Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (8/15/19): Phillies 7, Cubs 5 – Cubs Bullpen Chokes, Phillies Sweep
The Cubs attempted to avoid a sweep against the Phillies on Thursday night and they looked well on their way after a great start from Yu Darvish. Instead, the bullpen collapsed and Philadelphia walked off the win in dramatic fashion.
Chicago went ahead when leadoff hitter Anthony Rizzo homered off of Drew Smyly in the 3rd inning. Ian Happ tripled in the 4th and scored on a David Bote double, then Bote came home on an Albert Almora Jr. single to make it 3-0.
Almora was plated by a Rizzo single to increase the lead to four and Kyle Schwarber hit career homer 100 in the 5th to pad the lead even further. That 5-0 lead was plenty of cushion for Darvish, who threw seven shutout innings and walked no one yet again.
That success couldn’t be matched by the Cubs ‘pen, as Kyle Ryan allowed two men to reach in the 8th inning and Rowan Wick came on to replace him. Corey Dickerson singled in a run, but Nicholas Castellanos threw out Rhys Hoskins at home to end the inning.
Chicago completely melted down in the bottom of the 9th inning. Wick got the first batter of the inning before Bote, playing shortstop for a sick Javy Báez, booted a routine grounder by Cesar Hernández. Scott Kingery and Brad Miller singled to score a run and end Wick’s night.
Pedro Strop came on and allowed and RBI single to Roman Quinn, then hit Hoskins to load the bases. Derek Holland was next up to defend the 5-3 lead against Bryce Harper, but the star outfielder sat fastball and launched a middle-in offering deep to right for game-winning grand-slam that may not have landed. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The bullpen was given a five-run lead and absolutely imploded over the final two innings. That just isn’t acceptable for a team trying to make the playoffs.
Bote’s error was massive. If he makes that play, there are two outs and nobody on with a 5-1 lead. Instead, the Cubs failed to record another out.
Stats That Matter
- Darvish deserved a win with his terrific outing: 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 10 K, and 0 BB. He probably should have started the 8th, but reportedly felt his command was waning. Even so, the bullpen should have handled it.
- Rizzo had two hits in the top spot in the order and he might get another start there if Jason Heyward is still out.
That was an absolutely brutal loss for the Cubs, there is no other way to put it. The road problems seem to be worsening, though getting some relievers healthy should help a bit.
Chicago faces a must-win series against the struggling Pirates starting Friday when Kyle Hendricks takes on Joe Musgrove at 6:05 CT. WGN has the television feed and 670 the Score has the radio coverage.