All right, I admit it. With Kyle Hendricks on the mound I thought there was at least a chance. But Kyle and four Cubs relievers got pounded for five homers and 13 runs and so the Cubs lost the rubber game of the series 13-1.
Look at it this way: The White Sox scored 30 runs in the three games and only won two of three.
Anyway, let’s review some of the things in this game that are worth reviewing.
Hendricks has had trouble on the road and with home run balls this year and the first two innings were proof of that. He served up two homers in those innings and the Cubs trailed 3-0. The second homer, with a man on base and two out by Brian Goodwin, looked like it had a little help from an 18 mile per hour wind blowing toward left field. No matter, a homer’s a homer.
The Cubs cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fourth courtesy of Frank Schwindel [VIDEO].
That was Schwindel’s sixth of the year in just 121 plate appearances (five with the Cubs, one with Oakland).
You know, there were a couple of spots in the White Sox’ seven-run fifth where Hendricks might have gotten out of the inning with no further damage. He issued a one-out walk, then got Leury Garcia to ground out. Two out, runner on first, relatively low pitch count. But then he issued a four-pitch walk to Cesar Hernandez and hit Luis Robert. (The crowd booed, but it was surely not intentional.)
So now the bases are loaded and still two out. Hendricks got Jose Abreu to hit a catchable ball to center field but... Rafael Ortega did not play this ball well [VIDEO].
Catch that one and the inning is over. Instead it’s 5-1 with two runners on and the next hitter, Eloy Jimenez, parked one into the right-field seats to make it 8-1.
You don’t want to hear the rest, I don’t think.
I do want to highlight a couple of MLB debuts made by Cubs in this game. Alfonso Rivas started at first base in his first game for the Cubs. He had two hits and looked good in the field. Here’s his first MLB hit, in his first time at bat in the third [VIDEO].
I definitely want to see Rivas get more playing time, especially with that Triple-A OBP. He’s been a walk machine in the minor leagues, with a career OBP there of .393.
Scott Effross entered the game with one out and nobody on base in the sixth to make his own MLB debut. He hit the first batter he faced (Garcia) and then struck out Hernandez. Unfortunately, then he left a slider up and out over the plate and Robert smashed his second homer of the game.
I like the fact that Effross is a sidearmer. There aren’t many of those in the big leagues and it presents a different look to a hitter. If he can locate his pitches well, the unusual motion could make him successful. I definitely want to see more of him for the rest of the season.
The Cubs have now used 63 different players this year, which is a franchise record (previous record 57 in 2013). The MLB record is 67, set by the 2019 Mariners. I don’t think the Cubs can get four more new players on this roster before season’s end but... you never know.
Sergio Alcántara left the game after striking out in the fifth inning and apparently fouling a ball off his ankle during that at-bat:
Sergio Alcántara left today's game with a right ankle contusion. Andrew Romine took over at SS for the bottom of the 5th.— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) August 29, 2021
Hope Sergio is okay.
Strikeout watch: Cubs hitters struck out 15 times Sunday afternoon. In six games against the White Sox this year they struck out 82 times, an average of almost 14 per game, yikes. That gives the team 307 strikeouts in 28 games since the trading deadline, an average of 10.96 per game. The team total is 1,301 through Sunday, which leads MLB. To break the franchise record of 1,518 (set in 2015), the Cubs would need to strike out 218 times in the 30 games remaining, or 7.27 per game. I think you can see that record’s going to be obliterated.
So there’s that.
The Cubs have Monday off and then will travel to Minneapolis to face the Twins in a two-game set Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday evening, Zach Davies will start for the Cubs and our old Cardinals buddy John Gant, who the Twins acquired at the deadline for J.A. Happ, is the scheduled starter for Minnesota. Game time Tuesday is 7:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.