Baseball

In a series of come-from-behind wins and no thanks to any of the starters, the Cubs swept the Pirates in a bunch of very close games over the weekend to extend their meaningless win streak against more minor-league-caliber teams to six.

Obviously, this is not something to get overly excited about. If you’re keeping the Pirates in these games as much as the Cubs were, your team has some real issues, and it’s still unclear if the solutions for those issues are still in-house. Personally, I’m not convinced the starting pitching is yet, but what do I know? I’m just a blogger.

At least Frank Schwindel is here to save us.

Let’s break these games down.

September 2, 2021
Cubs 6, Pirates 5 (F/11)
WP: Heuer (6-2) LP: Howard (2-3)
Box Score

Keegan Thompson was given yet another start, and pretty quickly gave up a three-run homer for the Pirates in merely the 1st inning. The Cubs were able to get two runners on in the bottom of the inning, mirroring the Pirates, except two strikeouts for the Cubs ended things with no runners scoring.

Luckily for us, the Pirates ended up choking in the 7th inning, with Robinson Chirinos and Sergio Alcantara getting a respective single and double. Then Rafael Ortega hit a three-run homer to tie the game. Then not long after that Ian Happ hit a two-run homer to take the lead. (Now it’s time for you to realize that Ian Happ is still 5th on this team for batting average, third in OPS, and third in slugging on this team despite only getting hot for like a month. And he is still training Willson Contreras in all of those stats, who just came back from injury. It’s really something.)

A pinch-hit single to right field in the top of the 9th ended up tying the game for the Pirates, which means we were forced to watch even more of this than we bargained for. It took almost two more innings before the Pirates completely blundered the game in the most hilarious possible way, as Ian Happ hit an infield pop fly and Pirates’ second baseman Wilmer Difo dropped the ball to score the winning run on second base.

Thompson didn’t have a good outing by any stretch of the imagination, getting pulled in the 2nd inning by Ross after throwing only 54 pitches and allowing four hits and three runs, one of which a homer. Adrian Sampson, Scott F-Ross, and Adam Morgan all had good outings, allowing no hits combined for 6.1 innings and eight (!!!!????) strikeouts.

Rowan Wick, surprisingly to nobody, blew the save with the three hits and two runs in the 9th inning. Let’s not use him as closer again, shall we? He was soon replaced by our new regular closers, Manuel Rodriguez and Codi Heuer, who were able to help the Cubs close out the game with a W.

September 3, 2021
Cubs 6, Pirates 5
WP: Megill (1-0) LP: Miller (0-1)
Box Score

Things got a little wild this game with ump calls, rulebook headscratchers, and the like. Not to mention the Cubs defense was not good. However, they were able to pull out their fourth straight W, albeit against dumpster fire teams.

It was also unclear whether who was actually in charge of the ball club halfway through the game since Ross tested positive for COVID-19 before the game and Andy Green got ejected for absolutely handing it to the umpires in a socially-distanced manner. Hats were thrown to the ground and everything. The clown show here never ceases.

Things started out okay, as the Cubs got five runs on the Pirates in three innings—and none of those were homers, surprisingly. Singles and walks galore were given out by Pirates starter Steven Brault, who gave up seven hits and five runs in his four innings pitched.  By the end of this game, the only batter who didn’t get a hit was Jason Heyward. No surprise there, am I right?

Despite the five-run lead, the Cubs predictably blew it, specifically by allowing two Anthony Alford home runs in two innings. Alford’s career slash line is .168/.225/.309, by the way. So that’s pretty bad. Wisdom had a good catch in the 5th inning to stop a hit, but other than that the defense was atrocious. He also errored in the next inning, and Andy Green got ejected after we all watched one of the worst throws from Sergio Alcantara I’ve ever seen. Green argued interference, was ejected, and then promptly blew a gasket on the field in the most hilarious way possible, because once again, nothing matters.

