After a close win on Friday, the Cubs looked to win their series against the Nationals on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Jon Lester’s rough second half continued and the Nats romped to a blow out victory at a sun-drenched Wrigley Field.
Ryan Zimmerman began his very successful day in the top of the 1st inning. Bryce Harper singled with two down and Zimmerman followed with a long two-run blast to left field. Washington extended the lead in the 3rd inning, thanks to an error. Trea Turner singled then stole second, there was a miscommunication and Addison Russell was late covering the base. Turner advanced to third when the ball went into center and scored on a sacrifice fly by, you guessed it, Zimmerman.
The Cubs did get a run off of Tanner Roark in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Albert Almora and Anthony Rizzo singled, career hit 1000 for Rizz, to put men on the corners with none out. Javy Baez hit a sac fly to plate Almora, but Rizzo was thrown out stealing and the inning petered out.
Washington knocked Lester and the Cubs out of the game in the top of the 4th inning. Daniel Murphy hit a two-run laser-beam homer out to left to make it a 5-1 game. Turner singled home Matt Wieters to make it 6-1. After Harper singled again, Mr. Nat (Zimmerman) hit an even harder dinger, this one a three-run job to make it 9-1.
That was basically it for the game, Jorge De La Rosa made his Cubs debut finishing the 4th and taking the 5th. Mike Montgomery, temporarily available from the ‘pen, pitched the 6th inning. Tyler Chatwood mopped up the final three innings allowing no more runs to score.
Roark pitched into the 8th inning and only allowed two runs to score. Wander Suero allowed a two-run double to Ben Zorbrist before finishing off the game for the Nats. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Lester just didn’t have it on Saturday, the Cubs were out of the game by the 4th inning.
Hard to find one exact moment that turned the game for the Nats. Zimmerman’s first homer was crushed, probably a pretty good indication that that Jon didn’t have his top quality stuff.
Stats That Matter
- Lester’s line was very ugly again: 3.2 IP, 9 R, 8 ER, 10 H, 5 K, and 1 BB. In his last five starts the big lefty has allowed 26 earned runs. Clearly, Jon wasn’t as good as his numbers in the first half indicated, but he also is better than these recent numbers indicate.
- The slumping Addison Russell had a three hit game. Those hits were pretty much the only bright spot for the Chicago offense.
- Tyler Chatwood did throw three scoreless innings in a very low-leverage spot.
That was not a game to save in the memory bank for future reference. Lester’s struggles are a reason for concern, still I think he will right the ship. He has had a lot of success already this season.
The rubber-match of the series features marquee matchup between Max Scherzer and Cole Hammels. ESPN has the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast at 7:08 pm CT.