Baseball

Now that we have over a week of baseball under our belts, the Cubs have begun to fall closer to where they were expected to be—tied for 2nd (with the Pirates?) in this shitty division with a 5-4 record. The Pirates no longer seem like the world’s easiest team to beat, and the Rockies look to have only about 3 men that can definitely be counted on for offense, so any Cubs issues with pitching seemed to just level themselves out in the end as the team went .500 overall this week.

While I’m still not inclined to say the offense is “fixed”—Coors Field is a hitting anomaly, after all—it still seems like the Cubs are getting the runs and offense they need from players across the board. I’m hoping that some of the dicey pitching we saw was also a Coors Field anomaly, though whenever we can get some of our regular guys healthy again, both in the rotation and the pen, would be incredibly helpful. To the bullets!

  • Kyle Hendricks didn’t look too good against the Pirates, allowing 7 hits and 6 runs in 3.2 innings, taking the loss for the team. He threw way less strikes than he did on Opening Day, and his number of swinging strikes between those two outings plummeted from 17 to 6—yikes. Though weak contact is Hendricks’s whole MO, we need all the strikes we can get from him now with the Cubs field being bereft of Gold Glove defensemen. He’ll be on the mound again tomorrow and hopefully give a better performance.
  • Seiya Suzuki’s two solo homers on Tuesday were the sole reason why the Cubs didn’t get swept entirely by the Pirates. If the team hadn’t signed him, this season would be a lot bleaker. But other teams have begun to catch on, especially to the fact that Suzuki absolutely refuses to swing at anything outside of the zone, and when he does swing, he’s dangerous. The Rockies intentionally walked him twice this series in big situations with runners on base, and his next at-bat last night after being intentionally walked gave him his 4th home run of the season. He’s no secret at the plate around the MLB, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from getting on base. Keep ‘em coming.
  • I was ready to throw the book at Patrick Wisdom, but it looks like he’s just going to continue to be his incredibly streaky self. He started out the season with only 1 hit in 23 plate appearances and a .048 batting average, but then racked up 6 hits in the final three games against the Rockies to bring it up to .233. If Wisdom can carry on his more recent streak of hitting well, that would be great, because when he’s not on it’s painful to watch, especially when he’s making mistakes in the field as well, which happens more often than any of us would prefer.
  • Any time Jonathan Villar did anything at shortstop on Thursday I just wished Javy Baez was back—did you ever really appreciate the crazy plays El Mago would make before he left? While Javy is a tough act to follow, sometimes Villar just couldn’t make those plays you took for granted. His one error of the season so far came at short on Thursday—it seems like 2nd base is where he should be playing from now on. He also had 8 hits this weekend while not even playing last night, which makes any smaller defensive fumbles easier to turn a blind eye to for now. And yes, those hits were still at Coors Field, and things could change at the drop of a hat, but for now it’s too early for me to judge him.
  • Kris Bryant had 5 hits this series, all of them beauties. They could’ve been for the Cubs. I miss him. Fuck Ricketts.

Next up this week the Cubs will play three games against the Rays and Pirates, two teams who are either at or just a hair above .500 this season. The Rays lost their weekend series against the White Sox, though their one win last night was a 9-3 crushing. Other than the Sox, the Rays have had what would seem like an easy schedule to start the year with games against the Orioles and Athletics, and yet are still coming out the other side at only .500, so that’s where that team’s at. Since we last saw the Pirates earlier this week, they won 3 of 4 games against the Nationals.

Go Cubs go!

Everything Else

As a Cubs fan, you hate the Brewers, and always will. Which means this series sucked, because you singlehandedly gave the Brewers and a stadium filled with tens of thousands of fans a guaranteed playoff spot (likely soon to turn into division title) while your team is destined to be mired in mediocrity for the rest of eternity. Here’s a wrap.

September 17, 2021
Cubs 5, Brewers 8
WP: Ashby (3-0) LP: Wick (0-1)
Box Score

I had déjà vu during the 4th inning of this Cubs game, when the Cubs went up 4-0 and I remembered the absolute shellacking that was handed to them in the previous game in which they blew a 7-0 lead. I knew the Cubs couldn’t hold onto that lead, and the Brewers proved me right in the bottom of that same inning. They scored three runs on no outs thanks to some rough pitching from everyone’s favorite, Zach Davies.

The Cubs would cling onto the one-, sometimes two-run lead until the bottom of the 8th inning when the Brewers took advantage of Rowan Wick, who gave up three singles and two walks in the inning to give the Brewers a 7-5 lead, all on two outs. He was yanked for Dillon Maples, who immediately threw a wild pitch that made it 8-5 Brewers, and then walked two more Brewers before throwing the final out of the inning. The damage had been done, however, as the Cubs couldn’t any runs back in the 9th and ended up losing this game.

September 18, 2021
Cubs 4, Brewers 6
WP: Williams (8-2) LP: F-Ross (2-1)
Box Score

Willson Contreras getting robbed of extra-base hits in the 2nd inning by a highlight-reel catch set the vibe of this entire game for the Cubs. (Patrick Wisdom had a highlight-reel catch of his own later on in the inning, though, that deserves a shoutout). Justin Steele gave up a home run in the bottom of the 2nd to give the Brewers the lead. Though the Cubs came back with a run of their own in the 3rd after three singles, the Brewers hit another dinger in what started out as a surprisingly exciting back-and-forth game.

Though the Cubs were able to score two runs in the top of the 5th off Corbin Burnes thanks to an Ian Happ home run, the Brewers are a playoff team for a reason and wouldn’t give up easily. Additionally, Adbert Alzolay gave up many a hit in his outing today — four in three innings, including one that tied the game in the 5th and a solo dinger to give the Brewers the lead back. It was Contreras, however, who tied the game singlehandedly with a solo homer of his own that deserves a mention here.

The lead didn’t last even half an inning in what was a pretty awful outing by Scott F-Ross. He allowed Manny Pina’s second home run of the night to put the Brewers up late on a tough pitch. Though F-Ross’s pitches can be nasty on occasion, just a slight misplacement of the ball can be trouble for the Cubs.

Two more hits off of F-Ross after that and the game turned to a whole new level of sickening. Contreras was struck out with a legal strike and had a meltdown to the umpire, getting himself ejected from the game — not that that even mattered, as the Brewers just pulled out Josh Hader for the save who had two strikeouts to win the game, and playoff spot, for the Brewers. Just kill me now.

September 19, 2021
Cubs 6, Brewers 2
WP: Morgan (1-0) LP: Boxberger (5-4)
Box Score

Not that anybody cares, but we somehow ended up in the final meeting of the season against these chumps, where nearly half of the baseball game was played with no score for other team. It was Trayce Thompson, today’s right fielder for the Cubs, who started off the scoring with a solo dinger in the 5th against Eric Lauer. However, the Brewers tied it up, once again only a half-inning later, with a walk and a couple of hits off of starter Adrian Sampson, one of which was just a few feet short of being a homer.