After Alford’s second homer that knocked in three runs to tie the game, it was thanks to Frank Schwindel’s solo dinger in the bottom of the inning that the Cubs were able to get out of this one with a win. Perhaps we didn’t deserve this one.

September 4, 2021
Cubs 7, Pirates 6
WP: Effross (1-0) LP: Stratton (5-1)
Box Score

The Cubs didn’t exactly deserve this win either, but when the Pirates closer just about hands it to you in the 9th inning you don’t refuse it.

The Cubs started out in the hole after Kyle Hendricks gave up a solo homer in the 1st. Hendricks only gave up three other hits until the 5th inning, where things went completely off the rails. A walk, a single, two walks in a row, and a hit by pitch ended Hendricks’s day as he let the Pirates tie things up there.

Ian Happ had a nice double in the 4th inning that barely stayed fair, and it became one of many hits and on-bases in the 4th inning as the Pirates proved themselves to be defensive disasters. By the end of the 4th, Happ, Contreras and Wisdom scored to make it 3-1 Cubs before Hendricks allowed the game to get tied up.

Outfield catching was the name of the game today. Rafael Ortega was able to save another Pirates run or two in the 2nd by making a crazy diving catch in the outfield to end the inning with no additional scoring. Happ later decided that defense was his specialty by catching an otherwise foul ball in the 5th inning, but unfortunately the pitching performance for the Cubs in that same inning made it all for naught.

Down 6-3 by the bottom of the 5th inning, Schwindel hit a solo homer to make the deficit just a bit smaller. No more offense was seen until the Pirates utterly choked in the bottom of the 9th inning, giving the Cubs the walk-off win thanks to hits by Matt Duffy, Alfonso Rivas, Ortega and Schwindel again getting the winning hit after the Pirates’ first baseman whiffed on the tag.

September 5, 2021
Cubs 11, Pirates 8
WP: Alzolay (5-13) LP: Howard (2-4)
Box Score

Once again, the Cubs went down early in the 1st inning thanks to a Pirates solo homer. It became the first in a series of back-and-forth half-innings where the teams were trading leads with each other. Matt Duffy and Jason Heyward, two extremely unlikely duos, hit solo homers in the 2nd to take things back, but the Pirates ended up scoring four runs on Zach Davies in the 3rd to put them back on top. He still sucks.

The Cubs came back after this inning and ended up scoring 5, with Schwindel and Happ getting hits, Ortega and Wisdom with walks, and Matt Duffy with a three-run homer. The 4th was a scoreless inning, but the Pirates ended up tying things up with a litany of hits in the top of the 5th after Davies was yanked for Rex Brothers. Brothers gave up three walks and a sac fly, which was infuriating to watch. Then Manuel Rodriguez threw a wild pitch after replacing Brothers so the Pirates could tie the game, though putting him in that bases-loaded situation certainly wasn’t a recipe of success for him in this outing. We’ll let it slide.

The Pirates scored another run in the 6th to give them the lead, but it was Schwindel who continues to crush every ball that comes his way, this time with a grand slam in the 7th inning to give the Cubs the lead for good. He scored Robinson Chirinos and Ortega, who walked, and Rivas, who singled, to win this one.

Adbert Alzolay collected the win as he once again came out of the pen for 1.2 innings and threw pretty good ball. I am now firmly in the camp that Alzolay maybe just doesn’t have that starter ability, and he should be kept in the pen where he is serviceable and (the Ricketts will hate this one) you’ll definitely have to spend some big bucks on some actual starters if you REALLY want to accelerate the rebuild for next year. But that’s just me.

Starting shortly, the Cubs will probably get shellacked in a series against the Cincinnati Reds, who are currently half a game back of the Padres for the final wild card spot and dammit, Cubs, just win to make things a little more difficult for the Reds, okay? The Padres are also playing a relatively bad team in the Angels, but everyone is fully aware that Shohei Ohtani can simply  will that team to a win whenever he wants to turn on his god-tier playing status. Hopefully it will be something worth watching, as the Cubs work to be playoff spoilers. 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!

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!