The Cubs entered Friday night’s game against the Cardinals at a serious disadvantage. To wit: Cardinals lefthander Jordan Montgomery had thrown 16 scoreless inning against the Cubs previously this year, allowing just five hits, and last time he faced them he threw a one-hit shutout.
Then Adrian Sampson began this game by throwing a 40-pitch first inning during which he issued a pair of walks and allowed two RBI singles. It didn’t seem as if he’d go much past that inning.
Give Sampson a lot of credit. He settled down and threw just 61 pitches over the next four innings, allowing no further runs, and his line — five innings, four hits, two runs, four strikeouts — looked a lot like many of his other starts this year. Here are those four strikeouts [VIDEO], which I show you primarily to break up what otherwise would be a wall of text.
The pregame perceived disadvantage turned out to be true fact. The Cubs did manage seven hits and a pair of walks off Montgomery, but could not score off him in six innings. Jordan Hicks and Chris Stratton retired all nine Cubs they faced in the seventh, eighth and ninth and the Cardinals defeated the Cubs easily, 8-0. It was the 10th time the Cubs were shut out this year, the same number of shutouts they had thrown against them in 2021.
Nick Madrigal and Seiya Suzuki both had two hits on the night, which is good; both have been hot hitters lately.
Javier Assad threw an inning of relief and allowed a run for the first time in his brief MLB career. I mention that run mostly to say that if not for a double-clutched ground ball by Nico Hoerner, he likely gets out of that inning scoreless.
Lastly, I think it’s time to end the Sean Newcomb experiment. Newcomb took a game that was still relatively close at 3-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh and allowed three hits, four walks and five runs in a two-inning outing, including home runs by Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman. Newcomb threw only 19 strikes in 47 total pitches, and over his last four appearances: 4⅔ innings, 10 hits, six walks (3.429 WHIP), five home runs, 23.14 ERA. That’s... awful. His 11.09 ERA as a Cub, in 18⅔ innings, is the worst in franchise history for anyone who’s thrown that many innings for the team. No one else is even all that close; here’s the entire list of Cubs pitchers who have thrown that many innings with an ERA over 8.00.
I’m not usually one to yell, “DFA! DFA!” but... seriously, DFA this guy, he’s not good and clearly not part of this team’s future. Just bring back Anderson Espinoza or Nicholas Padilla or Kervin Castro until Adbert Alzolay is ready to return, those three could not possibly do any worse than Newcomb.
That’s all I’ve got on this one. The Cubs and Cardinals will play again Saturday evening. Drew Smyly will start for the Cubs and Adam Wainwright will go for St. Louis. Game time Saturday is 6:15 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.