The Chicago Cubs had their first legitimately ugly game of the season as Kyle Hendricks struggled from the jump. The offense never really answered their wake-up call either for this unusually early start time against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For a brief moment, it looked like the Cubs were setting up to cruise after Willson Contreras hit a solo home run in the top of the 1st. But Hendricks had trouble with command and he gave the lead right back.
Initially, it looked like Hendricks might get out of trouble in the bottom of the 1st. After giving up a leadoff single to former Cubs farmhand Daniel Vogelbach, he wiped out the runner with a double play. However, Hendricks followed that up by allowing an infield single, a walk, and then a three-run homer to Ben Gamel.
It turned out that’s all the PIrates would need, though they managed three more against Hendricks, as the Cubs scored just one more run the rest of the way. They split the two-game series with the Buccos. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
A truly terrible outing by Hendricks and an offense that hasn’t looked very good since heading out on the road combined for the team’s first loss by more than one run of the young season.
If the Cubs were going to get back into the game, it would have been in the 5th inning. Jonathan Villar led off the inning with a single. Nico Hoerner then lined one back at Pirates pitcher Zach Thompson that hit him and forced him to leave the game.
Dillon Peters came into the game in relief and while he struck out pinch hitter Clint Frazier, he walked Frank Schwindel to load the bases. Unfortunately, Contreras grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Cubs were not able to get a runner into scoring position for the remainder of the game.
Stats That Matter
- Seiya Suzuki went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. The rookie right fielder is hitting .400 with 9 RBI and an OBP of .524 in the early going.
- Despite the bases-loaded double play, Contreras had a decent day doing 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, and a RBI.
- Patrick Wisdom went 0-for-4 to drive his average down to .059, he also struck out twice, putting his K rate for the season at 50%.
- Hendricks’ final line was quite ugly, lasting just 3.2 innings allowing seven hits and six runs, while (perhaps most concerning) giving up four walks.
Three of the Cubs’ four runs in the series against the Pirates came via the solo home run. These last two games were a far cry from the productive outs and patient at-bats they showed against the Brewers. With a record of 3-2 and just two series into the season, it’s hard to tell which team they’re going to end up being.
The Cubs will play their first regular season night game on Thursday in Colorado against the Rockies with the contest starting at 7:40pm central. Kevin Steele will get his second start of the season against Kyle Freeland who has been tagged with the Rockies’ only loss so far this season.