You knew the Cubs’ winning streak was going to end eventually, no long winning streak lasts forever.
Steven Matz was the reason. The Cubs haven’t been able to solve Matz all year. With this game, a 3-0 loss that snapped their eight-game winning streak, that gave Matz 15⅓ scoreless innings against the Cubs this year. The Cubs managed just 11 hits off Matz in those innings and sometimes, a pitcher just has another team’s number.
Thus there’s not much to tell about this game. Kyle Hendricks actually threw a pretty good game, allowing eight hits and three runs in seven innings. One of those runs should have been unearned, because Lars Nootbaar led off the first inning with a single that Christopher Morel misplayed, allowing Nootbaar to take second. Inexplicably, that was ruled a double by the official scorer.
Hendricks allowed three more hits and two more runs in the second inning, and with Matz dealing that put the game far out of reach for the Cubs. After that The Professor settled down and in the end, had an outing that’s probably going to put your team into position to win around two-thirds of the time. This game just fell into the other third.
The Cubs managed just four hits, all singles, and had just two runners past first base. The first was when Morel singled with one out and Yan Gomes on first in the second inning. Then Gomes doubled with two out in the ninth. But those, like all the other Cubs innings in this game, wound up scoreless.
Morel did show off some good defense twice in this game. First, after Andrew Knizner singled in the fourth, Morel threw him out trying to stretch it into a double [VIDEO].
And then in the fifth, Morel fell into the left-field stands catching this popup off the bat of Nolan Arenado [VIDEO].
Morel looked a little shaken up after that, but he stayed in the game.
Good news for the Cubs: The Braves defeated the Brewers again, 8-6, so the Cubs remain 3½ games out of first place in the N.L. Central. The Reds/Dodgers game is just beginning in Los Angeles at this writing.
One more game note: At least this one was quick. The 2:03 game time was the Cubs’ second-fastest game of the year (the fastest: 1:55 against the Nationals in Washington May 4).
Can’t win ‘em all, goes the old saying, and at least they didn’t lose any ground in the division race. The Cubs did take three of four from the Cardinals and won five of six on the road trip, and that’s a very good result. Keep up that pace, or anything close, and there will be good things happening the rest of this season.
One interesting announcement by the Cubs came out during this game:
The Cubs outrighted Edwin Ríos, who was already with Triple-A Iowa, opening a spot on their 40-man roster.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) July 30, 2023
Well. The main reason I’d think the Cubs need a 40-man roster spot is if a trade is in the works. So perhaps we’ll hear something about that later today, or early tomorrow.
In the meantime, the Cubs return home to Wrigley Field Monday to begin an important seven-game homestand against the Reds and Braves. The four-game set against the Reds begins Monday evening, with Marcus Stroman on the mound for the Cubs and Andrew Abbott going for the Reds. Game time is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.