Jason Heyward had three hits Saturday night, bringing his BA and OPS to their highest points since early April. He's hitting .435/.519/.609 (10-for-23) since being dropped to sixth in the batting order, with two doubles, a triple, four walks and no strikeouts.
Anthony Rizzo nearly hit for the cycle Saturday night. He came to the plate in the eighth inning with a single, double and triple to his credit, and he missed hitting a home run -- to the opposite field, no less -- by about six inches. He wound up with his second double of the night. Here are all four of Rizzo's hits [VIDEO].
Spencer Patton, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon each threw a scoreless inning of relief, combining for seven strikeouts. Grimm and Rondon both struck out all three batters they faced.
You want to hear the details of the Cubs' 12-6 loss to the Pirates, the team's season-high fifth straight loss. Or, maybe you really don't (I certainly don't really want to write them), but that's why you're here and that's what I do after each game, write up a recap and some thoughts about the game.
So, in about as condensed and nice a way as I can do it, here you go.
The Cubs actually had the lead in this game. Twice, in fact. Ben Zobrist homered with a runner on in the first for a 2-0 lead. After Jon Lester coughed it up in the second, the Cubs took the lead back 4-3 on RBI singles by Willson Contreras and Javier Baez.
Two Pirates homers off Lester in the fourth made it 5-4 Bucs, but the first of Rizzo's doubles scored Kris Bryant, who had also doubled, to tie the game.
I really should end this here.
No? You want more?
Fine, then. Lester was excused after a three-inning effort that saw him allow six hits and three walks as well as the five runs. After being named National League Pitcher of the Month for June, Lester has been horrific in July: 4.1 innings, 13 hits, 13 earned runs, four walks, five home runs, 27.00 ERA, 3.923 WHIP. Lester's season ERA has gone up by almost a full run in just those two starts, from 2.03 to 3.01. Yikes.
Adam Warren, who had been so good in his start Wednesday against the Reds, was equally horrific. Maybe two days' rest wasn't enough after his 93-pitch effort. (Probably.) The Pirates took the lead back on a two-run single by Andrew McCutchen.
Still, it's only 7-5 at that point, going into the fifth inning, and the Cubs' offense looks pretty good.
Nope. Warren was even worse in the fifth, loading the bases on two walks and an infield single. The second walk was intentional to Matt Joyce with one out, after Starling Marte had stolen second base. I'm not sure I agree with that strategy.
It all blew up when Josh Bell, in his second big-league at-bat, hit a grand slam off Warren to make it 11-5. You could have forgiven Fox if they'd cut away to one of the other games they were covering. You could have forgiven me if I'd switched over and watched one of them, but no, I press on, with the knowledge that I need to write this up in the morning.
All these home runs have added up to this:
HR allowed by #Cubs starters:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 10, 2016
First 67 games: 30
Last 20 games: 28
That's... not good.
It's a shame, really, that Lester and Warren were so bad, on a night when the Cubs offense actually woke up. The 14 hits was the most since June 27 (12 games ago). On the other hand, they could have scored a lot more than six runs. They were 3-for-17 with RISP and 17 at-bats with RISP is an enormously large number. The Cubs left 11 men on base, the Pirates just three, the latter largely because they kept clearing the bases with home runs.
Don't really have much more to give you on this one, so I'll finish up with this positive note:
#Cubs with 20 HR & 20 Doubles before All-Star Break— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 10, 2016
2016 Bryant & Rizzo
2005 D. Lee
2000, 2001 Sosa
1972 Billy Williams
One more game and then the bulk of this club (save the seven who are going to San Diego, and one of those, Dexter Fowler, won't play) gets four days off, something they all seem to need. A lot. John Lackey will start for the Cubs as they try to salvage one game of this series. He'll face Jonathon Niese of the Pirates. Game time is 12:35 p.m. CT; the game preview will post at 11 a.m. CT. And a reminder that the Heroes & Goats feature will return a week from today when Russ returns from vacation.