The Cubs lost to the Pirates 6-0 Tuesday night after a 55-minute delay that brought heavy rain and about a 20-degree temperature drop to Wrigley Field. By the time the game ended with maybe 2,000 people left in the house, it was in the low 60s and just to remind everyone what a dreadful day it had been, it started to rain again lightly in the ninth inning.
I can think of more miserable afternoons or evenings at the ballpark, but not many, considering both the weather and the awful baseball played by the home team. This is not going to be a traditional sort of game recap, because what facts can I present about this game that you don’t already know, or try to sugarcoat anything that happened Tuesday night at Wrigley Field?
As you know if you’ve been around here for a while, I’m usually more optimistic and upbeat than most Cubs fans. But what I am seeing on the field is beginning to look like an epic collapse.
Cubs 91-66— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 26, 2018
Cool: Real possibility of Game 163s Monday in Chicago and LA for NL Central/West titles.
Cooler: Three-way tie where Cards host NLW Game 163 loser for second WC.
Coolest: Six-way tie with 91 wins.
Well, no, I would not like the Cubs involved in that, not at all.
Look, I’m not blaming anyone associated with the Cubs, not saying there’s a lack of effort, not anything of the sort.
This team appears to have just plain run out of gas after having been scheduled for a game on 35 of the last 36 days. It seems that simple. They look tired, they’re playing tired, the starting pitching that had been so good even during that long stretch without an off day has looked bad against a Pirates lineup that’s featured a couple of rookies the last two nights and other players who are hitting in the low .200s, yet look like All-Stars against the Cubs pitching staff.
Then there’s the parade of relievers Joe Maddon sent out Tuesday evening, including three pitching changes in the fifth inning when the Cubs were already down 4-0. It’s almost as if he was saying to management, “Look at what you gave me here.” Not one of the relievers Tuesday night was on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster and two of them weren’t even in the organization at the All-Star break. Sure, some of those guys (Jorge De La Rosa in particular) have thrown reasonably well, and Joe was probably just trying to give the other relievers the night off, but... man, that was painful.
Oh, and Kris Bryant had to leave the game after being hit by a pitch on the wrist [VIDEO].
Bryant appears to be not seriously injured:
Xrays of Bryant's wrist were negative (no break). Not expected to play Wednesday. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 26, 2018
KB did stay in the game for a couple of innings after he was hit, then departed, wisely so, I think. At this point I think I’d be surprised to see him the rest of the week.
I’ve got nothing more. Let me allow the Cubs to tell you what they think:
Maddon: Well, we're not happy. And it's really coming down to the one component of the game we just haven't been good at recently, and that's the offense.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 26, 2018
Maddon: Obviously this has been going on for a bit. Our offense has been very inconsistent. We've been talking about this for a bit. The offense really has to ascend.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 26, 2018
#Cubs Daniel Murphy: "We're coming down to the end. Half-game lead. Like I said, I think a lot of ballclubs would sign up for this. I know I would have about six weeks ago wearing a different uniform. It's all about the lens you look at it through."— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 26, 2018
#Cubs Montgomery: "We have a resilient bunch of guys. We know where we're at and it's kind of a little bit of motivation. We've got to bring it these last five games. I think our guys know that. We're not going to get discouraged."— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 26, 2018
I’m glad they feel that way. Right now... I’m leaning toward “discouraged.” Feel free to talk me out of that. Yes, I know the Cubs are still in first place, still (for now) have the best record in the league, still control their own destiny, still can finish with that best record and win the division simply by winning their final five games.
So... they had better get started on that, like right now. Tonight.
Here. Want to feel better? Have some El Mago [VIDEO].
Fortunately, the weather appears as if it’s going to cooperate for the rest of the week, if a bit coolish. It is, after all, late September.
The Cubs will try it again Wednesday evening, at 7:05 p.m. CT. Jose Quintana gets the call for the Cubs and Ivan Nova will go for the Pirates. TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.