Chicago Cubs, Game 45: Cubs Lose in Arrieta’s Return to Wrigley
The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies began a four-game series on Monday night, and the Cubs ended up losing by a score of 5–4 in ten innings. The Cubs were able to get on base, but their inability to bring those runners in to score ended up costing them in this one.
The big story of this game was the starting pitching matchup, as Jake Arrieta — who made his first start at Wrigley Field since signing with the Phillies two offseasons ago — faced off against the man who effectively replaced him in the rotation — Yu Darvish. Both men posted quality starts, and for the first five innings of the game Darvish was actually out-dueling the former Cy Young winner.
Here is how it went down:
The Cubs had no trouble getting on base against their former ace, as they recorded 10 baserunners against Arrieta in his six innings of work (8 H, 2 BB). However, they were unable to bring those runs around to score (only one run scored during those first six innings), and that was the big thing that put them in their tough position late in the game.
Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward each recorded pair of hits against their former teammate, and Rizzo’s RBI single in the third inning (which scored Kyle Schwarber) produced the only run that Arrieta allowed to score.
They were able to do some damage against the bullpen, and all three runs actually came on the same play. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Daniel Descalso hit a line drive to left-center field that dropped between the outfielders. Heyward and Victor Caratini both scored as the ball rolled to the wall, and Descalso would end up scoring himself as the relay throw to third base deflected off of his foot and out of play. That play would be scored as a two-run triple with an E6 attached, but the three-run “little league home run” ended up playing a huge role in this game getting into extras.
By the end of the night, the Cubs scored four runs on eleven hits. Rizzo led the team with three hits in the game (3-for-5, RBI), and both Heyward (2-for-4, R, BB, K) and Albert Almora (2-for-4) each recorded multi-hit performances as well. As I stated earlier, their inability to manufacture runs really hurt them in this game, and they ended up leaving nine men on base. If they could have gotten even one of those guys to score instead of stranding them, then this would have been a completely different game.
Yu Darvish got the ball in this one, and for the first five innings he looked like the top-of-the-rotation talent that Cubs fans thought they were getting when he first signed with the team. Just like in his last start there were times where his command still escaped him at times, but at this point it looks like that is something we will have to learn to deal with.
The sixth inning was where Darvish’s lack of command came to bite him, as he allowed two walks, two hits, and three runs to score in the top half of the frame. Despite that bad inning he still did enough to earn his second quality start of the season, as he allowed 3 ER, 4 H, and recorded a 7:3 K:BB over 6 IP.
Mike Montgomery was the first man out of the bullpen for the Cubs, and he pitched pretty well. Over his two recorded innings pitched he did allow a pair of hits, but he also struck out two batters and allowed nary a run.
However, the next two guys did not fare as well. Brad Brach came on in the ninth, and he blew his save opportunity by allowing the tying run to score. On his way to allowing that one earned run he allowed two two hits and one walk. Kyle Ryan came on in the tenth, and he earned the loss in this one as he served up a solo home run to Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto.
The Cubs will have three games remaining in this four-game series against the Phillies. Tuesday’s matchup will feature a pitching combination of Jose Quintana (3.68 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) for the Cubs and Zach Eflin (2.89 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) for the Phillies. The Cubs will also have Cole Hamels (3.13 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) and Jon Lester (2.09 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) start their games on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
After this series wraps up the Cubs will have a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds to finish off their week-long home stand.