The Cubs got off to another great start on Sunday afternoon in London against the Cardinals, taking an early 4-0 lead. Then a critical defensive mistake opened the floodgates and St. Louis stormed back to win and split the series.
Chicago jumped on Cards starter Matthew Liberatore in the top of the 1st inning after a pair errors moved Nico Hoerner to third base with two outs. Dansby Swanson singled him home and, after a walk to Ian Happ, Trey Mancini doubled to the gap in left to score both runners. Miguel Amaya completed the four-run frame with a double past third.
Marcus Stroman was not very sharp and loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, but appeared to escape by coaxing a ground ball to second off the bat of Tommy Edman. Hoerner fielded the ball and threw to Mancini, who had broken the wrong direction toward second. The first baseman got discombobulated and fruitlessly tried to barehand the throw, allowing a run to score.
Brendan Donovan ripped the next pitch for a two-run single and the Cubs’ advantage was down to one. Jordan Walker brought in the tying tally with an RBI hit in the 3rd inning. Paul Goldschmidt put St. Louis ahead with a single in the 4th and Stroman was forced to come out with a blister on his middle finger.
Cardinals would add two more runs and the Cubs could not generate any offense against a very shaky opposing bullpen. The North Siders scored a single run in the 9th inning but it was too little, too late and their four-game winning streak was snapped. (Box score)
Mancini’s defense is becoming a major liability for the Cubs, and this time it cost them immediately. He owned his mistakes, including a missed dig on a throw from Swanson, but it’s become pretty clear he’s best suited to DH duty at this point.
Why the Cubs Lost
The sloppy play in the field definitely hurt and another huge problem was the inability to do damage against a dreadful St. Louis bullpen across six innings.
Stats That Matter
- Tough day for Stroman and hopefully the blister isn’t a long-term issue: 3.1 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 K, and 1 BB.
- Happ had a pair of walks and is seeing the ball very well.
- Christopher Morel also got on twice and had several good plate appearances.
David Ross may not be able to play Mancini at first base because he is starting to cost the Cubs games. It is disappointing to lose after getting such a positive start to a contest, and these are the sort of results that can come back to haunt you in a playoff race.
The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for three games with the Philadelphia Phillies starting Tuesday at 7:05pm CT. Chicago has yet to name a starter and Ranger Suárez gets the nod for Philadelphia. Television coverage is on Marquee and a radio feed is available on 670 The Score.