It rained Saturday evening at Wrigley Field. And then it rained some more. And when the rain was done doing that, it rained even more.
A two-hour, 45-minute rain delay prior to the start of Saturday’s game was nearly as long as the game (2:53). By the time it was over, it was the last game on Saturday’s board, all the West Coast games having been completed. And from a Cubs standpoint, they shouldn’t even have bothered. The Cubs managed just five hits and had just three baserunners past first base in a listless 6-0 loss to the Guardians.
I could end this recap right here and you’d pretty much have the story of the game from the Cubs point of view. But a handful of things should be pointed out, and so... I will point them out.
Marcus Stroman retired the first eight hitters he faced and no one hit the ball out of the infield. With two out in the third he walked Bo Naylor, who had entered the game batting .182 with a .250 OBP. That’s a recipe for disaster, and soon that disaster happened. Steven Kwan doubled Naylor to third and Amed Rosario hit a two-run single.
At that point everyone should have just said, “Enough,” and gone home, because Tanner Bibee and three Cleveland relievers were too much for the Cubs.
Meanwhile, the Guardians hitters were nibbling away at Stroman. He managed to throw two more scoreless innings before a couple of singles in the sixth. Stroman retired Josh Bell and was one out away from leaving the game with a quality start (would have been six innings, two runs allowed). But another single made it 4-0, and Julian Merryweather didn’t help matters by allowing hits to the first two batters he faced. Two more runs scored, one charged to Stroman, whose line looked worse than he pitched. He didn’t appear to show any effects from last Sunday’s London blister, so that’s good, anyway. Here’s a look at Stroman’s outing [VIDEO].
As noted above, the Cubs were never in this game after the two-run third. They managed a runner to third base with nobody out in the fourth, but went out meekly. Another runner got to second with two out in the sixth — nothing doing. That is literally the only Cubs highlight in the package available for this game, so here, have a look at Cody Bellinger’s two-out single [VIDEO].
Here’s one positive I can give you: Javier Assad threw three scoreless innings with five strikeouts to wrap things up, though it did take him 28 pitches to throw the first of those innings and 53 pitches overall. Still, it was a decent outing for Assad, who has allowed just one run in his last three outings, and thrown eight innings in those games with nine strikeouts.
The Cubs thus reach the halfway point of 2023 at 38-43, a pace for 76 wins. I continue to believe this team is better than that, and hopefully they will start to show it... soon. They remain within striking distance of first place in the N.L. Central, five games behind the Reds and Brewers, now tied for the top spot.
That’s all I’ve got for this one. Honestly, given this weather forecast for Sunday, the Cubs should probably just postpone the game early and just skip Jameson Taillon’s turn in the rotation. He’s supposed to start Sunday afternoon against the Guardians, who will send Aaron Civale to the mound. As noted in this article here earlier this morning, the Cubs have moved today’s game time to 4:05 p.m. CT due to rain expected to last most of the morning and early afternoon in Chicago today. TV coverage of today’s game will be via Marquee Sports Network. Today’s BCB game preview will thus post at 2 p.m. CT.