Strikeout Wonder Patrick Wisdom, who had four strikeouts in the previous game, struck out four times today and had nine strikeouts in the series, is obscene to me. (Previous Strikeout Wonder Javy Baez struck out only four times in his team’s weekend series against the Mets, for perspective.) However, Wisdom hit a three-run homer in the 8th inning that came after two walks and two hits for the Cubs to make a W seem possible. Suddenly, we were up 6-2 with only an inning and a half to go, and Wisdom was standing alone with the Cubs’ rookie home run record. Congrats to him, despite this win being a part of a much larger farce.

David Ross decided to gift Rowan Wick with a 9th-inning closer opportunity despite the fact that he was dogshit in the first game of this series. And surprise, surprise, Wick’s 9th inning today went about as predictably as you’d expect, putting the Cubs in genuine danger of throwing a four-run lead away late after he walked three and allowed two singles, loading the bases for the Brewers. Michael Rucker was tasked with getting one (1) out, and he got it thanks to a pop fly to center field that won us the game, thank God.

By the way, Nico Hoerner finally returned from his injury today, but if you didn’t notice him I wouldn’t find you at fault, since he went 0 for 4 tonight offensively and was the only non-pitcher for the Cubs today who didn’t even make it on base. So uh, figure that out, I guess.

Everyone gets an off-day tomorrow, and then the Cubs play the final series of the year against the Minnesota Twins, which is about as awful a series as I can think of. Just a few more weeks of this dreck, and hockey is just around the corner. We’ll muddle through together. Go Cubs go.

Baseball

This series started on a surprisingly positive note and then ended with a disgraceful excuse of a baseball game for the Cubs. The Phillies continue grasping blindly at a final wild card spot despite being 2.5 games back thanks to the shellacking they brought upon us, whereas Cubs fans are now wondering if Kyle Hendricks being the #1 starter next year will even be enough to propel them to the playoffs since this is Totally Not a Rebuild. I love Hendricks, but I’m not sure if he’s the answer.

There’s a lot of crap to muddle through here, so let’s get on with it.

September 14, 2021
Cubs 6, Phillies 3
WP: Sampson (1-2) LP: Gibson (10-7)
Box Score

The Phillies needed this win much more than we did as they continue to attempt (in vain) to catch any of the four teams ahead of them for a wild card spot. And yet, they were still able to lose this one against this meaningless Cubs team, despite going up early on a solo homer against Adrian Sampson in his third start of the year and Kyle Gibson, the Phillies’ starter, at one point striking out five batters in a row.

Gibson dominated against the Cubs for four straight innings, allowing no hits until the 5th when the game was cracked wide open for the Cubs. A hit by Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom’s Kris-Bryant-rookie-record-tying home run gave the Cubs a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Immediately after, Alfonso Rivas hit his first major league dinger, which excited the entire bench. Ortega was able to hit a barely-fair ball to left field to score Sergio Alcantara in that inning, making it four runs in the 5th for the Cubs and ending Gibson’s day.

The Phillies didn’t give up, and in the 6th inning ended up scoring two runs thanks to a Bryce Harper hit that was difficult to field and some aggressive yet successful baserunning on their part. Another hit that poked its way through both Cubs outfielders and an unsuccessful play at the plate put the Phillies at only a one-run deficit. The Cubs answered back immediately with pretty sweet outfield hits by Frank Schwindel and Ian Happ to score two runners and wrap up this ballgame.

Sampson pitched pretty well all things considered, going five innings and only allowing two runs. (The bar is low in this neighborhood.) Manuel Rodriguez allowed the third Phillies run, walked a batter, and allowed two hits in his one inning, which isn’t good. After him, however, the Cubs bullpen allowed no Phillies hits, with Tommy Nance and Scott F-Ross pitching an inning each and F-Ross getting two strikeouts. Rowan Wick even struck out three batters in an impeccable save appearance.

September 15, 2021
Cubs 5, Phillies 6
WP: Kennedy (2-1) LP: Megill (1-2)
Box Score

I guess the Cubs should get credit for not giving up on this one, as they came from behind to tie the game multiple times. However, it never ended up being enough, as the Phillies were able to walk it off with a run scored in the bottom of the 9th.

Alec Mills pitched three scoreless innings before things started unraveling in the 4th. The teams traded bases-loaded, no runs scored situations in the 3rd inning. By the 4th, a few well-hit balls to the outfield that were hard to field gave the Phillies a one-run lead, but a double play fielded by the Cubs later on in the inning meant that the incoming two-run homer made the game 3-0 instead of 5-0. Good job, everyone.

The most amusing part of the game was when Frank Schwindel hit a two-run homer in the next inning and Schwindel’s extended family of like fifty people went nuts in the stands. At least someone’s happy about this current Cubs team, am I right?

The 5th inning was not good, with a hit and an intentional walk for Mills before getting pulled for F-Ross. Then F-Ross allowed a single to score a runner that made it 4-2. It wasn’t until the 8th inning when the Cubs were able to tie it with another two-run dinger, this time by Robinson Chirinos.

The next three half-innings had the Cubs and Phillies each trading runs with each other. JT Realmuto hit a solo dinger in the 8th, and then Matt Duffy hit a homer in the 9th, but the Phillies walked it off again after Trevor Megill gave up a hit, a sac bunt, a sac groundout, and a passed ball by Chirinos that ended up scoring the winning run.

September 16, 2021
Cubs 8, Phillies 17
WP: Neris (3-6) WP: Rodriguez (3-3)
Box Score

Usually when you go up 7 runs on a team in a game it’s enough to net you a win. Not for this garbage-pile Cubs team, however, who almost instantly gave up 7 runs of their own to tie the game and then gave up 10 more runs to lose in the most embarrassing possible way there is to lose a baseball game.

It was the bottom of the 4th inning when Hendricks collapsed and gave up four hits, four walks and five runs before he got yanked for Michael Rucker, who on his third pitch of the game gave up the extra two runs to tie it on a line drive single to center field. Rodriguez proceeded to give up three more runs in the 6th inning and another two runs in the 7th inning to become the losing pitcher. Rex Brothers, Rodriguez’s mid-inning replacement with no outs, immediately gave up a three-run homer on his first pitch to make the game 15-8 Phillies for good measure. Dillon Maples gave up a few more runs in the 8th, too, just because everyone else was doing it.

Despite a deluge of Cubs offense in the 3rd inning that gave them a 7-0 lead on three hits, a home run, and four walks, the Cubs then went completely flat with only four hits in the rest of the game, because of course they did. The Phillies wanted and needed this game more to stay in the fateful playoff race, and they went out and trounced us here. It was awful baseball.

Speaking of awful baseball, it will likely continue this weekend when the Cubs get inevitably pummeled by the first-place Milwaukee Brewers this weekend in what will surely be an embarrassment of a series. I’d turn on the football if I were you. Go Cubs go?

