The Cubs could get absolutely nothing going against Pirates starter Mitch Keller on Friday night at PNC Park. Chicago’s offense was quiet until the final inning when a controversial call short-circuited a potential rally and sent Pittsburgh to victory.
Kyle Hendricks had a shaky beginning to his evening giving up a single and a double to the first two men he faced. Andrew McCutchen and Joshua Palacios hit back-to-back ground balls to bring both runners home and put the Pirates ahead 2-0.
Keller breezed through the Cubs lineup not allowing a base runner until the 4th inning. Hendricks settled in nicely and did not surrender any additional runs before coming out of the game in the 6th.
Pittsburgh’s starter eventually finished eight frames and left the game with a 2-0 lead. Ian Happ greeted closer David Bednar with a solo home run to cut the deficit in half with nobody out in the top of the 9th. A potential infield hit from Cody Bellinger immediately after the dinger was overturned on replay and the Cubs would go down to a 2-1 defeat. (Box score)
The hometown kid! pic.twitter.com/I1ZvmGLSil
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 26, 2023
Replays of the Bellinger grounder in the 9th appeared inconclusive, in which case the original call of safe would stand. Obviously, the replay center in New York must have had a better view to overturn the call and the complexion of the inning completely changed.
Why the Cubs Lost
They were completely dominated by the opposing starting pitcher and could not overcome a pretty small deficit.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks’ performance on Friday would have been good enough to win many nights but not this one: 5.2 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 1 BB.
- Happ was the one offensive bright spot with a double in addition to his home run.
Every team is going to have a couple of games where the other squad has a terrific pitching performance and there’s nothing you can do. The Cubs ran into a talented hurler who was feeling it and he dominated. Not to mention, they were a perfect 7-0 against the Pirates this season, so the odds of going 13-0 were pretty long. The important thing is for David Ross and company to respond with a strong effort on Saturday.
Chicago will look to get back in the win column Saturday at 6:15pm CT. The starting pitching matchup is uncertain with Jordan Wicks possibly making his Cub debut and the Pirates going with a possible bullpen game. Fox network has exclusive television coverage and the radio broadcast is available on 670 The Score.