Cubs swept double by Cardinals, 8-5 and 12-4
Look at it this way.
The Cubs are in pretty good company. The Cardinals, sweeping a Cubs double-schedule Friday 8-5 and 12-4, set a franchise record winning their 13th and 14th straight games. During that streak, they swept the Brewers, who are on the verge of winning NL Central. The Brewers are a much better team than the Cubs.
Feel better now? No? Let’s review these two losses, played out on a hot and windy afternoon and evening in early fall.
In Game 1, Justin Steele and the Cubs faced the Cardinals tied for the first two innings. Moral victory! (The Cubs probably lead the league in moral wins this year.)
Steele served a two-run homerun to Paul Goldschmidt in the third, and that was partly the fault of his walk delivered to Cardinals pitcher JA Happ. You just can’t do that and be successful.
In the fifth, David Ross left Steele to take a pretty good pounding, as pinch hitter Jose Rondon smashed a two-ons, as did Tyler O’Neill, O’Neill’s Waveland hitter.
Steele was clearly out of gas and… well, I just don’t know why Ross would have let him stay in the game for so long. It was 6-0 after five and 8-0 after Tommy Nance allowed two more in the sixth.
It was then that the Cubs decided to at least make the game interesting. The first two Cubs were easy outs in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Duffy walked and Sergio Alcántara broke the shutout [VIDEO].
David Bote called with a single and Trayce Thompson was hit with a pitch. Austin Romine then made it an 8-4 game [VIDEO].
The wind took that ball over Harrison Bader’s head, but now things were interesting, and Willson Contreras made them more interesting with an RBI double. [VIDEO].
It’s 8-5 now, what if those two points hadn’t scored Nance, or if Ross had relieved Steele in the fifth, or if the Cubs hadn’t left the goals with an out in the fourth without scoring, or if …
Yes, yes, yes, that was the story of the Cubs’ 2021 season.
Thanks to Jason Adam, who suffered a horrific ankle injury during batting practice in Iowa in May, for recovering from his injury. Having a chance in the big leagues again as a double-titled “extra man”, he knocked out Nolan Arenado, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong in a 1-2-3 seventh.
The Cubs also lost 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. As has been typical for some of those seven-set matches, some fans looked confused and unwilling to leave the stadium when the players left the pitch at the end of that round which ended the game.
In game 2, Zach Davies … oh, man, Zach Davies. Four hits and a walk allowed in the first inning gave St. Louis a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs, to their credit, returned with two of their own at the end of the first. Frank Schwindel chose with a pullout. He also scored a single in Game 1 and now has a 13-game hitting streak, tied with Kris Bryant for the longest time by any Cub this year.
Patrick Wisdom then sent a baseball deep into the night [VIDEO].
This ball: Crushed!
Circuits Patrick Wisdom (28): balloon at CF (2 points)
Stroke: 453 ft, 106.6 mph, 31 °
Pitch: 93.3 mph four-seam fastball (RHP Jack Flaherty, 12)
– Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) September 25, 2021
So it’s 3-2. Competitive play?
Uh no. Not with Davies on the mound. Two Cardinals singles took Tyler O’Neill to plate with one out and … presto, it’s 6-2.
Davies made it out of the inning, one way or another, then Ross pulled it out for a pinched hitter, which accomplished this:
Zach Davies has three games this season with 6+ ER and no more than 2 IP. In modern Cubs history (since 1901), only Ray Burris (1978) and Virgil Cheeves (1921) have achieved this dubious feat.
– Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 25, 2021
Virgil Cheeves died in 1979, otherwise I’m sure he would be comforted to have company.
Sigh. I’m so done with Davies, I’m sure he’s a nice person who loves animals and is kind to his mom, but I don’t want to see him throw for the Cubs anymore. He’s having one of the worst seasons of all time for a Cubs starter, at least the worst since Edwin Jackson’s terrible 2014 season.
He won’t pitch enough innings to be a qualified starter (he would need 162 and has 148 with probably one more start), but the 5.78 ERA is horrible, he leads the MLB with 75 walks and during his last 14 starts since July 10: 7.99 ERA, 1.877 WHIP, 17 circuits authorized in 59⅔ innings. If you want a worse stretch:
Dating back to July 28, Cubs starter Zach Davies has a 9.13 ERA with a WHIP of 1.85. The right-hander allowed 16 homers in 45.1 IP with 44 strikeouts and 21 walks.
His ERA season swelled to 5.78 from 4.30 during that span.
– Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 25, 2021
It didn’t improve with Michael Rucker on the mound in the third. He served back-to-back homers to Lars Nootbaar and Paul DeJong.
Can I just interrupt you here to say that “Lars Nootbaar” has to be one of the best baseball names of all time?
The Cubs got one of those points in the third. Schwindel doubled up and two eliminations brought him home, and no, I’m not going to bother showing you an RBI elimination that made it 8-2.
It was 9-2 in the fifth when pinch hitter Matt Duffy hit a single, Rafael Ortega passed it in the third and Schwindel was hit to charge the goals.
One outing later, Ian Happ tackled Duffy with a sacrifice fly, and oh, okay, here’s the video.
That’s where we are in Cubs history – a video showing a sacrificial fly that reduced the Cubs deficit in a game from six points to five.
He stayed that way for just one more round. In the seventh, Adam Morgan, who has actually been quite good recently, was touched up for three more Cardinals points, including two more homers (Harrison Bader and Nootbaar’s second of the game). It got so bad that David Ross put Sergio Alcántara on the mound with two outs and Morgan throwing 26 shots.
Alcántara recorded the final on a pitch that was recorded at 91 miles per hour [VIDEO].
Hey, he’s got a good arm. If the concert on the pitch doesn’t work … why not try it as a pitcher?
Incidentally, the Cardinals won Game 2 behind two injured pitchers who pitched most of the game. Starter Jack Flaherty was coming out of a shoulder injury and was scheduled to make no more than 20 shots. Dakota Hudson had Tommy John surgery less than a year ago and it’s a very quick comeback after this kind of operation.
One final note about Game 2: There was another seven-innings game playing concurrently with the double-headed glass, a resumption of a suspended July game between the Braves and the Padres. This game ended before the end of Game 2 of the Cubs Doubles Program. At the moment, no other double schedule is planned for the remainder of the 2021 season for any team. Unless some rain over the next eight days requires a doubles program, Game 2 Friday night at Wrigley will be the last MLB game in seven innings of 2021 – and possibly the last game of this. type, if the MLB decides to drop this rule in the future. (Personally, for dual programs, I agree with this rule if they decide to keep it.)
The Cubs played four doubles programs in 2021, so we should be thanking the weather for cutting that horrid season down to 32 innings.
In fact, Game 2 was played under the threat of rain that was to strike in the middle of the evening. With the exception of a few light drops, no rain fell during the match and the rain only hit the north side about an hour after it ended. Fortunately, the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend calls for sunshine and pleasant temperatures in the 70s.
The Cubs still have a chance to end the Cardinals’ winning streak, which the Mets, Padres and Brewers were unable to do. On Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, Adrian Sampson will start for the Cubs against our old pal Jon Lester, who received a pre-game tribute for his 200th career win before Game 1 [VIDEO].
Match time on Saturday is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.