After Friday’s 9-3 defeat in the series opener against the Washington Nationals, the Chicago Cubs were looking for a victory in an attempt to regain ground lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central Division standings. Unfortunately, José Quintana, who had been one of the Cubs’ most consistent pitchers of late, allowed five earned runs in 4.0 IP (Box Score).
The Cubs only runs came on a Nicholas Castellanos RBI single in the 3rd inning and a Jonathan Lucroy ground rule double in the 5th inning. Anthony Rizzo also exited the game in the 5th due to mid-back tightness. There is no word yet on Rizzo’s back and whether it’s something expected to cause him to miss any time.
Why the Cubs Lost
José Quintana was able to induce soft contact, but the Cubs were unable to make plays behind him, which gave the Nationals’ hot hitters opportunities to take advantage of holes in the defense. Rizzo had two errors. It is possible that those errors could be related to the tightness he experienced.
The Cubs were also unable to cash in on most of their scoring chances, stranding nine runners on base and ending 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
After walking Brian Dozier — loading the bases for the second time in the 3rd inning — and striking out Victor Robles, Yan Gomes hit a soft single to center field through the left side of the diamond. Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick both scored. This was the big blow in a four-run inning for the Nats.
After Tony Kemp walked with two outs to load the bases, Joe Maddon removed Quintana from the game for pinch hitter Ian Happ. Happ had a great at-bat against Washington starter Joe Ross. He worked the count full, only to be caught looking on a ball that was well off the outside corner. Happ argued the call and was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. The call killed the Cubs’ rally and left Joe Maddon with limited options off the bench.
Stats that Matter
- José Quintana did not have it today: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K
- The Nationals 1 through 3 hitters went 5-10 with three runs scored and two RBI, while the Cubs’ 1-3 hitters went 3-11 with one run scored and one RBI.
- Joe Ross was not sharp, walking four batters and allowing six hits in 4.1 IP, but he was able to escape the Cubs’ scoring threats.
Today’s defeat ensures a series loss at home, not to mention the possibility of falling further out of first place. The Cubs will face an uphill battle in their effort to salvage the series tomorrow, as they face tough righty Stephen Strasburg.
The series finale will take place at 1:10 PM CT tomorrow at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will send veteran southpaw Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.73 ERA) to the mound against Strasburg (15-5, 3.65 ERA) in their bid to avoid the sweep and maintain a winning record for the homestand. Chicago-area fans can listen on 670 The Score and watch on WGN. Out-of-market fans will be able to watch on TBS.