The Chicago Cubs long ago cashed in any postseason hopes for 2021 and sold off their stars. The new guys went through a 12-game losing streak but had played much better recently and had become fun to watch.
This one, though, this 6-5 loss to the Phillies, pissed me off. To come back twice from deficits on late-inning home runs only to lose on a passed ball? Ugh.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this game.
Neither team scored over the first three innings, and Alec Mills looked solid — until the bottom of the fourth, when the Phillies touched him up for three runs. Mills was one out from getting out of the inning with only one run scoring when he walked Andrew McCutchen and served up a home run to Freddy Galvis.
But the Cubs came right back with two of their own in the top of the fifth. Matt Duffy led off with a double and Frank the Tank smashed his 13th home run of the year [VIDEO].
Frank Schwindel, who’s from New Jersey, had a lot of family and friends at the game, so that was certainly fun for them.
Mills, though, got in trouble in the bottom of the fifth. He gave up a leadoff double to Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez, but then recorded two groundouts. Bryce Harper was intentionally passed, and then Mills was removed for Scott Effross. Effross has been pretty good lately, but J.T. Realmuto poked an RBI single to right, scoring Suarez to make it a 4-2 game.
There was something else that happened when Mills was taken out of the game:
Looking back on it, Mills wasn't pleased with how he handled being taken out of the game.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 16, 2021
"I'm a competitor, I want to stay out there. I thought I had a real good shot at getting him out. ...Obviously I showed a little bit of frustration, probably more than I should have." #Cubs https://t.co/Cxfb6Vwxc2
That’s where things stayed until the eighth. It should be noted that Adbert Alzolay threw two very good scoreless relief innings and since being activated off the injured list September 1, Alzolay has a 0.93 ERA and 0.724 WHIP in four appearances covering 9⅔ innings.
Ian Happ, the first Cubs batter of the eighth, was hit by a pitch. One out later, Robinson Chirinos tied the game [VIDEO].
Two more Cubs, Alfonso Rivas and Willson Contreras, were hit by pitches in that inning, but no further scoring came of it.
In the bottom of the eighth, Codi Heuer entered to pitch, and Realmuto sent Heuer’s first pitch out of the yard to give the Phillies a 5-4 lead.
Matt Duffy did the same to Phillies closer Ian Kennedy in the ninth, sending Kennedy’s first pitch over the left-field wall [VIDEO].
Duffy had a nice game, going 3-for-5 with the homer and two runs scored.
I must say that the sight of Trevor Megill entering the game to throw the bottom of the ninth did not fill me with confidence. He gave up a leadoff single to Andrew Knapp, and a sacrifice bunt and groundout put Knapp on third with two out.
Well, that’s not a terrible situation, one more out and they play Manfredball with the runner on second in extras.
But this game never got there. Megill ran a 2-0 count on Jean Segura and then this happened [VIDEO].
Sigh. The pitch was ruled a passed ball because Chirinos didn’t catch it, but that pitch — way inside — would have been tough for any catcher to handle:
Here’s an explanation of why that ball got away:
Ross didn't think it was cross-up but rather breaking ball that backed up, Megill likely trying to rip it hard in that moment.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 16, 2021
"As a catcher when you're expecting the ball to break & it doesn't ... that can tip off your glove & get some funny spin on it which is tough to catch." https://t.co/IYe43zqobh
As I noted at the beginning of this recap, this game result meant nothing to the Cubs in the grand scheme of things. But when a team comes back twice the way the Cubs did, it hurts to see them lose — especially that way.
The Cubs still have a chance to win this series in the finale Thursday evening. Kyle Hendricks, who had a really nice outing last time out against the Giants, will start for the Cubs. At the time of this recap posting, the Phillies starter was still listed as “TBD,” so we’ll find out about that later. Game time is an hour earlier than the last two nights — 5:05 p.m. CT — and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.