In the preview to Tuesday night’s game, I wrote:
Kyle Hendricks’ last start... well, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either
And guess what? Kyle had another one of those. Oh, sure, there were more strikeouts (nine, a season high), particularly on changeups, but he simply gave up way too many hits, and ran out of gas in the fifth inning. A squeezed strike zone didn’t help as Kyle ran up a large pitch count early, and he allowed three runs in five innings. That was enough for Arizona, as they defeated the Cubs for the second straight night, 5-1. It’s the first time the Cubs have lost back-to-back games in a month, since June 24-25, the last two of a five-game losing streak.
Despite all the long counts and high pitch count, Hendricks managed to keep the D-backs scoreless until the fifth. And it might have worked out all right until he gave up consecutive two-out hits to Steven Souza Jr. and Jake Lamb that turned a potential 1-0 deficit into a 3-0 deficit.
The thing I really didn’t get in that inning is this: It’s still scoreless, Jon Jay is on third after a triple with one out. Why on Earth did the Cubs pitch to Paul Goldschmidt? He’s a lifetime .362 hitter against the Cubs and hits .342 at Wrigley Field. They should have put him on and pitched to David Peralta. You simply can’t let Goldschmidt beat you.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were simply not getting many opportunities off Clay Buchholz. They managed runners on first and third with two out in the fourth, but Kyle Schwarber grounded out to end that threat. In the fifth, Addison Russell led off with a single, but Tommy La Stella, batting for Hendricks, hit into a double play.
The D-backs added a run in the sixth off Eddie Butler, who was making his first big-league appearance since April. All told, Butler didn’t pitch too badly after allowing hits to the first two batters he faced, and he ate up two innings, helping save the rest of the bullpen.
Jason Heyward got the Cubs on the board in the sixth with this solo home run [VIDEO] to the opposite field, his seventh of the year:
In the seventh, Souza led off with a single and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double [VIDEO]. In that video, you can see Souza’s hard slide into Javier Baez; Javy’s left knee looked like it got hit by Souza’s left foot on the slide. After a few moments Baez stayed in the game, only to leave before the next defensive inning. Ben Zobrist, who had batted for Butler, stayed in at second base.
That led to a bit of extracurricular activity in the ninth. With two out, Peralta singled. Souza was the next hitter, and Steve Cishek hit Souza with his first pitch. That led to some words exchanged [VIDEO] between Souza and Anthony Rizzo.
You’ll note on that clip, which is from Fox Sports Arizona, that even the D-backs announcers, including former Cubs TV analyst Bob Brenly, seemed a bit upset with Souza doing that. Nothing happened other than some discussion.
Baez said it wasn’t a dirty slide, and he’s right, but it might prevent Javy from playing in Wednesday afternoon’s game.
Simply put, the Cubs once again didn’t get quite enough out of their starting pitcher:
#Cubs starts of 6+ innings— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 25, 2018
Through first 100 games of season (tonight is game #100)
That’s got to change.
And the offense simply has dried up and disappeared the last two nights, producing just two runs.
A good thing that happened in this one: Jesse Chavez again had a solid appearance, this time striking out all three hitters he faced. Chavez has already helped save other Cubs relievers from throwing too much, in just three appearances.
The Cubs and D-backs will play the third of this four-game set Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester will go for the Cubs and Robbie Ray starts for Arizona. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.