The Cubs had chances in the 8th and 9th inning to turn today’s game into a win, but ultimately dropped the final game of the series with the Cardinals by a score of 4-3.
Jon Lester wasn’t awful today with only really one bad inning (the 1st). He settled in for 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits (2 HRs) and 3 walks with 7 Ks. He gave up 3 runs in the first on 3 hits, but then only gave up 1 runs on 3 hits over his last 5 innings. He also had another pickoff at 1st; he was good enough to get a win or at least a no-decision, but the bats couldn’t come through at the end. He falls to 10-11 on the year with a 3.46 ERA.
Anthony Rizzo cut the Cardinals’ lead in half with a 2-run single in the 3rd inning. He later drew a walk while raising his AVG to .282 and tying Kris Bryant for the team lead in RBI with 95.
Tommy La Stella got the start at 2nd base and had a single and drew a walk with the bases loaded in the 8th to earn an RBI. He now has an RBI in 5 of his last 6 games (including 4 straight). He has proven to give good ABs, and though he did have a throwing error in the 9th on a grounder to him at 3rd, he has been passable for the most part with his glove.
Tommy Hunter, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon each threw a clean inning of relief. It was the 2nd straight appearance for Ramirez, who was nasty today with 2 Ks in his inning of work. If he can prove to be healthy and effective going into the end of the year, that would be a huge boost to the pen.
The Cubs pressed a couple buttons in the 8th and 9th inning in an effort to tie the game up and they failed both times. The first time was in the 8th when the bases were loaded and no one was out. Addison Russell lifted a fly ball to Jason Heyward in medium-depth RF and Rizzo tried to score from 3rd and was out easily. In my opinion it wasn’t really worth the risk, though Miguel Montero K’d as the next batter when the Cards brought in Trevor Rosenthal for the 4-out save.
Starlin Castro had a great AB to lead off the bottom of the 9th, getting to a full count before he singled up the middle. He was pinch run for by Quintin Berry, who tried to steal and was thrown out for the first time in the big leagues. It was against Tony Cruz, who had come in the game to replace an injured Yadier Molina (sprained his thumb on tag play at home on Rizzo it the 8th).
It was a high risk/high reward situation and didn’t work out as Jorge Soler struck out on the next pitch to give the Cards 2 quick outs in the inning. If Berry could have made it safely then you are looking at a man in scoring position and no outs, so I see why the risk was taken. It just didn’t work out for the Cubs.
The Cubs will welcome the Brewers for 3 games starting tomorrow night at 7:05 PM (CST) on CSN. Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.73) gets the call against Wily Peralta (5-9, 4.41) for the Brew Crew. Hopefully Hammel can get back on track to finish the season as he has really struggled in the 2nd half this year (5.43 ERA, 4.86 FIP in 53 innings).