The night started and ended with a ton of promise for the Cubs, yet the Marlins were still able to prevail in Miami thanks to an ugly 11-run 2nd inning. This was probably the most exciting game the Cubs have played since the trade deadline and it almost felt like you weren’t watching the same team that has lost nine in a row and 15 of 17 since July 26.
Alas, it’s still a squad devoid of big names, and most of those playing roles right now probably won’t even be on the team next year.
The Cubs jumped on the Fish from the get-go, as David Bote hit a two-run bomb to left field in the 1st. After Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay gave up a run on a Jesus Aguilar groundout in the bottom of the inning, the Cubs added two more in the top of the 2nd on a Johneshwy Vargas triple and a Sergio Alcántara. Things were looking good, but the wheels fell off yet again for Alzolay, who became the third Cubs starter in as many games to implode in a huge inning.
He gave up five runs in the 2nd, including a grand slam to Bryan De La Cruz. After leaving with hamstring tightness one out into the frame, Dan Winkler replaced Alzolay and gave up six more without even registering an out. Rex Brothers finally came in to get out of the inning, but he then coughed up two more in the 3rd and the game was a foregone conclusion.
Except what’s left of the Cub hitters had some other ideas. They may not be a top-flight MLB lineup at the moment, but let no one say these guys aren’t giving everything they’ve got and making the most of Jed Hoyer’s “crisis.” Robinson Chirinos added a solo shot in the 5th to make it 14-5, then both Frank Schwindel and Ian Happ destroyed balls to center for two-run home runs in the 8th inning to pull the game within five.
After hit machine Rafael Ortega notched a pinch-hit RBI single in the 9th, it seemed like the Cubs might really make this a game at 14-10, but Patrick Wisdom and Chirinos both struck out to end the rally. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
When you give up 11 runs in an inning, you hurt your chances to win. To their credit, the Cubs actually made this one interesting even after that awful inning.
The De La Cruz grand slam felt like a gut punch after the offense staked Alzolay to an early lead.
Stats That Matter
- Ortega is currently slashing .338/.391/.520 and has hit in 14 of his last 15 games.
- Schwindel continues to hit as well, going 3-for-5 with 2 runs, 2 RBI, and a walk on the night.
- Chirinos had a great night at the dish, going 4-for-6 with 2 runs and an RBI.
- The Cubs actually outhit the Marlins 18 to 12, but were on the short end of the run stick.
I suppose moral victories are all we’re going to get with the Cubs at the moment, and I’ll take it in this one. Despite the deadline sell-off that has decimated this squad and made most of the games since almost unbearable, this one (at times) was actually entertaining and, dare I say, fun?
Zach Davies gets the ball on Saturday night for the Cubs, and he’ll face Zach Thompson for Don Mattingly‘s Marlins. Davies is coming off of terrible back-to-back starts where he gave up seven runs in each. Game time is a bit odd at 5:10pm CT and can be seen on Marquee or heard on 670 The Score.