Cubs Record: 55-36 (1st in NL Central)
W: Cole Hamels (10-2, 3.00 ERA)
L: John Lackey (7-6, 3.75 ERA)
SV: Sam Dyson (19)
The Cubs went for the sweep Sunday as they played a series finale against the Rangers. Unfortunately, they could not execute and lost 4-1.
The Cubs had the odds working against them as they were facing Cole Hamels, the guy who no-hit them at Wrigley last season.
John Lackey was up for the Cubs and he was shaky early, giving up two runs in the 2nd. The inning started with back-to-back singles by Price Fielder and Ryan Rua. One out later, Elvis Andrus singled to put the Rangers up 1-0. The Rangers got their next run on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Chirinos.
The Cubs scored their one and only run in the 3rd. An error by Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre put Albert Almora on base with one out in the inning. Next up was Javier Baez, who ripped a double down the left field line scoring the speedy Almora. That made it a 2-1 ball game.
Beltre, one of the better third basemen in all of baseball, had two uncharacteristic errors in the series. The Cubs were able to capitalize on the one Sunday’s miscue, but it was all they’d muster.
The Rangers struck again in their half of the 4th after John Lackey started the inning by giving up back-to-back walks. He was able to get a big out by striking out Elvis Andrus. The next man he faced was Robinson Chirinos and he doubled to put the Rangers up 3-1.
Neither team would score again until the top of the 8th, when Ian Desmond led off the inning with a solo homer to put the Rangers up 4-1.
Cole Hamels was dominant again at Wrigley but at least this time around, the Cubs didn’t get no-hit.
Say what you want about Cole Hamels, but he’s pretty darn good. He pitched eight strong innings of four-hit baseball while giving up only one unearned run.
The Cubs only had one good scoring chance in the entire game and that came in the 7th inning. Willson Contreras and Addison Russell led off the inning with back-to-back singles and the Cubs seemed like they were in business. Unfortunately, Jason Heyward lined into a double play and killed the momentum for the inning. Against a guy like Cole Hamels, one squandered scoring chance turned out to be one too many.
Nothing in the game could really be characterized as ugly. Both sides played good ball and the Cubs simply got outpitched. Good pitching almost always beats good offense.
The Cubs won the first series of this homestand and are hoping to carry over the momentum as the Mets come in for three games. As you might recall, the Cubs were swept in New York shortly before the All-Star Break. The good news is that the Cubs will have Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester for games one and two of the series.