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Pirates 8, Cubs 2: The Saturday night disaster

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I watched this game so you didn’t have to.

Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In case you missed last night’s game preview, it contained this fact about Zach Davies:

Zach Davies enters tonight’s outing having not allowed an earned run in his last 16⅔ innings on the road dating to August 17, 2020 at Texas while with the Padres.. The righthander enters this evening having allowed three or fewer earned runs in a career‐high 19 straight outings since August 31, 2019.

Whoops. Both of those streaks came crashing to an end in the Cubs’ 8-2 loss to the Pirates.

You might not have watched much of this game, and I get it. If you did, congratulations, you have now seen the worst start of Davies’ career by Game Score (16, tying this 2016 game, also against the Pirates) and the first one of his 125 career starts in which he failed to complete two innings. His career ERA against the Pirates, 4.34 before this game, rose to 5.06 (16 total starts). And Davies’ bad outing made the article I wrote Saturday about the Cubs’ outstanding starting pitching so far this year... kind of moot. Jinx? Maybe.

So now that you know the bad stuff, I am going to fill the rest of this recap with good things the Cubs did in this game. Yes, there were some.

Kris Bryant gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead with this RBI double [VIDEO].

KB has a 1.005 OPS in the early going.

The Cubs bullpen combined for 6⅓ innings of relief, allowing two hits and one run, with nine strikeouts. So that’s good. Alec Mills, Dillon Maples, Jason Adam (who struck out all three Pirates he faced) and Brandon Workman get the credit for this, with the only blemish a solo homer allowed by Maples to Phillip Evans. Evans, you might recall, was in the Cubs system in 2019, spending the entire year at Triple-A Iowa without a callup. Fans at PNC Park were chanting “MVP! MVP!” at hom after his homer — Evans has three so far this year, more than any Cub.

Oh, right. I was only going to write about good Cubs stuff. Well, I’ve just about covered all of it above. Here, have one more highlight, the second Cubs run driven in by Joc Pederson [VIDEO].

Fortunately, losses like this don’t count any worse in the standings than close ones, and one of the best things about baseball is that after you have one, you can pick right up the next day and have another game that you can win.

Never mind the offense — though Cubs hitters did manage eight hits Saturday evening — let’s hope this is the worst start we see from a Cubs pitcher in 2021.

Sunday is Trevor Williams’ turn, as he will face his former team for the first time after a very good first outing against the Brewers. JT Brubaker gets the start for the Pirates. Game time is 12:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network, and the game will also be on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Pirates market territories). Today’s game preview will post at 10:30 a.m. CT.

It can’t be worse than Saturday’s game.

Right? Right?