The Cubs put up another flat performance on Friday night, losing their third consecutive game. The Diamondbacks used a pair of three-run home runs and an unexpected quality starting pitching performance to take home the win.
Justin Steele made the first of his two big mistakes in the bottom of the 1st inning after a single and a walk put two on with two outs. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. jumped on a first-pitch slider that caught too much of the plate and crushed it for a three-run bomb to left.
Brandon Pfaadt, who the Cubs beat up on at Wrigley Field last week, was untouchable Friday as he kept the Cubs from putting a runner on second base for over five innings. Steele breezed through the next four frames before ending his day the same way he had started it.
Once again, a walk and a single put two on base with two outs for Alek Thomas. The lefty outfielder connected on another three-run jack to right field and Arizona was up 6-0.
Chicago didn’t do anything until a home run-heavy tease rally in the top of the 9th. Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, and Christopher Morel all went deep to cut the deficit to 6-4 but it was too little, too late and the Cubs lost again. (Box score)
Guirrel’s homer immediately put the Cubs on their back foot after the rough series in Colorado. They weren’t able to shake it off until the final inning when it was too late.
Why the Cubs Lost
They failed to do damage against a mediocre pitcher, something that is becoming a bad habit of late. Arizona was also able to tack on insurance runs which ended up being the margin of victory.
Stats That Matter
- Steele has done an excellent job limiting home runs in 2023 but that wasn’t the case Friday: 6 IP, 6 R, 7 H, 5 K, and 2 BB.
- Morel was the only Cub hitter to reach base twice.
- Marcus Stroman pitched the final two innings of the game in his return from the IL.
The Cubs are in a dangerous spot right now, losing three consecutive games while their competitors in the playoff chase have been winning. With a 2-6 record over their last eight games, they can’t afford to extend the skid much longer. The next two games are huge and the pressure is really on, so it’s time to see what the North Siders are really made of with the biggest moment of the season here.