Situation: Cubs leading the Dodgers 3-2, top of the sixth inning. Marcus Stroman has thrown 84 pitches entering the inning and, apart from a two-run homer by Mookie Betts in the third, hasn’t had much trouble with the Dodgers.
Then he walked Freddie Freeman on four pitches starting the sixth. Brandon Hughes had begun throwing before the inning even started.
Do you bring Hughes in to face the lefty-hitting Max Muncy?
David Ross didn’t, and Muncy and J.D. Martinez went deep on Stroman, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.
The game might have come down to a bottom of the ninth rally, but Michael Fulmer again had a rough outing, allowing two runs and putting the Dodgers ahead 7-3, which is where the game ended.
The Cubs took a first-inning lead. Nico Hoerner reached on what was charged as an error on Muncy, but probably could have been scored a double. One out later, Cody Bellinger drove in Hoerner [VIDEO].
Bellinger took second on the throw to the plate, and that put him in position to score on Seiya Suzuki’s single [VIDEO].
Earlier I mentioned Betts’ two-run homer. Right after that, Stroman struck out Freeman for his 1,000th career K [VIDEO].
Stroman got some nice applause for that milestone.
Yan Gomes gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead with this solo homer leading off the fifth [VIDEO].
Then came the aforementioned disastrous sixth. Hughes eventually came into the game after Martinez’ homer, and retired the next three Dodgers in order. Keegan Thompson threw two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, but the Cubs couldn’t score in those innings either.
That left the score at 5-3 entering the ninth, and Michael Fulmer warming up. Well, the thought goes, he’s going to have to figure things out sooner or later.
This was not the “sooner” part. Fulmer retired the first two Dodgers on routine fly balls, and then Miguel Vargas singled. Fulmer then walked Austin Barnes — a guy who had a .118 OBP coming into that at-bat. Betts followed with a double and it was 7-3.
I sense some shoulder fatigue in Fulmer’s future that will let him work this stuff out on the injured list.
The Cubs did make some noise in the ninth. Patrick Wisdom led off with a single and Trey Mancini reached on catcher’s interference. One out later Gomes singled to load the bases. Unfortunately, the game ended when Nick Madrigal hit into a double play [VIDEO].
I still find myself mystified as to why Luis Torrens is on this roster instead of Christopher Morel. So what, you lose the guy on waivers, he’s barely playing, at least Morel can play multiple positions — and brings some energy to the clubhouse. If it were me, I’d be making that roster move before Tuesday’s game.
Final note: This could be the last time we’ll see Clayton Kershaw and Jason Heyward play in Wrigley Field, although it’s possible Kershaw will return for another year. I suspect Heyward’s done after this year.
The Cubs lost three of four to the Dodgers, though the losses were closer than the scores (6-2, 9-4 and 7-3) and largely that’s due to poor pitching by Fulmer. They’ll have Monday off before opening a three-game series against the Padres Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field. Justin Steele will start for the Cubs Tuesday and Blake Snell will go for San Diego. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.
After the walk to Freddie Freeman in the sixth, should David Ross have replaced Marcus Stroman with Brandon Hughes?
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