The Cubs kicked off the Crosstown Cup against the White Sox with Cole Hamels on the mound against struggling righty Ivan Nova. The Cubs have been dominating at Wrigley Field this year (24-11) and looked to keep up that momentum against an opponent that figured to be weaker than those they’d just faced out West.
Hamels began the game looking shaky, loading the bases in the top of the 1st inning. However, he quickly settled down before any damage could be done and cruised through seven innings with eight strikeouts. He made history in the top of the 3rd inning by striking out Nova to become the 10th lefty in MLB history to reach 2,500 strikeouts.
Kyle Schwarber broke open the game for the Cubs with a first-pitch leadoff home run. From that point forward, the bats went silent.
The game entered the 9th tied 1-1, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. Unfortunately, the trade Cubs fans have debated for the past two seasons, Eloy Jiménez and more for José Quintana, came back to haunt them. The rookie slugger launched a two-run homer, his 12th of the year, to give the Sox the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The bats couldn’t produce against a very beatable Nova, who came into the game with a 6.28 ERA and shut the Cubs down.
Joe Maddon turned to current closer Pedro Strop to lock down the 9th inning, even though the score was still tied. The decision backfired quickly, as Strop gave up a line-drive single and the go-ahead home run before being yanked from the game.
Stats that Matter
- With five shutout innings to start the game, Hamels extended his streak of scoreless innings to 22 straight and got to 28 innings straight without an earned run.
- The Cubs could only muster one extra-base hit all game, a disappointing showing for the typically high-powered offense.
- Recent acquisition Craig Kimbrel made his organizational debut and threw a clean inning with one strikeout. Unfortunately, that debut was for the Iowa Cubs. Here’s to hoping he’s ready soon.
A winnable game at home against a rival may be the toughest type to lose. The Cubs can get this taste out of their mouth quickly with a better performance Wednesday.
The Cubs wrap up the quick two-game series against the White Sox Wednesday night with a battle of aces as Jon Lester faces off against the electric Lucas Giolito. Catch that game at 7:05pm CT on ABC-7 or listen in on 670 The Score.