Everything Else

There’s nothing funnier than when a Cubs team with nothing to play for spoils a playoff-contending team by winning the series. It gets even funnier when it’s the Cincinnati Reds, who only got one win and arguably should’ve come out of this series with all three to jump back into a playoff position. Now they are a game back of the Padres in the wild card race and the Cubs have won eight of their last nine games. Get your fun where you can get it at this point of a lost season.

September 6, 2021
Cubs 4, Reds 3
WP: Effross (2-0) LP: Lorenzen (0-2)
Box Score

The Reds become one of the more formidable opponents the Cubs have faced recently, as they poked holes in our defense and figured out Justin Steele the third time through the lineup, which is when opponents always figure out Justin Steele.

Ian Happ spotted the Cubs an early 3-0 lead after a fielding error and a single for Rafael Ortega and Frank Schwindel put them on base, putting Happ in the position to hit his big homer. That was just about all the offense either team allowed until the 6th, when things got stupid with Steele walking a batter, allowing a single and hitting two guys in a row.

Codi Heuer replaced Steele and we all watched as most of his pitches didn’t go where he wanted them to go, culminating toward the Reds tying the game on a double off of him. However, Scott F-Ross came in in the 7th and was able to pretty reliably shut down the Reds offense as they squandered their chances of moving back into a wild card position.

The nail in the coffin of this game was Frank Schwindel once again with the game-winning hit, which happened in the bottom of the 8th inning and scored Alfonso Rivas, who had singled earlier. Adam Morgan completely shut things down in the 9th with the save, which included a line-out for pinch hitter Joey Votto. A solid performance, despite a complete lack of offense for most of the outing with Sonny Gray on the mound.

September 7, 2021
Cubs 3, Reds 4
WP: Miley (12-5) LP: Sampson (0-2)
Box Score

Despite their best efforts and a start from Adrian Sampson, the Cubs weren’t able to win their eighth in a row. Two homers – one a leadoff homer – in the 1st inning for the Reds made it so the Cubs couldn’t ever catch up. The Cubs were unable to figure out Reds pitcher Wade Miley, with only a Willson Contreras solo homer in the 3rd inning to dent Miley’s stats.

Sampson allowed six hits in five innings pitched and allowed no more runs after his shaky first inning. He also threw only one strikeout and allowed a walk, however, which is a somewhat-concerning stat. Miley, on the other hand, struck out eight Cubs in his seven innings pitched and allowed no walks and only five hits. Contreras’s homer was the only run he allowed, showing the Cubs how far this team actually is from having a solid starter. Pray for us all.

Sergio Alcantara had a few good throwing plays this game, which is good to see considering he seems to be the poor man’s Javy Baez replacement. Schwindel was also doing a good job of catching all of those throws—if a ball was hit to the infield today, the Cubs were able to get the out.

Manuel Rodriguez allowed two more Reds runs in the 8th inning, allowing big outfield hits that the current Cubs outfield couldn’t make plays on. The homer happy Cubs got two solo dingers in the bottom of the 8th from Rafael Ortega and Happ to make the score 4-3, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Reds took this one.

September 8, 2021
Cubs 4, Reds 1 (F/10)
WP: Heuer (7-2) LP: Brach (1-2)
Box Score

For the first four innings of this game the only runs to be had were solo dingers, one for each team: Ian Happ and Joey Votto, respectively. Other than that, it was for the most part a pitchers’ duel between Alec Mills and Vladimir Gutierrez. Mills was able to stay in for six innings and allowed four hits and a walk with three strikeouts. This is compared to Gutierrez, who despite only going five innings had twice as many strikeouts and half as many hits. Once again, our starting pitching has a long way to go to get to playoff contention.

Once Mills’s time was done, Rowan Wick allowed two hits but no runs in two innings pitched, and then Codi Heuer stepped to the mound to allow no hits and two strikeouts in his winning performance. His pitches are really something to watch; many of them never look like strikes because they’re always so inside, but whenever a player swings at those inside pitches they almost never make contact.

The unlikely hero of this game was Jason Heyward in the bottom of the 10th inning—everyone knew the ball was outta here seemingly as soon as the ball left his bat. He knocked in Contreras, the runner who had started on second base, and Patrick Wisdom, who hit a bloop to left field and ended up stealing second base soon after.

The Cubs are off today and then return this weekend to face the Giants and Kris Bryant, who is having the time of his life away from the Ricketts family and all you can do is wish him the best. Bryant was out on Tuesday for the Giants with an injury (shocker) but is supposed to make a quick return by the time this series tees off. Psst — remember Jake Jewell? Did you miss that he got picked off waivers when we tried to send him to the minors? (You wouldn’t be at fault if you did.) He’s now with the Giants’ AAA affiliate, which is where Jake Jewell is supposed to be when employed by a team with actual MLB-caliber players.

As for the Giants themselves, they still lead the MLB with 90 wins of this writing and will likely find themselves in the first-place playoff spot, as long as they keep the Dodgers an arm’s length away, which is what the Dodgers deserve. Wins will be hard to come by, and I’m not sure if Happ’s season in a can performance over the past month will be enough to fool this team. We’ll see what happens. Go Cubs go!

Baseball

In what was supposed to be a battle of bad pitching for this two-game series against the similarly terrible Minnesota Twins, the Cubs ended up winning both games with our own pitching holding things down. Not to mention it was a Joe West Production this series as we all sat and prayed that soon the season will be over and we’ll all be put out of our misery.

Despite there being a lack of offense for a majority of the series, the Cubs defense got out of jams when they needed to and held the Twins to only one run over the two games. Because there were no runs scored in 14 of the 18 innings I watched, there wasn’t a ton to review here, so let’s wrap this up quickly.

August 31, 2021
Cubs 3, Twins 1
WP: Rodriguez (3-2) LP: Gant (4-9)
Box Score

Allowing Frank Schwindel to homer off of you in the first pitch of the game is truly something else. A genuinely ridiculous way to start the game. But since nothing matters to either of these teams anymore, you can’t help but laugh at it all.

Zach Davies did…fine, I guess? He pitched 4.1 innings and allowed six hits, but only one run, the only run of the game. He also had three strikeouts on the day to put his ERA down to 4.91, which is still incredibly bad.

The middle of the game was incredibly boring thanks to the lack of offense. The Cubs’ fielders were able to help Davies hold the Twins to one run, which included a pretty nice sweeping catch by Patrick Wisdom at third base in the 4th inning. There was also a bases loaded situation in the 7th inning that Matt Duffy struck out to get the Twins out of the jam in true Matt Duffy fashion.

The bullpen actually did a pretty swell job. It was only Codi Heuer who allowed hits—three of them, actually, which loaded the bases in the 8th for the Twins (see below). Manuel Rodriguez got the win, continuing to impress. He, Adam Morgan and Rowan Wick allowed no hits in their combined 3.2 innings pitched.

