I thought about a lot of ways to recap the Cubs’ 12-1 loss to the Pirates Monday evening.
Once again, there was the “The Cubs lost and that’s it!” idea, considering that this was the third time in the team’s last nine games that they have lost by double digits. But you come here for a game recap and so you shall have one. (Don’t think I’m not getting tempted to do that one-sentence recap, though.)
Or perhaps a do-it-yourself recap, but I just did one of those last month and... definitely too soon.
So, here goes.
I knew this game was in trouble in the first inning when, with Rafael Ortega on first base and two out, Ian Happ hit a ball to deep center field. At first, it looked like it might leave the yard for a two-run homer, but as soon as it hit high off the wall, I thought, “They’re going to send Ortega and he is going to be out, by a lot.” (This is complaint number one.)
Happ missed a home run by maybe three feet. If Ortega is held at third, do the Cubs score in the inning? We’ll never know.
Complaint number two: With a runner on first and nobody out in the second inning, Michael Chavis lofted a popup behind first base. It dropped untouched in foul territory among Jason Heyward, Jonathan Villar and Alfonso Rivas. I’m not sure who had the best angle on that ball but major league players have to make that play. Chavis eventually walked. So that’s one extra out the Cubs gave the Pirates in that inning.
Complaint number three: The next hitter, Oneil Cruz, hit a ground ball to Villar, which he bobbled, then threw late to first base. So that’s now two extra outs the Cubs have given the Pirates, and the bases were loaded. Then Bligh Madris, making his MLB debut, singled in a pair of runs. (And seriously, that sounds like a name from “Game of Thrones.”) A strikeout followed which could have ended the inning with — had both those plays been made — no runs scoring at all. The Pirates added one more on a sac fly.
If the Cubs play better defense and get out of that inning scoreless, does Caleb Kilian then settle down and have a better outing? All together now: “We’ll never know.”
The game was basically over at that point, though the Pirates piled up four more runs off Kilian in the third. I feel bad for Kilian, who has talent but was victimized in part by that bad defense and in part due to his lack of command. That’s something I suspect the team will send him back to Iowa to work on, for a while. Seems likely Kilian gets optioned before Tuesday’s game, with a reliever (Michael Rucker, maybe) recalled.
Alec Mills took over and threw well for three innings and then ran out of gas in the seventh and it seemed as if everyone in Pittsburgh was hitting a double off him. Eventually five runs scored. Mills could take over Kilian’s spot in the rotation, as at this point I don’t think the Cubs have any other choices.
Here, have a Cubs highlight. With two out and runners on first and second, Ian Happ singled in the Cubs’ only run of the game [VIDEO].
Patrick Wisdom was the next hitter and I thought, “Y’know, if he could launch one and make it 7-4, this game could get interesting...” and I didn’t really even have time to even complete that thought when Wisdom grounded into a force play to end the inning.
The 12 runs was a season high for the Pirates, who are now 6-4 against the Cubs this year. The Cubs still lead in run differential against the Bucs, 52-34, due to three blowout shutout wins earlier. Yes, those were this year.
The Cubs aren’t this bad, but that was another embarrassing defeat. Oh, and in case you were wondering:
For those curious, as Cubs trail Pirates 12-1 in 7th, it's unclear which position player would pitch if needed while Schwindel is on IL. (I realize this is a ridiculous sentence.)— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 21, 2022
Asked Ross somewhat jokingly about it pregame & sounds like it'd be based on who volunteers/asks to
Nelson Velázquez, who was recalled Monday, pinch hit in the ninth and singled. I continue to believe that he should be playing every single day, especially against teams like the Pirates. Calling up a guy like this and sitting him on the bench seems counterproductive. Let’s see what he can do against big-league pitching!
All right, I’m 750 words into this recap and that’s pretty much it for this game. Let’s gently close the complaint department door and move on to Tuesday’s game, which hopefully will be better. (Low bar to hurdle, I know.) Matt Swarmer will start for the Cubs and Roansy Contreras (no relation to Willson and William) gets the call for Pittsburgh. Game time is again 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.
While Frank Schwindel is on the IL, who should be the Cubs’ position player to pitch in a blowout?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)