Schwarber stays hot but Cubs fall in late innings
It wasn’t the second half debut the Chicago Cubs were hoping for. Kyle Schwarber did what was expected at the plate, but it couldn’t overcome errors and mental miscues as they dropped the series opener to the Atlanta Braves, 4-2. Pedro Strop allowed two runs in the bottom in the eighth in taking the loss.
The Cubs (47-41) were hoping the break would be enough to halt their skid, but lack of offense once again proved to be an issue as they mustered just two runs on seven hits, bit runs coming against Braves’ starter Julio Teheran.
Schwarber continued his tear at the plate, but while overall solid, two key plays of his stood out in the outcome. A throwing error on a Nick Markakis steal in the first allowed him to advance to third, later scoring on an RBI single from Kelly Johnson to put the Braves up 1-0.
A catcher interference by Schwarber in the sixth didn’t cost them a run, but it forced starter Kyle Hendricks into a longer inning, and was pulled with two outs for Justin Grimm who was able to escape the jam.
The Braves (43-47) surrendered the lead in the third on a two-run single by Jorge Soler, but a base running blunder led to him being thrown out by ten feet at second–and ended a potentially bigger inning.
Strop (1-5, 3.40) has been really good and then had his struggles–and it appears he’s in a bit of a rough stretch again. It’s possible Joe Maddon may switch up he and Hector Rondon, who continues to pitch well out of the earlier innings. Former Cubs reliever Arodys Vizcaino (1-0, 0.00) picked up the win while Jim Johnson grabbed the save in place of the injured Jason Grilli.
Schwarber is now batting .423 in his time in Chicago, but the rest of the team is going to have to gel together to get over this funk the team is in.