After a one day reprieve, the Cubs went back to their recent losing ways against the Pirates Wednesday night. Justin Steele probably saw his Cy Young candidacy go up in smoke as he imploded in a devastating 4th inning that saw Pittsburgh score seven runs. Chicago made a push to close the gap, but the bullpen gave it right back and they lost by six.
The Cubs briefly took the lead on Mitch Keller in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Cody Bellinger doubled and came home on a Seiya Suzuki single. Steele completely lost it to open the 4th, giving up six consecutive singles before being pulled trailing 4-1. The frequently used José Cuas came on in relief and surrendered a three-run shot to Joshua Palacios to make it 7-1.
Chicago staged a rally against Keller down 8-1 in the bottom of the 5th inning. Christopher Morel hit a long solo shot to open the inning and then Ian Happ had the big blow with a grand slam to cut the deficit to 8-6.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 21, 2023
That was as close as the North Siders would get, as Mark Leiter Jr. gave up three in the top of the 6th to put the game out of reach. Eventually the Pirates would finish off the 13-7 romp and even the series. (Box score)
Giving runs right back after they scored five in the 5th inning really derailed the Cubs’ chances to make a comeback Wednesday.
Why the Cubs Lost
The pitching got completely blown up and they lost for the first time all season when they scored seven runs.
Stats That Matter
- Steele is way past his career-high in innings and it is starting to look like he is gassed. He has allowed 12 runs the last two starts.
- Miles Mastrobuoni actually had a very good game with a single and two doubles.
This was another disappointing effort by the Cubs in a very important game. Losses by the Marlins and Reds allowed them to keep their spot in the postseason for another day but it’s not going to matter if they don’t start winning consistently. They need to figure it out soon because time is running out.