What You Need to Know: The afternoon after a thunderstorm and a power outage featured what should have been a sound victory over the Dodgers, as the bats hit in timely situations and the bullpen kept the thumpers in the L.A. lineup at bay. A disastrous ninth that can only be explained as bad managing and worse execution gave the game to the Dodgers, however, and the 25 men the Cubs left on base came back to haunt them. Tyler Chatwood managed through five innings, surrendering only a leadoff homer to Joc Pederson, and Kris Bryant added two doubles as the Cubs slipped into second place—at least until this evening’s tilt.
Next Level: Well, it was a Tyler Chatwood start, so the walks came in abundance for the Dodgers. They took seven bases on balls this afternoon, including three to start an inning (plus one leadoff hit by pitch). Only one of those runners came around to score, however, and that was in the pivotal top of the ninth as Justin Wilson (and Joe Maddon) let the game slip away. Chatwood allowed only two hits, limiting the damage early, and the middle relief pitched just well enough to keep the Dodgers at bay.
But, about that ninth. Unless Brandon Morrow is hurt (a bad scenario), there is no excuse for Maddon to call upon Wilson to face a righty-heavy part of the Dodgers lineup, including noted lefty masher Justin Turner. I shudder at the thought of Morrow not being hurt—the other possibility is that Maddon chose Wilson over Morrow, then left him in there even after allowing two baserunners. Anthony Bass was the only reliever warming while Wilson pitched, and Bass is currently the last pitcher in the ‘pen. It was a choice that sealed the Cubs’ fate, as Wilson could not escape the inning before giving up a go-ahead double to Kyle Farmer that ended up being the dagger.
Top Play (WPA): The Cubs put together a rally in the second against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, making his second start since coming off the disabled list. After an Ian Happ flyout, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell tallied back-to-back singles; Chris Gimenez then walked to load the bases before Tyler Chatwood struck out unceremoniously. However, leadoff man Kris Bryant laced a double just inside the left-field line to plate two, giving the Cubs a lead they would hold most of the game (+.192).
Bottom Play (WPA): No surprise here: the worst play for the Cubs on the afternoon was Kyle Farmer’s two-run, go-ahead double with two outs and two strikes in the ninth (-.678).
Up Next: The nightcap, a 7:05 CT start, features a fun matchup of left-handed curveball tossers in Mike Montgomery and former cubs Rich Hill. The Cubs hope to scratch out a victory and possibly take back first place, pending the Brewers’ performance in Pittsburgh.
Lead photo courtesy Patrick Gorski—USA Today Sports