Fresh off a dramatic 9th inning comeback Friday night, it looked maybe, just maybe like the Cubs were going to exercise that pesky hitting with RISP demon. Well, Saturday bought back the same bold reality that the Cubs have faced all year.
Jake Arrieta took the mound in hopes of taking home a road series for the Chicago Cubs. He was opposed by Ivan Nova, who has been more than what the Pirates hoped for. Rickey Henderson did what he does best and led off the game with a single. Wait, what? Oh. I’m getting word that it’s actually Anthony Rizzo that led off his fourth straight game by getting on base, and was promptly erased on a double play by Ian Happ on the very next pitch. In the bottom of the first, it was an adventure.
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*Cue the circus music* Adam Frazier hit a tapper back to Arrieta, who bobbled. Next batter, Francisco Cervelli hit a…not even sure it was a tapper. He got his bat on it? Right out in front of the plate for a tailor-made double play, and Montero botched the throw to second, but Javy Baez was able to at least get Cervelli at first. Next batter, Gregory Polanco, absolutely UNLOADED a hanging nothing ball from Arrieta, making it 2-0 Bucs, and it would stay that way until the fifth. Kyle Schwarber would work a two-out walk, and Arrieta would make up for his blunder by tying the game up with his first home run of the season. The Pirates would get the lead right back in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single by Adam Frazier.
Andrew McCutchen and Addison Russell traded solo home runs the next two innings, bringing us to the final score of 4-3. This one wasn’t without a little drama, though. In the top of the eighth, Happ hit a 1-out double, right after Rizzo flew out to the track. Kris Bryant would walk, making it 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Albert Almora would come into pinch hit and hit a hard line out. Russell would then ground out up the middle, ending the threat, and the Cubs would go down without a whimper in the ninth.
The Cubs yet again failed to get a key hit with RISP, and all their runs came on home runs, along with a lackluster starting pitching performance. It’s up to John Lackey tomorrow if the Cubs want to take the series, before they return home to play the Padres for three, before heading back out on the road again to face the Marlins and Nationals.