CI Recap (7/24/17) – White Sox 3, Cubs 1: First-Place Cubs Come Out Flat

After winning two out of three from the Cardinals to move into first place in the NL Central, the Cubs welcomed their intra-city rivals to Wrigley. Unfortunately the Northsiders’ flat effort led to a frustrating loss Monday.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks made his return to the mound after missing over a month with tendinitis in his right middle finger. The Professor was giving up some hard contact, but held the Sox off the board the first four innings.

Ben Zobrist walked with one man out in the bottom of the 2nd inning and centerfielder Jon Jay followed with a double to left-center. After an intentional walk to Javy Baez, Hendricks grounded weakly to second to score Zobrist and put the Cubs up 1-0.

Hendricks pitched around six hits the first four innings, but his luck ran out in the 5th. Melky Cabrera singled and was driven home when Jose Abreu doubled deep to right.

Justin Grimm relieved Hendricks and got out of the 5th inning, then stayed on for another. Someone named Adam Engel hit a solo homer to left to put the Sox up 2-1.

Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez pitched very well Monday, allowing only four hits through six. The Cubs loaded the bases in the 7th, but Gonzalez escaped the jam when Anthony Rizzo flew out to deep center.

In the 8th, Matt Davidson blasted a Koji Uehara splitter on to the street for a home run to increase the Sox lead to 3-1.

Kyle Schwarber singled in the bottom of the inning to knock Gonzalez out of the game. Jay bunted for a hit to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Anthony Swarzak got Javy Baez to fly out to end the jam.

Swarzak put two men on in the bottom of the 9th, but struck out catcher Willson Contreras to save the 3-1 Sox win.

Stats That Matter

  • Kyle Hendricks was very rusty in his return: 4.1 IP, 1 R, 8 H, 5 K, and 0 BB. His fastball velocity continues to sit at 84/85 mph instead of 87/88, and it’s hard for him to be consistently effective with such diminished velocity.
  • Jon Jay was the only Cub to do damage against Miguel Gonzalez. Jay had four hits, including the double that led to the teams only run.

Bottom Line

The Cubs went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Monday. A winnable game against a team in full tank mode became a loss. If they want to win the division, games like this have to be avoided.

On Deck

The Northsiders look to even the series Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley. John Lackey faces off against former top pick Carlos Rodon in a 1:20 CT game that airs on CSN Chicago.

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