It was another cold and breezy night at Wrigley, but there was much warmth for Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish from the hometown fans. Arrieta got a wonderful ovation before he made his first plate appearance, and the crowd often yelled “YUUUUUUU” for their starting pitcher. Darvish followed up his masterful performance last week against the Reds with a great outing tonight. The box score doesn’t do his outing any justice, because he had the Phillies bats off balance throughout his start. The Cubs’ bats were quiet tonight, and struggled with runners in scoring position. The bullpen proved to be the weak link, as it faltered late (box score).
Why the Cubs Lost
The bullpen could not keep the Phillies from scoring in the ninth or tenth innings. In the ninth, Brad Brach allowed a Jean Segura blooper that was just out of Anthony Rizzo’s reach to drive in the tying run. In the tenth, Kyle Ryan allowed JT Realmuto to hit one into the left field bleachers, which broke the tie and sent the fans home in despair. Ok that might be hyperbole, but I doubt they were in good spirits when they left the ballpark.
Baseball is sometimes a game of inches. That certainly was the case tonight. In the bottom of the eighth with runners on second and third, Daniel “daddy” Descalso crushed a Seranthony Dominguez fastball into the left center gap that split both Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera by mere inches. The throw came into third, and while Descalso was sliding the ball bounced and hit his foot, ricocheting into the stands. It’s unfortunate that the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, because it certainly felt like this would seal it for the Cubs.
Stats that Matter
- The Cubs left nine men on base.
- Darvish had 15 first-pitch strikes tonight.
- The Cubs bullpen pitched four innings, allowing five hits and two runs while walking one and striking out three. None of the relievers had a clean outing.
- Jason Heyward, who has been in a slump, reached base three times in five plate appearances. He scored a run, hit two singles, and walked once.
The Cubs had a plethora of chances to blow this game open early against Jake Arrieta, but, like in Sunday’s contest, they could not make him pay. This was just one of those games where the results did not align with the process for the bats. The Cubs now have a one game lead in the NL Central.
Tomorrow, Jose Quintana takes the hill for the Cubs while Zach Eflin gets the starting nod for the Phillies. The game will begin promptly at 6:05 CT, and be broadcast on WGN with Len and JD on the call, and ESPN, with some crew you probably don’t want to hear. Just kidding, I imagine Jon Sciambi will be on the call, who I quite enjoy if I don’t have the capability of listening to Len and JD.