Baseball

Falling Back to Planet Earth – Cubs/Giants Series Review: Cubs Lose Series 2-7/5-8/3-4/4-3

The good times can never last long for this Cubs team, and after watching this series against the Giants, who are as of today the best team in the MLB, one thing is for certain: we need a starting pitcher to make that jump up to be in the elite group of the best teams in the league. And if I recall correctly WE HAD ONE. So thanks, Ricketts family.

Another series starts tonight so let’s get this review of mostly terrible games over with.

June 3, 2021
Cubs 2, Giants 7
WP: DeSciafani (5-2) LP: Davies (2-3)
Box Score

The win streak can’t go on forever, and the Cubs reminded us of that. Our bats got stymied, only getting five hits all game. The two runs we garnered were in the 3rd inning to take the lead and it was on a 2-run homer by Joc Pederson.

Just an inning later in the 4th, the Giants tied it up, and the inning after that consisted of Zach Davies getting pulled after allowing two singles and a walk in a one out situation. The highlight of my boyfriend’s night was listening to me say “he’d have to hit a 3-run homer here to blow the game open and he won’t” while listening to the game on the radio and then five seconds later Brandon Crawford hitting a 3-run homer there to blow the game open.

The Cubs wouldn’t come back, and there were plenty of fielding errors and poor pitching for everyone involved that the game was over by the end of the 5th inning. Zach Davies still sucks, if you’re wondering, playing only 4.1 innings and allowing 8 hits and 4 runs. The bullpen was also uncharacteristically bad, allowing three runs and two walks. Brad Wieck pitched the 8th, however, and allowed no hits and had a strikeout.

June 4, 2021
Cubs 5, Giants 8
WP: Menez (1-0) LP: Arrieta (5-6)
Box Score

At first it seemed like things would be better this game, especially when you start things off with a two-run homer by Kris Bryant. However, Jake Arrieta did the equivalent of spitting up all over himself in the 2nd inning, allowing—count ‘em—6 total runs in those two innings. He ended his outing at the end of the 2nd inning after throwing 58 pitches. It was obvious Rossy really didn’t want to pull him early; multiple mound visits were made to try to slow things down, but it didn’t matter because he just kept getting hit off of. After a 2-out, full-count situation, the Giants put the nails in our metaphorical coffin with a three-run home run to make it 6-2 San Francisco. The Cubs would never get the lead back. It came out after the game that Arrieta had food poisoning before his start and that’s why he did so poorly. Again, if we had a solid starting pitcher, this wouldn’t have been as big a problem as it was.

Then it was Keegan Thompson’s time to shine. Things couldn’t get any worse, right? He allowed two hits and two runs in his two innings out. He walked two batters, but he also struck out five. During this time, the Cubs tried to make it close by scoring two runs in the top of the 4th, thanks to a walk by Patrick Wisdom who was batted in by a Joc Pederson home run. However, in the bottom of the inning, Thompson gave up back-to-back home runs and a walk before he was able to strike out three batters in a row to end the inning.

The Cubs were able to score one more run in the game in the 5th inning, after a Giants throwing error allowed Willson Contreras to advance to 3rd base and Javier Baez batted him in while grounding out himself. Winkler, Wieck, Nance and Maples all pitched one respective inning out of the bullpen, and they allowed two total hits between them, two walks, and three strikeouts.

Because the fun can never end, there was also an argument caught on camera between Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras in the dugout of this game. I feel like everyone has talked this story to death, so I’ll skip over it for the most part. I’d be pissed off too if I was losing big games like this in this capacity.

June 5, 2021
Cubs 3, Giants 4
WP: Gausman (7-0) LP: Stewart (1-1)
Box Score

Things continued to be more of the same for the Cubs again this series, as they were the ones to go ahead early in the game, this time through a home run by Patrick Wisdom, before pretty promptly coughing it up thanks to the starting pitching. This time it was Kohl Stewart starting because why not at this point? How much worse could he be than the rest of the rotation? He only went 3.2 innings while giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. After allowing a solo home run in the 3rd, he allowed a walk, two singles, a sacrifice bunt and another single in the 4th inning to let the Giants take the lead 3-2, which they once again would never surrender to the Cubs. He was replaced by Tommy Nance in that inning, who was able to get out of it without another Giants hit.

The rest of the bullpen did well, with Winkler allowing the only other run of the game; it was a double that scored a batter who walked earlier in the inning. The fun news out of the bullpen today was that we saw a NEW PITCHER CALLUP in Cory Abbott, who pitched two innings and didn’t look half bad. He only allowed one hit and one walk in his time up, and he even struck out a batter. Tepera closed things out, allowing no hits.

Obviously, the damage had already been done. The Cubs tried their best to rally in the 9th inning, where Rizzo was able to capitalize on a Giants fielding error to allow Bryant, who was able to stay on base after a challenge, to score. Baez had also singled, and with two outs Baez and Rizzo both stole bases to get into scoring position. But Jason Heyward, finally activated after his injury and playing today, unfortunately grounded out to end the game.

June 6, 2021
Cubs 4, Giants 3
WP: Hendricks (7-4) LP: Cueto (4-2)
Box Score

The Cubs at least were able to win one, coming from behind to win a close game, but it looked a bit dicey at first. Kyle Hendricks gave up a solo homer in the 1st inning, and then allowed a single, a walk, and another single to allow the Giants to go up 2-0.

Patrick Wisdom was the offensive hero tonight, as he launched yet another homer in the 2nd inning to put the Cubs within one. However, the bottom of the inning saw Hendricks give up two doubles to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. Ian Happ and catcher PJ Higgins were able to make a huge throw to home plate afterward, however, to get the tag at home and end the inning with minimal offensive damage.

Patrick Wisdom homered, again, in the 4th inning and scored Happ, who doubled earlier. But the 5th inning was when the Cubs really became the Cubs. Kyle Hendricks hit a double, which was truly astonishing, and then Rizzo singled and Baez reached first base on a fielder’s choice, scoring Hendricks to make it 4-3 Cubs.

Additionally, Hendricks lasted 6.1 innings on the mound, allowing 7 hits and 5 strikeouts. 6.1 innings out of a Cubs starter is rare these days, and the defense was obviously solid behind him. The bullpen was back to being nails, allowing only 2 hits in 2.2 innings. Kimbrel came in to get the save — with two strikeouts, of course.

The Cubs certainly didn’t look as sharp for this series as they had in series past, but hopefully today’s win will allow them to turn things around as they go back to face the Padres again this week, this time in San Diego. The Padres just split a series with the Mets but got walloped yesterday 6-2. They are also still sporting a 14-player injured list, making their lineup about as easy as it gets for the Cubs to play against.

It should be noted the Cubs are a bit injured too, as Joc Pederson got hurt again this series, Baez exited last night’s game with thumb soreness and may or may not be in the game, Marisnick and Hoerner are still out with hamstring injuries, David Bote’s still out, and Trevor Williams is still recovering from his appendectomy, although the rotation wouldn’t be much better if he was still on it. The Padres, however, don’t have SECRET WEAPON NL PLAYER OF THE WEEK Patrick Wisdom, so they should fear us. All jokes aside, we should absolutely be riding Wisdom as the hot hand until his numbers come back to earth along with the rest of this team. Go Cubs go!

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