On a rain-soaked night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, the Pirates jumped all over Zach Davies for seven runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning and never looked back, dropping the Cubs 8-2.
Davies, who had been formidable in his first start for the Cubs, had his worst inning as a big-leaguer and gave up a barrage of hard-hit balls that put the game away early. Light-hitting Jacob Stallings again bit the Cubs with a two-RBI bullet to left-center, Adam Frazier laced an RBI double, Bryan Reynolds roped a big two-run double, and Colin Moran finished off the frame with a two-RBI knock as well.
The Cubs started the game against Bucs starter Mitch Keller favorably, plating a run in the 1st inning as Ian Happ walked and Kris Bryant knocked him in with a double. There was little action beyond that until the Cubs scored their only other run in the top of the 8th, when Joc Pederson was able to plate Willson Contreras with a knock to left field. That was all she wrote for the Cubs offense on the night as Keller and three Pirates relievers silenced the Cubs’ bats. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Davies let things get away in the 2nd inning and the Cubs struggled to put runs on the board yet again.
While I could just include the entire bottom half of the 2nd inning as the decisive moment, Reynolds’ ground-rule double in that frame pretty much put things out of reach at 5-1 Pirates.
Stats That Matter
- After Davies gave up seven in just 1.2 IP, the Cubs bullpen combined to go 6.1 IP, giving up just four hits and one run while striking out nine. If you’re looking for a silver lining…
- Javy Báez went 2-for-4 and nearly lined one out of the park down the right field line, but also had a really bad chase strikeout.
- Former Cub Duane Underwood Jr. has owned his former teammates so far this spring and he threw two more innings tonight. He now has 4.1 IP with seven strikeouts while only giving up one hit.
When your starting pitcher gives up a career-high seven runs in one inning, it’s going to be an uphill climb. That being said, the offense is struggling to hit the ball with authority. There were only two extra base hits in this one and no home runs. If the Cubs are going to win, they’ll need the offense to show up and show up more consistently.
The Cubs and Bucs finish their three game set Sunday afternoon at PNC Park as Trevor Williams takes on his former club. JT Brubaker will get the start for the Pirates in the rubber match. Game time is 12:05pm CT and can be seen on Marquee and MLB Network. If you’d rather hear it or can’t get in front of a screen, you can listen to Pat and Ron on 670 The Score.