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Nationals 4, Cubs 1: Missed opportunities

The Cubs really should have won this game.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs had eight hits Tuesday night, including two doubles and a home run. They also drew four walks.

That sort of offense really should generate more than one run. But the story of the series in Miami appears to have carried over to this one: 0-for-9 with RISP and 11 runners left on base, and there’s the main reason why the Cubs lost to the Nationals 4-1.

Also a bit distressing was another bad outing from Keegan Thompson, who’s generally been reliable. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with his velocity — he was touching 95 again Tuesday — so something else must be going on. Thompson has now allowed five runs in his last three appearances (two innings, six hits, two walks, no strikeouts, 22.50 ERA). That’s not good. Tipping pitches, maybe? Whatever it is, I hope the coaching staff and Thompson figure it out soon.

That ruined a very nice outing from Hayden Wesneski, who threw six innings and allowed five hits and one run, with no walks. Over his last four starts: 2.42 ERA, 0.940 WHIP, just two walks in 22⅓ innings. That seems more like the Wesneski we saw last September. Keep up the good work!

Wesneski got helped out by his defense. Dansby Swanson, in the first inning [VIDEO].

Tucker Barnhart, in the fifth [VIDEO].

The Cubs had a chance to break this game open in the sixth, trailing 1-0 and having been stymied for most of the evening by former Cub Trevor Williams. (Hey, Trevor! If you’d pitched like that while you were in Chicago, you might still be a Cub!)

With one out, Ian Happ walked. Former Cub Carl Edwards Jr. entered the game and gave up a double to Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki was intentionally passed to load the bases. But Trey Mancini struck out and Eric Hosmer popped up, ending the inning with no runs scoring.

In the top of the seventh, Patrick Wisdom tied the game [VIDEO].

That ball went a long, long way [VIDEO].

More data on Wisdom’s homer, which tied him with Pete Alonso and Max Muncy for the major league lead:

Then came Thompson’s disastrous bottom of the seventh, a three-run inning that basically put the game out of reach. The Cubs again had a runner in scoring position in the eighth (single and walk) with one out but could not score, and a two-out single by Dansby Swanson in the ninth, but the game ended when Ian Happ grounded out. For Swanson it was his third straight multi-hit game and over his last six games: .417/.500/.750 (10-for-24) with two doubles. two home runs and four walks. Swanson’s 21 walks are tied for sixth in MLB and his .419 OBP is tied for ninth.

Sometimes, games like this are going to happen, but the Cubs are simply going to have to get better with runners on base. Even in Monday’s win they were just 2-for-7 with RISP, and that means on the road trip overall they are 6-for-41 (.146) in that situation. That’s not going to get it done.

We also still don’t know whether Yan Gomes will have to go on the seven-day concussion injured list. The latest is that he is still “under evaluation.”

The Cubs and Nats will meet again Wednesday evening in Nationals Park. Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs and the Nats are calling up a righthander named Jake Ervin to make his MLB debut. Game time Wednesday is again 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.