The Cubs’ Sunday struggles continued as the Red Sox buried them to take the rubber match of the series at Wrigley Field. All-Star Justin Steele was not sharp and Chicago’s offense missed early opportunities to score in what became a lopsided defeat.
Rafael Devers continued his huge weekend with a solo home run to the basket in left in the top of the 1st inning to give Boston a lead. The Cubs had four baserunners against Kutter Crawford in the first three innings but two double plays short-circuited any potential rallies.
The Sox blew the game wide open on Steele in the top of the 5th inning with four consecutive hits to bring home a run. The Cub lefty retired the next two hitters but Masataka Yoshida jumped on a 2-0 fastball for a grand slam into the basket in right field and the game was effectively over.
Boston would tack on five more tallies, including two more on a Yoshida triple, and turned the contest into a rout. Chicago put up a handful of garbage runs late to avoid getting blanked and lost 11-5. (Box score)
Nico Hoerner was unable to field a hard ground ball to short from Connor Wong to lead off the 5th inning. The ball deflected off of him and rolled into the outfield, allowing Wong to reach second base. It was ruled a double despite being a play the Cub shortstop could have made and was followed by five runs.
Why the Cubs Lost
The starting pitcher did not have good stuff and the powerful Red Sox lineup made him pay for it. They also failed to take advantage of the shaky control from Crawford early in the game.
Stats That Matter
- Very much a game to forget for Steele: 6 IP, 6 R, 10 H, 6 K, and 1 BB.
- The one offensive bright spot was Mike Tauchman, who reached base five times Sunday with two hits and three walks.
- The Cubs are now 3-13 on Sundays in 2023.
The Red Sox are a good team and the North Siders have absolutely no margin for error at this point. Anything short of 6-1 or 7-0 against the Cardinals and Nationals in the next two series really limits the Cubs’ ability to get back into the playoff race. That is an unfair expectation for this squad but that is the position their play up to this point has put them in.