CI Recap (7/21/18) – Cardinals 6, Cubs 3: Bullpen Falters Late, Cubs Split Doubleheader

After a relatively easy win in the first-half of the doubleheader, the Cubs looked for the day/night sweep at Wrigley Saturday night. The Northsiders rallied to take the lead in the middle innings, but the overused bullpen fell apart late thanks to the unstoppable Matt Carpenter.

Even with Carpenter not in the starting lineup, the Cardinals managed to strike in the 1st inning against Mike Montgomery. Harrison Bader singled, as did Jose Martinez, St. Louis took the lead on a Paul DeJong sacrifice fly. Monty got out of that inning and didn’t allow any more damage through his six innings of work.

The Cubs hit Cardinal starter John Gant hard, but it seemed like every hard hit ball found a glove. In the 5th inning, Javy Baez was called out by home plate umpire Will Little on a check swing. El Mago complained and got a quick ejection when he threw his bat and helmet to the ground. Joe Maddon ran out to defend his player and also got tossed.

Chicago finally rallied in the 6th against reliever Greg Holland (no relation). Kyle Schwarber walked and Albert Almora singled with one out. Addison Russell appeared to hit a taylor-made double play to short, but the ball was booted by DeJong booted and the runners were all safe. Holland proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella to force in the tying run. Jordan Hicks came on and allowed an infield single to Anthony Rizzo and a ground out to Kris Bryant to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Randy Rosario got two quick outs in the 7th, before game-wrecker Matt Carpenter hit a solo-shot to right-center. That makes six consecutive games with a homer for the Cardinals’ first baseman, and a whopping six in the series, Pedro Strop ran into two-out trouble in the 8th inning, Tommy Pham singled and Yadier Molina walked. Yairo Munoz proceeded to hit a perfectly placed grounder past second to score Pham and tie the game at 3-3.

The Cards applied the death blow to the Cubs in the top of the 9th. Justin Wilson walked Carpenter on four pitches, then walked Harrison Bader. Steve Cishek came on and got Kolten Wong to bunt into a force out at third. Then DeJong made up for his error by poking a go-ahead double to left. Pham doubled to right to score two more and put matters to rest. Bud Norris allowed a Heyward single, then got the next three to close the 6-3 win. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost

With Brandon Morrow on the DL the Cubs bullpen is a bit short-handed. Add in the fact they had to use their top relievers in the first game of the doubleheader and, unfortunately, they didn’t have enough to protect a late lead. It happens a lot in double headers, but the good news is the Cubs managed to at least get the split.

Key Moment

The double switch to put Carpenter in the game in the 6th ended up being the deciding factor. Obviously his home run started the comeback, but he really forced the issue with his 9th inning walk. The Cubs basically had to pitch around him and things fell apart from there.

Stats That Matter

  • It was a bit of shaky start for Montgomery with a fair amount of hard contact, before he settled down: 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 3 K, and 2 BB. He gave the Cubs a big six innings, he could’ve gone another inning if his spot to hit hadn’t come up in the order.
  • Anthony Rizzo is on one of his patented hot streaks, he was 4-5 in game two. Over both games of the twin-bill he was 6-8 with a walk. Next step is getting Kris Bryant going too.
  • Dillon Maples struck out two batters to end the Cardinals damage in the 9th.

Bottom Line

Doubleheaders are hard to sweep, so a split is not the end of the world. It would have been nice to hold on to the late lead in game two but, with a stretched bullpen and an early game on Sunday, these things happen. A win Sunday and the Cardinals actually lose ground from the start of the series.

On Deck

The rubber-match of the series is Sunday at 1:20 pm CT. Miles Mikolas faces Jose Quintana in a game that airs on TBS and ABC-7.

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