The Cubs had a rocking weekend at Wrigley Field, sweeping the Cardinals before three nearly-full houses.
That seemed a million miles away Monday evening. The Cubs managed just one hit until a pair of homers in the seventh inning, and lost to the Mets 5-2, ending their five-game winning streak.
Jake Arrieta didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, but was struggling with command even before then, issuing a pair of walks in the first. Eric Sogard’s one-out single in the third had been the Cubs’ only hit up to the time Jake got in trouble in the fourth.
He walked Billy McKinney with a runner on and two out in that inning, and then a single by James McCann and double by Kevin Pillar gave the Mets a 3-0 lead.
They could have stopped the game right then and there, because that was enough runs for New York to win the game. David Peterson stymied the Cubs hitters through six innings, allowing just Sogard’s single and two walks. Sogard, who was sacrificed to second by Arrieta, was the only Cub to get past first base through six innings. Here’s a summary of the Cubs’ offensive failures through their first six times at bat:
The Cubs have put 7 balls in play with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. But they've managed only 1 hit through 6 innings vs. Mets' Peterson and trail 4-0.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 15, 2021
Arrieta served up a home-run ball to Dominic Smith and was lifted after the fifth having allowed four runs on four hits and four walks. After Jake’s excellent outing in San Diego last week I thought he might have turned a corner, but this outing was just... not very good.
Tommy Nance, who had been so good in his 12 previous appearances, was touched up for the first run he’d allowed as a Cub. Again, walks were an issue; he retired the first two hitters he faced in the sixth, then issued back-to-back free passes and Brandon Drury, batting for Peterson, singled in a run.
Now you’re going to get to see the only Cubs highlights of the game, back-to-back homers by Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom off Mets reliever Trevor May.
That ball went a long, long way:
That’s nine home runs in just 59 plate appearances for Wisdom, who is now tied with Joc Pederson for fourth-most on the team despite Joc having 139 more PA.
So, that gets the Cubs within three, but they had no further baserunners and that, as they say, was that.
I did want to note one thing about Dillon Maples’ appearance in the eighth inning. He retired all three batters he faced, but check out this pitch chart of McCann’s at-bat against Maples leading off the frame:
Maples threw the first three pitches nowhere near the strike zone, up and in on McCann, and on the broadcast, Jim Deshaies joked that McCann must have been thinking, “Did I do something to this guy?” And then Maples threw three four-seamers and struck McCann out, a summary of Maples’ career in one at-bat.
Can’t win ‘em all, as the old baseball adage goes, and this was certainly one of those. Fortunately, the Brewers also lost Monday, crushed 10-2 by the Reds, so the Cubs remain tied with Milwaukee atop the NL Central. The Reds’ win puts them four games behind.
And despite forecasts of rain and storms in the New York area, the game was not delayed, not by weather, anyway. The umpires got on the horn with the replay folks before the game even started — turned out that apparently the Cubs’ replay system wasn’t working properly. It was all squared away and the game began more or less on time. It rained briefly in the late innings but not hard enough to hold up play.
This series won’t get easier. The teams will meet again Tuesday evening at Citi Field. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Taijuan Walker is scheduled to go for the Mets. Game time is again 6:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. The game will also be covered by ESPN outside the Cubs and Mets market territories.