Ian Happ continues to stay hot in the part of the season where nothing matters as he hit a solo homer in the 8th inning that was one of his longest ever. A half-inning later, it was the Twins’ turn to be in a bases loaded situation and Matt Duffy specifically decided he was going to make up for his blunderous at-bat earlier by catching a ball hit into right field and then throwing to home to tag a Twin at the plate to end the inning and the jam. Pretty impressive stuff, even if it is just the Twins.

September 1, 2021
Cubs 3, Twins 0
WP: Steele (3-2) LP: Ryan (0-1)
Box Score

The fun continued into yesterday as the Twins put on an even worse performance than the day before. It unfortunately came with Twins pitcher Joe Ryan making his major league debut. Despite striking out Ian Happ to start things off, he allowed an Alfonso Rivas walk (only his third game with the Cubs), an Andrew Romine double, and yet another Schwindel home run to make the score 3-0 Cubs. That’s it. That was the offense for the entire game.

Justin Steele started this game and got the win. He only allowed one hit and had three strikeouts in his 5 innings pitched. He also gave up three walks, something he should likely work on. Adbert Alzolay took over pitching for the rest of the game in his first relief appearance in about a year. He made things look easy with five strikeouts and one hit in forty total pitches thrown. Pretty good stuff, I guess.

The Cubs continue their garbage team tour with a series against the Pirates starting tonight. The Pirates continue to break barriers regarding how bad a major league team can be, despite the Orioles recently giving them a run for their money. They only have a .361 winning percentage and the White Sox pummeled them earlier this week despite coming off splitting a series with the Cardinals before that. Who knows what fun will be had this week and into the weekend. See you then to wrap things up. Go Cubs go!

Baseball

Amazingly, the Cubs were able to string together two wins in a row — something they haven’t done since August 17-18, and July 25-26 before that — and were pretty close to winning a third game in a row, which they haven’t done since June. It was good to finally watch some exciting baseball, despite it all being for naught and against another sub-.500 team. Players like Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ are producing offensively to mask the fact that our pitching is filled with question marks whose futures as elite MLB starters seem dubious at best. Let’s break the fun down, shall we?

August 23, 2021
Cubs 6, Rockies 4
WP: Rodriguez (2-2) LP: Bard (7-6)
Box Score

Once again, the Cubs proved they can for some reason only win when Kyle Hendricks starts, despite Hendricks not getting the win and not looking too good for this start. The Rockies quite quickly started wracking up the runs, scoring three in the 1st inning alone. Hendricks allowed three singles, a double and a walk in that inning, which certainly wasn’t his best work. However, he was able to steady himself for essentially the rest of his start, allowing “only” five more hits in his next six innings and striking out six batters.

The Cubs looked dead offensively for a large portion of this game, finally scoring a measly run in the 6th inning thanks to Frank Schwindel singling, Ian Happ doubling, Wisdom walking to load the bases, and David Bote scoring Schwindel despite hitting into a GIDP. Because of course he did.

Despite things looking bleak for most of this game, and things not looking better when Hendricks allowed one more Rockies run in the 7th inning to make it 4-1, the Cubs rallied amazingly starting in the 8th inning to take the game back. First, three walks in a row from the top of the order loaded the bases. Then there was a pitching change that ended up not helping the Rockies at all, as the pitcher, Carlos Estevez, immediately gave up a single, another Bote GIDP (we can’t make this up) and a double by Michael Hermosillo to let the Cubs tie the game and light up Wrigley Field for the first time in what seemed like weeks.

The game wasn’t over though: after Codi Heuer was able to hold off the Rockies in the 8th with no hits and a strikeout, Manuel Rodriguez was able to do the same to put the Cubs up in the 9th. Jason Heyward, with one of the worst batting averages and OPS on the team, came up to pinch hit and was able to single on the second pitch he saw. After Matt Duffy, pinch hitting for Rodriguez, struck out predictably, it was Rafael Ortega who was able to hit the two-run walk-off bomb to end the game. Despite the game not really mattering, Wrigley hadn’t been that loud in a long time.

August 25, 2021
Cubs 5, Rockies 2 (F/7)
WP: Heuer (5-2) LP: Gomber (9-8)
Box Score

Even more impressive than winning one game for this team is winning two in a row, but that’s exactly what the Cubs did—granted, it was only a seven-inning game, meaning there were less chances for things to go horribly wrong, but the Cubs were still able to get it done.

Despite a plethora of Cubs hits this game (eight is now a plethora), the runs all came from homers thanks to David Bote, Austin Romine, and Patrick Wisdom, whose three-run blast probably broke someone’s windshield on Waveland. Other than that, hits were pretty much had by all, with only Rafael Ortega, Matt Duffy and Andrew Romine going hitless this game. Yes, even starter Zach Davies poked in a single to start the 3rd.

Speaking of the 3rd inning, that was the last time the Cubs allowed a hit; for the next four innings, the Rockies’ bats were just about dead, getting shut down by a combination of Zach Davies (wha?), the bullpen, and the Cubs’ defense.

Codi Heuer came in at the end of the 5th and made things look easy out there; despite not striking anyone out, it didn’t take him long at all to goad the Rockies into initiating contact for easy outs. Though he has a 4.15 ERA for the year, it’s actually a 1.35 ERA with the Cubs so far, which is pretty impressive considering the literal whos this team has been trotting out behind him for almost a month now.

Adam Morgan got the save, and like Heuer strikeouts also do not seem to be his thing. However, Wisdom fielded the final out in left field to take the Cubs home with their second win in a row! The bar is incredibly low!

August 25, 2021
Cubs 10, Rockies 13 (F/10)
WP: Bowden (3-2) LP: Jewell (0-2)
Box Score

Despite coming back three times in the second half of yesterday’s doubleheader, the Cubs collapsed — likely of pure exhaustion — in the 10th inning after the game had stretched to four hours and a slew of players had played 17 innings of baseball in one day. Jake Jewell, the eighth Cubs pitcher of the day, gave up four runs in the 10th inning on three hits and a walk to finally end our suffering.

Despite being down two runs early thanks to Justin Steele giving up a walk and a homer, the Cubs were able to very quickly make up for that in a 2nd-inning rally that consisted of five singles, a double, and Ortega stealing home that made the game 5-2 Cubs.

Of course, the Cubs can’t always have nice things. Despite Justin Steele leading off with allowing two singles at the top of the 4th, he got two strikeouts in a row before Trevor Megill was trotted out in his place. Megill hit Charlie Blackmon with the ball to load the bases and then allowed Connor Joe With Two First Names to hit a grand slam that put the Rockies back in the lead, which they then extended in the 6th inning thanks to Rex Brothers being not as sharp as he usually is on the mound.

