The Cubs’ offensive woes continued Saturday as they wasted another outstanding starting pitching performance in a one-run loss. This time it was ace Justin Steele being victimized by the lineup’s disappearing act.
The Diamondbacks handed Chicago a gift lead in the 3rd inning when second baseman Ketel Marte lost Cody Bellinger‘s two-out pop fly in the sun. Nico Hoerner never stopped running from first and scored when the ball dropped for what was technically an RBI single.
Corbin Carroll got a hit off Steele, stole second, and would eventually score on a Gabriel Rivera grounder to tie the game in the 5th. Neither team could muster any offense the next four frames and the contest headed to extras.
Daniel Palencia was wild in the 10th and Arizona scored twice on a wild pitch and a Tommy Pham hit. Bellinger singled home the Cubs’ automatic runner in the bottom of the frame, but Paul Sewald closed out the D-Backs’ 3-2 win. (Box score)
Yan Gomes hit a 9th inning rocket off the bricks in left that just missed being a walk-off homer. Gomes tried for a double and got nailed on a great throw by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., which meant the Nick Madrigal double that followed was for naught.
Why the Cubs Lost
It was another game with an almost complete lack of hitting. It doesn’t matter how well you pitch if you can’t score any runs at all.
Stats That Matter
- Steele was great again even with no help but he at least helped his Cy Young case: 7 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 6 K, and 0 BB.
- Jeimer Candelario drew three walks Saturday, maybe that’s a sign he is coming out of his slump.
This is the first time the Cubs have dropped three consecutive games since July 3. No one in a playoff push can afford a losing streak in September and the North Siders are in danger of one at the moment. Sunday’s opposing pitcher has struggled in 2023 and the offense must take advantage in n order to avoid a sweep.