The Cubs lost to the Phillies 7-1 Friday evening and really, I could end this recap right here and you’d probably be happy. (So would I.)
But you come here for details and analysis of each game, and so you will have those.
For a brief moment early in this one it looked like things would go well for the Cubs. Ben Zobrist was called out on strikes, but two pitches later the Cubs had a 1-0 lead thanks to Kyle Schwarber:
That baseball was hit hard and went a long way:
So that’s good! A 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The rest of this game? Not so much. The Phillies pounded Jose Quintana for six runs in the first two innings. Phillies rookie sensation Rhys Hoskins hit a home run, his ninth in 16 big-league games (actually, nine in 12 games, as he didn’t homer in his first four games). I suppose we can take some consolation in the fact that the Cubs aren’t the only Hoskins homer victim. But it would be nice to not see any more of those this weekend.
There doesn’t seem to be anything physically wrong with Quintana; he just left pitches where they were easy for Phillies hitters to hit.
The Cubs did have plenty of baserunners: nine hits and three walks. But again, as has been the case frequently this year, hitting with RISP was absent. The Cubs went 0-for-7 with RISP and left 11 men on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning when there seemed to be a tiny chance that they could get back into the game with a hit or two. Ian Happ struck out to end that inning.
After Quintana was excused for the rest of the evening after five innings, Justin Wilson was given another inning in a low-leverage situation. I’d have to say this one was a success: 14 strikes in 20 pitches, two outs on ground balls. The one hit he allowed was a ground ball down the left-field line that turned into a double. Hopefully this one was another confidence-builder for Wilson and he can soon resume pitching in more important situations.
Koji Uehara threw a 1-2-3 seventh, and then in the eighth Felix Pena served up a home run to Maikel Franco that was the Phillies’ final run of the game.
Later in that inning, Javier Baez provided another in what seems to be a daily sequence of highlight-reel catches:
Even down 7-1, Javy gives a big smile making that catch and then shrugs, as if to say, “I have no idea how I did that!” I just love the enthusiasm and passion Baez brings to his game, even when the team looks as awful as it did Friday evening.
The good news is that all three teams chasing the Cubs in the N.L. Central also lost Friday night, so the Cubs maintain their leads over all three: three games over the Brewers, 4½ over the Cardinals, eight over the Pirates.
Don’t have a whole lot more to say. The jerseys and nicknames were fun, although I’m not sure they require a whole weekend’s worth of wearing; as usual for current thinking in Major League Baseball, that’s a bit of overkill, and all about selling merchandise. (Also, Justin Wilson, who supposedly had changed his jersey nickname to “J-WILLY,” appeared in this game wearing “BRENNAN,” the nickname he and former Tigers teammate Alex Wilson had decided on when both were playing in Detroit.)
Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. CT, the Cubs will look to even up this series. Kyle Hendricks goes for the Cubs and Ben Lively for the Phillies.