing error by Candelario on an infield hit allowed the tying run to score.
Ibáñez then cracked his second homer of the game, a go-ahead three-run shot, to mercifully end Smyly’s outing. Swanson and Chicago answered back in the top of the 5th with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 7-6. The North Siders got outstanding performances from Hayden Wesneski and Daniel Palencia to keep Detroit off the scoreboard.
Wasted opportunities kept the Tigers ahead, then two walks and two hit batters from José Cuas forced in a run in the bottom of the 8th. The Cubs got the tying run to the plate in the final inning but nothing came of it and they lost 8-6. (Box score)
Candelario doubled down the third base line with a man on first and two outs in the top of the 8th, but the ball hit off the sidewall to left fielder Matt Vierling and forced Seiya Suzuki to stop at third. The slumping Christopher Morel grounded out to end the threat.
Why the Cubs Lost
Six runs should be enough to win a lot of baseball games and had been the first eight times the Cubs did so this month. Unfortunately, their starting pitcher did not give them a real chance. They did a nice job making it competitive but the deficit was just too much.
Stats That Matter
- Smyly’s ERA the last two months is in double digits and he just can’t be allowed to start again: 3.2 IP, 7 R, 8 H, 4 K, and 3 BB.
- Swanson hit the ball hard all four times up to bat.
- Candelario had been in a bit of a slump so it was nice to see him with a couple extra-base hits.
It’s understandable that the Cubs have limited options with the injury to Marcus Stroman, but they have to move on from Smyly. A trip to the postseason is on the line and you can’t give away games with a totally ineffective starting pitcher. Wesneski or a starter from Triple-A would provide a better option who can at least get the benefit of learning for the future. Just as with Tucker Barnhart and Trey Mancini, the front office can’t be worried about stepping on a veteran’s toes if they aren’t doing the job.