The Cubs and Red Sox began the second half on a night when the weather conditions at Wrigley Field helped the hitters. Unfortunately for Chicago, Boston took far better advantage of the wind blowing out by cracking six homers to bury the home team.
Kyle Hendricks did not have his best stuff and he paid for it early and often. Rafael Devers and Adam Duvall each took The Professor deep in the top of the 2nd to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Devers blasted a second dinger the following frame as the advantage increased to 4-0.
Mike Tauchman got a run back with an RBI double in the bottom of the 3rd inning but Boston answered right back with another solo shot from Triston Casas in the 4th. At that point, Cody Bellinger gave the Cubs some life with a pair of home runs in consecutive plate appearances off of starter Brayan Bello to cut the deficit to 5-3 in the 6th.
Belli bombs ALL second half! pic.twitter.com/ZyMogjBqPz
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 15, 2023
The two home runs in the 2nd inning demonstrated pretty clearly that Hendricks did not have his sharpest stuff and the Cubs never were able to catch up the rest of the night.
Why the Cubs Lost
It’s very hard to win any games when you allow six longballs to the other team. Other than Bellinger, the rest of the offense did almost nothing to take advantage of the favorable conditions.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks was due to regress a bit and did so with a vengeance Friday night: 4.2 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 4 HR, 5 K, and 0 BB.
- Bellinger is hitting a ton lately and the power is also back with four home runs in his last five games.
- Christopher Morel had three singles, two of which were of the infield variety.
That was definitely not the start to the second half the Cubs were hoping for. If they want any chance to get back into the race, they have to do very good work in the next nine games at Wrigley Field. If Hendricks gets wobbly, that task becomes even more difficult. The time has also come for David Ross to move Bellinger up in the lineup, as it’s almost impossible to justify hitting Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki ahead of him.
Game two of the series is Saturday afternoon at 1:20pm CT. Chicago needs a big effort from Marcus Stroman as he takes on veteran lefty James Paxton in a contest available on Marquee and 670 The Score.