Despite it being 8-5 Rockies in the bottom of the 7th inning, Ian Happ’s three-run homer gave us extra innings of baseball, after Matt Duffy and Frank Schwindel singled. Happ had a pretty good game, despite his horrific bunting attempt with two runners on in the 9th inning being an incredibly questionable move. Although his batting average this season is still sub-.200, he has a .462 batting average and a 1.479 OPS over the past three Cubs series. His bat is sorely needed for the Cubs to even have a chance in the upcoming Sox series, so hopefully his hot streak continues.

Yes, the final White Sox series of the season is upon us as they continue to try and extend their lead in the AL Central as the playoffs draw near. Despite losing their last series against the Rays and allowing the Blue Jays to take two of their first three games in the current four-game series, the team will be tough to beat. I’m sure Sox fans will enjoy the welcome reprieve in their schedule to dunk on us. Hopefully the Cubs will continue the fighting spirit they showed this series to at least make the games competitive and interesting to watch. It’s really all that I ask. Go Cubs go!

Everything Else

With just a little over a month left in this lost season, the Cubs continue to get crushed offensively as the number of fans that continue to watch these games dwindles. This weekend, the Cubs got outscored 19-5 and there was genuinely not a lot of good to see there. Even Keegan Thompson’s day on the mound on Saturday was a pretty forgettable one. Finally, as the cherry on top of this garbage sandwich, the Cubs are now in the midst of the longest home game losing streak in franchise history with loss number 13 in a row happening last night at Wrigley. Let’s review this dreck.

August 20, 2021
Cubs 2, Royals 6
WP: Keller (8-12) LP: Davies (6-10)
Box Score

Despite going up 2-0 early, the Cubs just couldn’t hold on, allowing the Royals to hit five solo homers to win the game 6-2. Zach Davies allowed four of those homers in 6 innings pitched: one in the 4th inning, one in the 5th and two in the 6th. Past the 3rd inning, the Cubs’ offense only had two hits (and one walk) for the rest of the game. When you can’t figure out the Royals’ pitchers, well…that’s not good for you.

Ian Happ’s offensive skills are showing signs of life, sort of, despite it being a bit too little, too late. He and Wisdom were just about the only noticeable hitters, as Wisdom hit a solo homer to put the Cubs ahead in the 2nd, and in the 3rd Happ singled to score Zach Davies (that hit, RBI and run scored likely won’t be happening a year from now.)

The Cubs did no more hitting, as Davies gave up four solo homers despite only allowing one other hit for his six innings played today. However, those solo homers obviously added up especially once the Cubs’ bats went flat. Rex Brothers pitched one hitless inning and then Ryan Meisinger allowed two hits that let the Royals pile on their lead. Jake Jewell gave up a solo homer in the 9th to end things for us in a pretty forgettable game.

August 21, 2021
Cubs 2, Royals 4
WP: Bubic (4-6) LP: Thompson (3-3)
Box Score

Well, Keegan Thompson lost his second career start, but things are pretty much always terrible for the Cubs these days. He obviously seemed a little nervous or jittery for this start, as the first run against him was scored on a wild pitch after allowing two hits in the first two at-bats of the game. Hopefully with a few more starts things will start to calm down in that regard?

Meanwhile, the Cubs offense continues to be almost league-worst. This is best shown through Kris Bubic, a pitcher who allowed 9 hits and 7 runs in 1.1 innings his last start, being able to no-hit this team through six innings. The offense continues to be horrendously broken, but nowadays there are no longer MLB-caliber players who get blamed for it; now it’s just what this team is.

Patrick Wisdom continues to be the only consistent form of Cubs offense as of late with yet another two-run homer to make this game not as embarrassing as it could’ve been. (Frank Schwindel walked.) That was the only hit the Cubs had the entire game, and at this point there’s nothing left to do as fans but shrug and say, what can you do?

August 22, 2021
Cubs 1, Royals 9
WP: Hernandez (4-1) LP: Mills (5-6)
Box Score

The Cubs once again got crushed yesterday, with Ian Happ responsible for the lone Cubs tally today. The Cubs were only able to get 5 hits compared to the Royals’ 16, which means that nobody was surprised to see 9-1 being the final score.

The starting pitching continues to be an absolute disaster, as the bulk of the Royals’ offense came off of starter Alec Mills, who gave up 11 hits and 7 runs in only 4.0 innings pitched. Starts genuinely don’t get much worse than this, despite his five strikeouts. At least he didn’t walk anyone?

Rowan Wick, surprise surprise, was the only relief pitcher who gave up any more runs, which I would consider to be a step in the right direction for everyone else involved. Ryan Meisinger came out in the 5th inning to relieve Mills of his duties. He had runners on second and third and got a strikeout and no hits to lower his ERA to 11.12. He did allow a sacrifice fly that scored a runner but since that runner was put on base by Mills it didn’t count against him. Adrian Sampson, Rex Brothers and Michael Rucker combined for only three hits together in the last three innings of the game. They also got four strikeouts.

The Cubs couldn’t figure out Royals starter Carlos Hernandez, who stayed in the game for seven innings and gave up only four hits. In the 4th inning, Ian Happ hit a ground-rule double and Matt Duffy’s single two batters later was able to send him home. Other than that, Hernandez shut down the club and that continued through the Royals’ two innings of relief, where the Cubs only allowed one hit.

In case you still cared, the Cubs now play the Rockies for the first half of this week. The Rockies are about as bad as the Royals and look how that worked out for the Cubs this weekend. The ugliness continues; if you’re still crazy enough to watch and read about this team, I’ll be back midweek with the wrap. Go Cubs go.

Baseball

13.5 games back, playoff hopes decimated, and now losing two out of three to the Rockies, a team with a technically-worse record than us. This next month or two of Cubs baseball is going to suck, but let’s try to find the silver lining where we can.

The silverest of all the lining is Patrick Wisdom, who was the OPS leader for the Cubs in today’s game at a .907, despite having no hits. However, he had three in yesterday’s win and another in Tuesday’s loss. His hits are regularly the most interesting part of these games as he becomes the new star of this below average team.

Ian Happ, who struggled with the bat all season, is finally making a bit of contact, or at least putting himself on the god damned bases. Rafael Ortega continues his stint in the leadoff spot with hits in seven straight games. Even David Bote is sorta kinda showing a little bit of offensive promise since his return from injury, although if he could stop striking out so much that would be mighty cool.

The starters are still incredibly unreliable, and the bullpen is a bit unpredictable most of the time, as what feels like an endless stream of guys from the minors are being called up for their shot in the big leagues. It will still take some time to see what exactly we have here, especially since most of our players we traded for are currently injured or not yet big league ready. We shall see.

August 3, 2021
Cubs 6, Rockies 13
WP: Freeland (2-6) LP: Davies (6-8)
Box Score

Yikes.

The game started out on just the foot the Cubs needed, as David Ross very quickly gets himself ejected from the game in the 2nd inning for arguing balls and strikes. Granted, the umpire was making some garbage calls, calling strikes on balls at players’ shins. But whatever.

