The Cubs lost to the Angels 3-1 Thursday night, completing what was a sweep for the hosts in Anaheim.
There have been seven games so far on the Cubs’ road trip. They have been shut out twice. In all the other games so far — five of them — the Cubs scored first. And in three of those games, they blew the lead, at various times. All these games feel the same, somehow. It’s not like the movie “Groundhog Day” because that, at least, had a happy ending. This... hasn’t. Not so far, anyway.
Let’s look at how this game went down.
Mike Tauchman flashed some glove with this catch that ended the first inning [VIDEO].
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. With two out, Miguel Amaya singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Trey Mancini laced this double to left to drive in Amaya [VIDEO].
That lead didn’t last long, either: Jo Adell, playing in his first MLB game of the season, homered off Drew Smyly leading off the second, tying the game at 1. And that was no cheap homer, either:
Jo Adell has:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) June 9, 2023
- the 2nd-hardest hit batted ball in Triple-A this season: 118.4 mph 2B, 5/18
- the 6th-hardest hit batted ball in MLB this season: 117.2 mph HR, Today
Meanwhile, Matt Mervis hits balls hard all over stadiums all over MLB and has a .531 OPS to show for it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Two more hits followed in the inning, and a sac fly made it 2-1 Angels.
Nothing much else happened until the bottom of the sixth. Oh, yes, this “something” happened: The Cubs, as has been their habit recently, hit some baseballs hard, but for outs, leaving RISP in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
In the bottom of that sixth inning, the Angels had runners on first and second with two out and attempted a double steal. Then this happened [VIDEO].
Yan Gomes’ bad throw allowed Zach Neto to score to make it 3-1 Angels. Gomes probably should have just held the ball. Not that it would have made any difference in the final score, as Cubs hitters again went down meekly over the last three innings.
The Cubs have gone 4-6 over their last 10 games, since the start of the Rays series. They have scored just 22 runs over those 10 games — and allowed 32. So pitching, in general, hasn’t been the problem. If you allow 3.2 runs per game over an extended period, you should win most of your games. But not if you can’t score. Drew Smyly had some rough patches in this game, but in general had an outing (six innings, three runs, two earned) that should win you games most of the time.
But not if your team can’t score.
Julian Merryweather threw a scoreless inning, but not until after he walked two and threw 33 pitches, and Adbert Alzolay a scoreless eighth, including a K of Shohei Ohtani. None of that mattered, because the Cubs could not score again.
How about some comic relief? The Angels did some goofy stuff with players on their video board with their “Christmas in June” promotional day:
It’s Christmas in June night in Anaheim. So the Angels are having some fun on their video board. I believe they’ve digitally outfitted Cubs OF Seiya Suzuki with a ushanka or traditional Russian hat with ear flaps. pic.twitter.com/U2G7OuTMJ6— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) June 9, 2023
Weird, but ... I guess that’s SoCal for you.
Maybe it’ll get better in the next series. And for those of you thinking the Cubs should sell at the deadline — what, exactly, do they have to sell? Marcus Stroman? Then you’re dooming this team to a 95-loss season. Want to start over again with yet another rebuild, before the second one even had a chance?
Unfortunately, there don’t seem any good answers here.
Lastly, and yes I know what jersey the team wears doesn’t really matter, maybe just for superstition’s sake they should try the blue ones more often:
Blue alternate: 4-6
Road gray: 7-14
The Cubs head up the California coast once again to begin a three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants Friday evening. Stroman, who was N.L. Player of the Week this week for his great performances last week, gets the start for the Cubs. He’ll face San Francisco righthander Anthony DeSclafani. Game time is 9:15 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.