The Cubs got some good news Tuesday in spite of their loss, as the Phillies lost to the Nationals to assure a playoff berth for Chicago. They had to back their way in because good pitching performances were canceled out by more hitting woes.
José Quintana was back on the mound for the Cubs and went a scheduled two innings, allowing a run-scoring double to Erik Gonzalez in the 2nd. Steven Brault was sharp for the Pirates and kept the road team off the board through seven.
Adbert Alzolay took over for Quintana and featured a nasty slider he’s really sharpened over the last two weeks. He went four innings and gave up just one run on a double by Adam Frazier in the 5th that came against a high fastball, not exactly a mistake pitch.
The Cubs finally got to the Pirates in the top of the 8th inning. Willson Contreras singled and scored on a game-tying two-run homer by Anthony Rizzo. It was not meant to be, however, as Pittsburgh catcher Jacob Stallings hit a walk-off solo homer against Andrew Chafin in the 9th. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Other than Rizzo’s big swing, the Cubs could do nothing against the Pirates weak pitching staff.
The lefty specialist Chafin probably should be shielded right-handed hitters and Stallings punished a mistake pitch.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay piled up the strikeouts with his slider: 4 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 7 K, and 2 BB.
- Rizzo also had a single for two of the Cubs’ five hits.
The Cubs are heading to the playoffs again, but will the offense go with them? The rust is still not coming off of Chicago’s bats and if it doesn’t happen soon, their stay in the postseason will be a short one.