Despite getting on the board in the 2nd inning shortly after that thanks to a couple of sacrifice plays by Wisdom and Jason Heyward, things very quickly unraveled for starter Zach Davies at the bottom of the 2nd. Why, oh why, does he stay on this team? Trevor Story, who for all intents and purposes shouldn’t even be on the Rockies and yet still is, doubled to start the inning. A single and a walk later and the bases were loaded for the Rockies, just in time for Elias Diaz to hit a grand slam home run to make it 4-1 Rockies. The three outs were made shortly after that, but it was far too late for this club.

Happ hit a solo homer in the 4th as he starts, dare I say it, a little bit of an offensive hot streak? It once again didn’t matter too much, though, as the Rockies hit a three-run homer in the bottom of that inning thanks to Zach Davies once again allowing a double and single to put two runners on base.

We had some DUDES coming out of the bullpen, including Michael Rucker in his second career Cubs game. Rucker pitched 1.2 innings and allowed four hits and four runs for a lovely 12.27 ERA, but Davies had already lost the game at this point so nothing mattered. Trevor Megill made another appearance, and he actually had a solid outing for once, allowing no hits and striking out two in his 1.1 innings pitched, lowering his ERA down to a quaint 13.50. Rex Brothers, in usual fashion, allowed two more runs to end the game.

I guess I should mention the four runs in the last two innings, despite nothing mattering. Rafael Ortega singled, stole second, and Willson Contreras doubled to score him in. David Bote then doubled to score Contreras, but Wisdom struck out to end the inning. Two more runs were scored in the 9th, as Happ walked and scored on a Heyward double, and Heyward scored on a balk.

In other news, Wisdom was moved back to third base this game to make room for Frank Schwindel, also in his second career Cubs game. Schwindel’s only hit of the game was a double in the 1st, but it directly led to the first Cubs run, so it’s okay. At third, Wisdom was…certainly not Kris Bryant by any means, as a hard-hit ground ball in the 6th inning went right past him despite his best efforts trying to dive for the ball.

August 4, 2021
Cubs 3, Rockies 2
WP: Mills (5-4) LP: Gray (7-7)
Box Score

Amazingly, the Cubs had a come from behind win in what was mostly a sleeper game except for the two total innings where any runs were scored. Led by Alec Mills, who gave up two runs for the Rockies in the 1st inning and then not again, the Cubs’ pitching actually looked, dare I say it, kind of good? Mills DID give up four hits in the 1st, but he gave up only four more over the next five innings in which he pitched, which I guess is progress. (The bar is very low around these parts.)

Both teams generated some hits throughout this game, though they were mostly singles and the occasional double that didn’t amount to anything. The Cubs got struck out the side in the 3rd inning on fifteen pitches, which is certainly not a good thing to be doing. But it was the 5th inning where the Cubs were ready to generate just enough offense to take over the game, with Rafael Ortega, Willson Contreras, and Ian Happ at the head — the new normal for this team.

Happ has been getting on base lately through walks, but it seems like whatever he’s doing is working for the Cubs, because he’s certainly been scoring lately. Today was no different; he walked to load the bases as Patrick Wisdom was able to step up to the plate to hit a double that scored all three runners thanks to some good hustling by all involved. It would give the Cubs the 3-2 lead that would stick for the rest of the game.

Our bullpen that consisted of Adam Morgan, Codi Heuer and Manuel Rodriguez, our new closer I guess, gave up only two hits and had two strikeouts and no walks. Rodriguez garnered up his first career save — a genuine congratulations to him. It was enough to win just one over the Rockies.

August 5, 2021
Cubs 5, Rockies 6
WP: Kinley (2-2) LP: Jewell (0-1)
Box Score

Well, the Cubs tried mighty hard to stay in this one, but five runs isn’t enough these days when you have poor ol’ Jake Arrieta on the mound. The Rockies scored once an inning for four straight innings, which included three solo homers given up by Arrieta. The 3rd inning was just three singles that ended up scoring a runner, so again, it was not great here on the pitching front.

However, despite the Cubs being struck out the side again this game and the runs against them piling up and up, a somewhat miraculous 4-run rally in the 5th inning kept them ahead for just a few minutes. It was thanks to a few new guys in Johneshwy Fargas and Andrew Romine who started the singling off, with Ortega and Contreras batting everyone in to the take the lead.

Despite this, Jake Jewell replaced Arrieta for the bottom of this inning and ended up giving up a two-run homer only two batters in that would give the Rockies a lead they wouldn’t surrender. It was only Jewell’s 23rd major league appearance, and at this point nothing matters, so all you can do is shrug and say, “It happens.”

The Cubs scored one more inning in the 6th but it was futile, though it was good to see Bote double and Schwindel bat him in on a single. Since the short-lived attempt of having Wisdom play first base right after Rizzo was traded, Schwindel seems to be The Guy over there. Before this game, Schwindel has had only two hits in his nine plate appearances so far this season, but today he had two hits and an RBI. He’s one to watch, if only because there’s not much else to see.

The Cubs are now slated to very likely get demolished by their cross-town rivals this weekend (sorry, but it’s true). The dichotomy between these two teams can’t get much bigger, as the Sox are legitimate World Series contenders, and we are continuing a freefall down the standings the likes we haven’t seen in a long time. It likely won’t be pretty this weekend, but hey, it’s what happens. At least we’ll get to see old friends Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel back in town, and although time heals all wounds, it’s probably still a bit too soon. I’ll be back after this weekend to cover it all. Go Cubs go.

Baseball

It’s not good when a team like the Nationals, who also sold any good player that existed on their lineup over the trade deadline, ends up beating you in the series. We have some dark days ahead with this team.

In the meantime, Rafael Ortega has decided this is his team now, as he cements himself as the new leadoff hitter for the club while garnering eight hits and batting in eight runs this series, including today’s three-homer effort. That’s him being directly responsible for 57% of the Cubs’ total runs this series, if you’re keeping track. Despite considering him a below-average outfielder, he’s the only reason the Cubs were even kind of in this series at all, so he deserves some recognition.

Patrick Wisdom is also making some good plays at first base, since we all need some good news. Unfortunately, he was also a part of some ugly plays like in today’s game when the ball was hit right past him despite his diving effort to stop it from getting to the outfield. Hopefully with some more time on first base regularly he will get the hang of things and be more reliable there.

July 30, 2021
Cubs 3, Nationals 4
WP: Espino (3-2) LP: Arrieta (5-10)
Box Score

Yep, we’re back to playing Jake Arrieta now after trading Trevor Williams and until players like Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele are “stretched out” enough to start, as the Marquee announcers can’t stop reminding us. Arrieta, as usual, only pitched four innings and allowed 7 hits and 2 runs during his tenure on the mound. One of those hits was a homer in the 2nd inning that gave the Nationals the lead, and then an error in the 3rd inning gave the Nats the 2-1 lead, as the throw to first was unable to be completed on an infield hit.

