It’s going to be the topic of discussion today, so might as well get right to it.
Situation: Bottom of the fourth inning, Cubs down 1-0, Javier Báez on first base after hitting into a fielder’s choice.
Javy forgot how many outs there were. The Cleveland commentators on that clip couldn’t believe it, and neither could David Ross:
Ross immediately took Javy out of the game and replaced him with Sergio Alcántara.
Things like that do happen, though they shouldn’t because as Ross says in that clip, players need to be “locked in” during the game. A message was sent; maybe this incident, in some way, will help untrack the moribund Cubs offense, which managed just five hits and four walks during the 4-0 shutout loss.
Adbert Alzolay, returning from the injured list, showed no effects from the blister that shut him down for a couple of weeks. He struck out five and made just two mistakes, home run balls served up to Bobby Bradley and Josh Naylor. The bullpen did a decent job of keeping the game close, though Tommy Nance, after striking out the first two hitters he faced in the eighth, allowed a double to Cesar Hernandez and then wild-pitched him to third base and then home. Brad Wieck faced three hitters and struck them all out; he’s now struck out 10 over his last five MLB innings (22 batters faced).
Willson Contreras had a couple of doubles and he and Rizzo were the only Cubs to get past second base.
Kris Bryant made an outstanding catch in center field to end the fifth inning [VIDEO].
I don’t really have a lot more to say about this game. Cubs pitchers struck out 13 and allowed just six hits. Usually if your hitters are doing well that’s a winnable game, but they weren’t. It was the sixth time the Cubs were shut out this year, but the first since April 28 in Atlanta. Hopefully something will begin to bring the bats out of this slump, right now, before a long road trip begins Thursday.
The other story of this game was the beginning of umpires checking pitchers for “goop,” as some put it on Twitter,
This is one of the better summaries of all that I came across on Twitter:
Day 1 assessment:— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) June 22, 2021
the TSA checks for pitchers have done nothing to slow the game down & every pitcher seems to not only be expecting it but having a little laugh about it with the umpires doing the checking.. ♂️
Here’s one of those “little laughs,” from Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren:
And after that loss, and everything bad that’s happened to the Cubs in the last week, they retained a tie for first place in the NL Central with the Brewers, because the Arizona Diamondbacks chose the first game of their series against Milwaukee to end their 17-game losing streak. Thanks, D-backs! Keep up the good work! The Cubs have dropped six of their last eight but have not lost a single game in the standings to the Brewers over that span and have been no worse than half a game out of the top spot every day since May 25.
The Cardinals were idle Monday and trail by 3½ games and the Reds, who took a two-run lead in the top of the 10th in Minnesota Monday night but wound up losing 7-5 in 12, remain four games out of first place.
The Cubs will look for the series split with Cleveland in the homestand finale Tuesday evening. Kyle Hendricks gets the call for the Cubs and Eli Morgan is scheduled to start for Cleveland. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.