The reason Yu Darvish is pictured at the top of this recap is that the Cubs really didn’t do anything in their 6-0 loss to the Padres Saturday night.
And I mean that. The two hits the Cubs had, one by Miles Mastrobuoni, the other by Dansby Swanson, were of the infield variety. The Cubs hit just two baseballs out of the infield the entire game — a fly to center by Matt Mervis in the fifth and a line drive, also to center, by Ian Happ in the ninth. They also walked twice and had just one at-bat the entire game with RISP, when Mastrobuoni took second on a Padres error after his hit.
Here are the Cubs’ two hits. First, from Mastrobuoni [VIDEO].
Drew Smyly pitched all right, not great, not terrible, he was removed with two out in the sixth having given up three runs. Really, everyone could have gone home after the Padres’ two-run second inning, because it was clear the Cubs weren’t going to show up offensively.
Michael Fulmer pitched all right in his inning-plus of work, striking out two. So, yay?
Jeremiah Estrada struggled in the eighth inning, eventually allowing two singles and a long home run to Fernando Tatis Jr. It was Tatis’ second home run of the game.
There’s one Cubs defensive highlight to show you, this nice sliding grab by Mike Tauchman in the fifth [VIDEO].
Fortunately, games like this count as only one loss, so perhaps the Cubs can pick up the pieces and win Sunday. Give credit to old friend Yu Darvish, who kept Cubs hitters off balance all evening.
I do want to say one other thing before I get to Sunday’s preliminaries. Why is Edwin Rios on this team? The man literally cannot hit. He struck out all three times he batted in this game, and is now hitting .071/.235/.214 (2-for-28) this season with 16 strikeouts. He’s got 34 plate appearances, so that’s a strikeout in 47 percent of his PA. The last time Cubs pitchers batted, in 2021, they struck out in 43 percent of their plate appearances. Rios is striking out at a higher rate than pitchers used to!
Yes, both of RIos’ hits are for extra bases — a double, a home run — but that still gives him a SLG of just .214. He has zero defensive value. I never thought I’d be saying this, but bring back Nick Madrigal and let Rios go. Don’t care if Rios bats lefthanded, he cannot hit. I am sure he is a good teammate, nice to his mother and kind to animals, but... get him off this team. I’m assuming he’s probably gone when Cody Bellinger returns to action, or when Codi Heuer is activated (which could happen Monday). That can’t come soon enough.
That’s all I’ve got. The teams will meet again Sunday afternoon at an unusual starting time, 2:30 p.m. in San Diego, 4:30 p.m. CT. (The late start is due to the Rock and Roll Marathon happening this morning and early afternoon in San Diego.) Marcus Stroman, coming off the best start of his career, will go for the Cubs and Ryan Weathers gets the call for the Padres. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.