Rafael Ortega started his tear in the 3rd inning as he doubled to score new full-time shortstop Sergio Alcantara, who doubled earlier in the game as well. However, the Cubs allowed a home run in the 5th inning off of new pitcher Michael Rucker, and in the 6th inning a fly ball to Ortega in center field went way over his head when he tried to catch it, allowing for a base hit and a 4-1 Nats lead.

The Cubs tried to get back in it in the 8th inning, when Patrick Wisdom was able to hit a ball past the third baseman into left field to score Ortega and Contreras. Despite Heyward singling in the 9th inning, the Cubs batted into a double play and a diving catch by the Nats’ shortstop kept Sergio Alcantara from extending the game.

July 31, 2021
Cubs 6, Nationals 3
WP: Hendricks (13-4) LP: Ross (5-9)
Box Score

Ortega again started things off in the 1st inning by singling; he then stole 2nd base when Ian Happ predictably struck out swinging. Wisdom then hit the ball to right field, the outfielder just missing the catch and giving Ortega the chance to score.

Kyle Hendricks, additionally, was the starter who won his 11th straight game for the Cubs. Things were a little tense to begin his outing, though, as he allowed a fly ball to Yadiel Hernandez, one that neither Happ nor Ortega could field properly, allowing the Nats to tie things up quickly. Luckily, Hendricks was all but nails for the rest of his time out, allowing no more runs and pitching for 7 full innings, ending the day with only four hits allowed and a walk with three strikeouts.

The Cubs broke the game open in the 4th inning after a deluge of offense from some unlikely (and new) faces. David Bote doubled to start things off, hitting a ball to far left field. Later, Sergio Alcantara hit another ball to far left to score Bote, which the Nats’ outfielder also failed to catch. Andrew Romine (yes, older brother of Austin Romine, because Chicago sports teams can’t seem to stop acquiring brothers to put in the lineup together) had his second hit of the night, a double to score Alcantara. Then Ortega hit another home run, as he is wont to do these days, to give the Cubs a commanding 5-1 lead by the end of the inning. Jason Heyward even joined in on the offensive fun, driving in David Bote in the 7th to make it 6-1.

As soon as Kyle Hendricks was pulled in the 8th, Rex Brothers gave up his usual deluge: a double, a walk, a single, and another single to make it 6-2 Nationals. With no outs. So it became time to bring up Codi Heuer, the reliever from the White Sox we received in exchange for Craig Kimbrel (and really the only player we traded for who can currently play in the MLB). Heuer has a lot to prove among Cubs fans; he was okay in his rookie season last year but looks much worse this season, with a 5.12 ERA and his 22 runs allowed in 40 games started…yeeikes.

Despite being put in a bases loaded situation with zero outs, Heuer got the job done with the help of the defense behind him. He got the Nats batter to ground into a force out, as Bote threw the ball to Contreras to get the out at home. Heuer then gave up a sacrifice fly ball to center field, with Ortega making the catch. Then, he gave up a ground ball that was easily fielded to Wisdom from Romine. The Cubs made a successful double play to end the game with a win.

August 1, 2021
Cubs 5, Nationals 6
WP: Finnegan (4-2) LP: Rodriguez (0-1)
Box Score

Ortega started this rainy game off with a solo homer, because of course he did. A groundout and two strikeouts later, however, ended the inning with no more offense. Robinson Chirinos, the catcher of the day, had a line drive robbed by a Nats outfielder in the 2nd, and a strikeout after him by Alcantara kept the score 1-0.

It was not Adbert Alzolay’s day, as he had an especially difficult third inning. A single and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second base. Then an intentional walk and a Josh Bell single scored two more Nationals runs. Josh Bell’s single was a nightmare, a catastrophe of epic proportions for the Cubs defense. The ball was hit to left, thrown to home by Happ to try and stop the home plate runner, but thrown wildly off base, so Chirinos threw to second, also off base, allowing Juan Soto to score also because nobody was covering home…I shudder just thinking about this play. We are bad. Let’s move on.

Another Nats single scored one more runner, a wild pitch advanced Yadiel Hernandez to second base, Luis Garcia was walked, and finally Alzolay was able to strike out Carter Kieboom to end the 3rd. Alzolay only pitched five innings, allowing seven hits and four of the six Nationals runs. He walked four batters and struck out four as well. But thanks to the Cubs not exactly giving up offensively, he was off the hook for the loss.

Bote had multiple grounders and line drives fly right past him at second base today, which is painful to watch. Josh Bell just one inning later in the 4th hit the ball right over him, scoring Rene Rivera to make it 4-1 Nats in a bases-loaded situation.

Romine got himself on first base with the 6th inning, and Ortega homered him home to make it a one-run game, the Cubs suddenly only trailing 4-3. Adam Morgan got the outs necessary in the 6th to keep things rolling, but it was Kyle Ryan who gave up a solo homer to Yadiel Hernandez in the 7th to extend the Nats’ lead. Ortega once again homered — his THIRD of the game, if you’re counting — to score two more Cubs runners in the 8th inning to tie it, putting the offense of his team solely on his back in amazing fashion and for now making up for his iffy play in the outfield.

Heuer was again put in for the 8th inning today, and gave up a single, a sac bunt and an intentional walk before Alcantara and Wisdom threw themselves a double play to end the inning. A bit of a shaky appearance, but don’t worry, this was totally worth Craig Kimbrel. Manuel Rodriguez, pitching in his second-ever MLB game, replaced Heuer in the bottom of the 9th, and he gave up a leadoff solo homer to Hernandez to give the Nats the walk-off win.

Life rolls on aimlessly for the Cubs as they face the Colorado Rockies this week, another garbage team who didn’t trade Trevor Story at the deadline and therefore threw their organization into even more internal turmoil than it was already in. The Cubs are still trying to find their footing post-deadline, so having another weak opponent is…good, I guess?

The secret to winning for the Cubs will probably be getting offense from people not named Rafael Ortega, but Ortega should continue his home run tear if he can help it. The lost season continues; see you soon. Go Cubs go!

Baseball

It’s bad, folks. The team is not good; despite ending their double-digit losing streak on Wednesday, the Cubs got beat down every other game, including getting blanked last night 8-0. Every facet of the team is now somehow to blame, from the starting pitching, to the streaky offense, to the imperfect defense, to scraping the bottom of the barrel with catchers available in the system so Contreras can have a day off, to the bullpen finally wearing out.

Jed Hoyer said yesterday he’s been taking calls to sell at the deadline. Brace yourselves, everyone: a fire sale is coming.

