Decades from now, when historians write the story of the Theo Epstein-era Cubs, when they rose to power and victory and when they fell away, having to be retooled, those historians will likely cite this game, this disastrous, horrendous, terrible, awful, ghastly 3-2 loss to the Pirates Friday evening, as the beginning of the end.
As fans, all of us go through various emotions during a Cubs game, or in reaction to the result. Among those emotions: Elation, joy, frustration, disappointment, surprise, disgust, sadness.
This one just made me angry.
If all those words sound familiar, they should, because except for the score of the game and the opponent, I just copied and pasted them from the recap of Thursday night’s game against the Phillies, because everything felt like... déjà vu [VIDEO]:
You know, I thought about coming here and simply writing “The Cubs lost to the Pirates 3-2 Friday evening” and posting details about Saturday’s game. Would that have been enough for you? As I did Thursday, I turned off the TV before the winning run even crossed the plate, and again had had enough baseball for the evening, not going through my usual routine of watching a bit of a West Coast game before going to sleep. Instead, I again did a bit of non-baseball reading quietly.
I’ve had about enough of that, too.
The Cubs showed us Thursday that the bullpen can’t protect a five-run lead with six outs to go. Friday, they couldn’t protect a one-run lead with six outs to go. What other wonders will they show us in the 40 games remaining this season?
This ruined another excellent outing by Kyle Hendricks: Seven innings, three hits, one walk, one run. Kyle only struck out one, but he induced weak contact much of the time, departing for pinch-hitter Ian Happ with the Cubs trailing 1-0.
That was a good pinch-hitting call. Happ singled after a Jonathan Lucroy single with one out in the eighth.
That brought up Kemp, and brought Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez into the game. You were probably thinking the same thing I was, right? To wit: “Why isn’t David Bote batting for Kemp here against a tough lefthander?”
We were all proven wrong by Kemp [VIDEO].
Kemp’s RBI triple scored both runners and gave the Cubs the lead. You can hear how many Cubs fans were at PNC Park in that clip; must have been close to half the crowd.
Earlier in the game, Kemp had made this slick defensive play [VIDEO].
Gee, I wonder if he could have made a play or two in Philadelphia... c’mon, Al, stop torturing yourself.
Brandon Kintzler, summoned to close things out in the ninth inning, couldn’t. It’s beginning to make me wonder whether the Cubs should just let Rowan Wick close while Craig Kimbrel is out. I mean, how much worse could things be?
Kintzler, after the game:
Kintzler said the worst pitch of the inning was the 3-2 change up to Tucker: "That was so stupid."— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 17, 2019
I can’t explain this. You can’t explain it. I’m sure Joe Maddon is getting tired of making postgame comments like this:
Maddon on the 9th pic.twitter.com/vaIdmRgxo0— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 17, 2019
And congratulations! You are now living through something that has never been done in 144 seasons of Cubs franchise history:
Update:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 17, 2019
The #Cubs currently have the biggest home/road win percentage differential in franchise history.
Home Road Diff.
2019 41-19 (.683) 23-39 (.371) .312
1933 56-23 (.709) 30-45 (.400) .309
Well, that’s about all I’ve got. Can’t imagine you want to hear any more about this game. Oh, except maybe for this:
The Cardinals won Friday night and now lead the Cubs by one game in the N.L. Central. Frankly, it’s surprising the Cubs are only one game out of first place.
As Joe Maddon noted in that clip above, all they can do is pick up the pieces and play another game Saturday afternoon. The game is an afternoon game because the teams are traveling to Williamsport later Saturday to participate in Little League activities Sunday afternoon before the Little League Classic Sunday evening.
Saturday’s starting pitchers: Jon Lester for the Cubs, Steven Brault for the Pirates. Game time: 12:35 p.m. CT. TV coverage: ABC7 Chicago (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories). Saturday’s game preview posting time: 11 a.m. CT.