CI – Recap (9/26/17) Cubs 7, Cardinals 8: Arrieta Struggles, Magic Number Still 1

Fresh off a 10-2 rout of the rival Cardinals, the Cubs found themselves in position to clinch the National League Central with a win or a Brewers loss. The Cardinals slugged four home runs overall and built an early lead against Jake Arrieta. The Cubs battled back, scoring four runs in the top of the 8th, but couldn’t complete the comeback as Javier Baez struck out swinging with runners on first and second to end the game (box score).

Why the Cubs Lost

A lackluster performance from Arrieta led to the loss today. Arrieta struggled early, giving up five runs (three earned) in only three innings and the Cubs couldn’t recover from the early deficit.

Key Moments

Leading off the top of the 3rd inning, Mike Freeman doubled to left field. Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch two batters later, which was followed by a six-pitch walk to Anthony Rizzo to load the bases with two outs. Willson Contreras showed great patience at the plate, fighting back from an 0-2 count to take a bases-loaded walk to put the Cubs down 5-2. Ian Happ struck out looking to end the scoring threat.

Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the 4th inning with a single to center, which was followed by a walk issued to Jason Heyward. Freeman came to the plate and delivered with a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Tommy La Stella reached first base on a catcher’s interference call and drove in Schwarber to put the Cubs down 5-3. Zobrist and Bryant proceeded to strike out with bases loaded, and Rizzo grounded out to first to end the inning.

In the 6th inning, Albert Almora Jr. left the game with a bruised right shoulder following a collision with the left field wall.

Ian Happ was hit by a pitch and Leonys Martin was walked to start off the 8th inning. With the Cubs hoping to capitalize, Heyward drove the ball to right-center for a 3-run home run. Two batters later, Zobrist also drove a pitch to right-center to close the deficit to 8-7.

Stats That Matter

  • Jake Arrieta was knocked out of the game early: 3 IP, 5 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR allowed
  • Willson Contreras showed great patience at the plate by taking three walks, one of which was with the bases loaded, down 0-2 in the count: 0-for-2, 1 RBI, 3 BB
  • Jason Heyward had a nice game : 1-for-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB

Bottom Line

The magic number for the Cubs to win the National League Central still sits at one, as the Brewers beat the Reds Tuesday night. Arrieta’s outing created an early deficit and the Cubs hitters couldn’t capitalize on several bases-loaded chances to score runs. The good news is they have another opportunity to clinch the division tomorrow.

On Deck

The Cubs will play the third game of their series with the Cardinals on Wednesday. Former Cardinal John Lackey will take the mound for Chicago while St. Louis will send out right-hander Michael Wacha. First pitch is slated for 6:08 CT and will air on ESPN.

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