July 5, 2021
Cubs 3, Phillies 13
WP: Brogdon (5-2) LP: Brothers (2-2)
Box Score

I’ve spent the last week-plus talking quite poorly about this team, as you know if you too subject yourself to too much inconsistent, crappy baseball. Perhaps you too felt a flicker of hope when, in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Cubs were able to load the bases thanks to two walks and a single by Anthony Rizzo after only 1 out. However, we came back to reality after watching both Patrick Wisdom and Joc Pederson get struck out to strand all three baserunners. It was a sign of things to come.

The things to come were just more of the same. The Phillies tied the game a half-inning later, and the Cubs were able to score in the bottom of the 3rd again, thanks to a Kris Bryant single and a Javy Baez double. Once again, the Cubs would score all their runs in the first few innings of the game and then proceed to collapse late in the game, a sign that the bullpen is exhausted.

This was Zach Davies’ start, and he allowed two of the runs early. He also allowed four hits and two walks in only 5.0 innings pitched. Both his runs were home runs, but the numbers still aren’t pretty.

Rex Brothers allowed two more Phillies runs to start the 6th inning. He only pitched a third of the inning, and we got to watch Rossy get ejected after that walk was called, arguing balls and strikes with the umpire in a show of frustration not usually seen from him. It wouldn’t help to rally the offense by any means, of course. For the rest of the game the Cubs only had two singles and a Baez solo home run. Meanwhile, the Phillies put up six more runs in the 8th and three more in the 9th, absolutely lighting up Adam Morgan to the point where he allowed three runs without even a single out. Kohl Stewart threw the rest of the inning while allowing three runs and a walk, and we got to watch Eric Sogard pitch for the third time this year, which becomes more of a disgrace every time I have to watch it.

July 6, 2021
Cubs 10, Phillies 15
WP: Nola (6-5) LP: Arrieta (5-9)
Box Score

The time to part ways from Jake Arrieta has long since passed, sad as it may be. But loading the bases in the 1st inning, with no outs, and allowing a grand slam to put this team in the hole to start out the game is just unacceptable. Trevor Williams was activated from the IR today, finally recovered from his appendix surgery, and at this point even he seems like a better option.

The Phillies were able to score again in the 2nd inning after Joc Pederson committed an incredible two errors on a single play, dropping the ball, allowing it to bounce away and off his shoe and dropping it a SECOND TIME before throwing it to Sergio Alcantara at second base. Of course, the runner was safe. A ball hit to him just a few batters later resulted in yet another bases-loaded situation, and this time Ian Happ wanted to get in on the errorpalooza, unable to properly field a hit to center field, resulting in yet another runner scoring.

By this time it was 7-0 Phillies. In the 3rd inning, a Cubs rally finally ensued to let everyone know we weren’t watching a bunch of lifeless bodies out on the field. It started with the bottom of the lineup, too, as Alcantara and Rafael Ortega both hit singles. Pederson’s offensive attempts to make up for his defensive blunders somewhat succeeded when he doubled to score a run. Kris Bryant singled as well and scored a second runner — good thing he’ll be gone at the deadline, am I right? Baez was so close to a three-run homer, but a sacrifice fly to make it 7-3 is better than nothing in this situation.

The Phillies scored two more runs in the 4th inning, in which we saw Trevor Williams come out to the mound. He pitched longer than anyone on the mound for the Cubs, at 3.2 innings. However, he allowed seven runs total, just as much as Arrieta, so I guess scratch him being a better option. Pitching’s just not good.

The Cubs had a measly solo home run in the 6th thanks to Baez again, but just a half-inning later Williams’s collapse of two singles, a fielding error and a home run this inning made it 12-4 Phillies. Bryce Harper immediately homered off of his replacement, Dan Winkler. The Cubs were able to string some offense and hits together for the last few innings, with a slew of singles, doubles and a pair of homers from Baez and backup-backup-backup catcher Robinson Chirinos. Despite scoring 6 runs in the last 3 innings, the hole the Cubs dug themselves into in the first two thirds of the game was insurmountable. Surprised?

July 7, 2021
Cubs 8, Phillies 3
WP: Mills (4-2) LP: Wheeler (6-5)
Box Score

The Cubs finally won a game, which is technically progress. They did it thanks to the help of Alec Mills, who pitched five scoreless innings against the Phillies, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk during those innings, before tiring out in the 6th and allowing a single, a double and a home run to score three batters.

Thanks in part to the pitching, the Cubs were able to get going offensively and stay afloat. They scored three runs in the 1st inning off of four singles and a fielding error by the Phillies. They scored two more runs in the 2nd inning after two singles and a triple by Anthony Rizzo. Although the bats slowed down in the middle of the game, the Cubs were able to answer to the Phillies’ three-run 6th inning with three runs of their own at the bottom of the inning. It was Patrick Wisdom with two RBIs in that inning who scored Ian Happ and Joc Pederson; Pederson’s single scored Nico Hoerner, who singled to start off the inning.

The Cubs are a little banged up, what with Sogard on the IL and Baez getting benched amid a hot offensive streak because of his finger again. Kris Bryant left this game with hamstring tightness, also, but Wisdom replacing him ended up being not too shabby. Will an injury now plummet his trade value, however? You know the Rickettses are worried.

The team came through with a win despite the shabby lineup. Hoerner was in good company with Rizzo and Pederson; all three had two hits on the night. Rafael Ortega, known for getting on base in pinch-hitting situations, had a rough go of it with three strikeouts, but other than that everyone seemed okay. The bullpen of Rex Brothers, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel gave up no runs, of course, and only one hit to close out the game effectively.

July 9, 2021
Cubs 0, Phillies 8
WP: Elfin (4-6) LP: Alzolay (4-9)
Box Score

Alzolay did throw some good pitches last night, getting five strikeouts and only one walk in five innings. Unfortunately, he’s still bleeding hits, with five in this start, leading to four runs by the Phillies. He was at first able to keep the damage down to a minimum, allowing a run in the 2nd and 3rd innings, giving the offense lots of time to score runs of any caliber. By the 5th inning, though, he gave up a single and a home run, and without the Cubs scoring any runs it seemed all but over by that point.

Good thing Cory Abbott is here to save the day in the bullpen! He pitched the 6th without allowing any runs mostly thanks to the fielding behind him not committing an error. He was able to get out of the inning in a bases loaded situation but would not be so lucky in the 7th. He allowed a single, a home run, a double and another home run to give the Phillies a commanding 8-0 lead that would stay that way the rest of the game.

I don’t even want to talk about the offense, do you? The Cubs only had five hits; I’d say they weren’t coming from their big guns but the only “core” players playing last night were Rizzo and Heyward. The team left 12 runners on base, but only two of them ever made it to scoring position. It was an ugly game to end an ugly series, one that cemented the fact that Jed Hoyer is going to be selling this team for parts, and stat.

Nothing matters anymore, so why not play the Cardinals this weekend? They are exactly tied with us in the standings except they’ve won six of their last ten as opposed to us only winning one. It’s going to be an ugly series by every stretch of the imagination; watch only if you dare, but as always, go Cubs go!