The Chicago Cubs opened their series in Cincinnati this evening and after some missed opportunities, the Cubs came from behind again.
After a couple of late-inning comebacks against Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs went into Cincinnati looking to right the ship. Things started off promising for the Cubs when Jason Heyward hit his first homer of the year in the fourth.
Things derailed after that, as Jon Lester surrendered three runs in the fourth. Two of those came on a two-run double to the pitcher, Tim Adleman. The Cubs were unable to muster much offense after that, getting just a solo shot from Baez.
However, after multiple innings of leaving runners on base, Anthony Rizzo delivered the big blow.
A game-tying three-run homer in the ninth. The second straight game in which the Cubs hit a three-run homer in the ninth.
Cubs put two on in the 11th and a sac fly by Kris Bryant scored Albert Almora to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead. Wade Davis then shut the door in the 11th for his fourth save of the season. The Cubs are back in first place.
Offensive Struggles Continue with RISP
The Cubs offense continues to struggle with runners in scoring position. For three consecutive innings, the Cubs had two runners on with no one out and were able to score. The problem is that they never got the ball out of the infield in any of those innings.
In the 7th, the Cubs had second and third with nobody out, after Javier Baez got hit, and Jon Jay singled. Almora then struck out on three pitches, and both Kyle Schwarber and Bryant popped up on very lazy weak pop ups.
The 8th inning saw the Cubs put two on again, only to hit two lazy groundouts and weak pop up on the infield.
While the Cubs offense was able to muster some comebacks against Milwaukee, it becomes increasingly difficult to win ballgames when your team plays from behind. The Cubs are also struggling to get hits with runners in scoring position. What’s even more frustrating is the weak contact they are making when they have runners on.
Despite all that frustration, the Cubs did pull through in the ninth. Rizzo sent the first pitch of the at-bat into the right-field bleachers with two outs. A ball that JUST barely cleared the fence to tie the game at 5.
Walks Continue to Haunt Pitchers
With the five walks the Cubs pitching staff allowed today, they are now fifth in all of baseball for most walks issued by a pitching staff. The Cubs pitching staff continues to put the offense behind the eight ball almost every game. Perhaps that could be a reason for the early season struggles at the plate.
While Jon Lester was not bad today, he was not good either. When your offense is struggling to score runs, being down by even a few runs seems like a lot.
But as inscribed on their World Series rings, the Cubs never quit. They didn’t today.
According to Jesse Rogers at ESPN, the Cubs are now 4-0 when trailing by three or more runs in the sixth inning or later. The rest of the league is 5-72.
The Cubs bullpen has now allowed just one earned run in the last 14.2 innings pitched, which is a big reason for the three straight comebacks.