Adbert Alzolay (1-2, 4.50 ERA) took the mound against Shane Bieber (3-2, 2.98 ERA) in game one of the series, facing Cleveland for the first time in his young career. He was looking to build off his solid outing versus the Dodgers on May 5 when he pitched five innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.
Willson Contreras sent a bouncer up the middle to put the Cubs up 1-0 in the top of the 2nd inning, but the Indians evened the score in the 4th when José Ramírez sent a solo bomb to right. The visitors regained the lead in the 5th thanks to Eric Sogard‘s first home run as a Cub until César Hernández gave Cleveland a 3-2 advantage with a two-run shot in the bottom of the frame.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 11, 2021
Alzolay retired the side with ease in the 6th inning and was then replaced by Brad Wieck in the 7th. The righty finished the night allowing three earned runs on five hits and no walks, striking out six. The Cubs were unable to mount a comeback against Cleveland’s bullpen, losing the game by a final of 3-2. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs left 22 men on base and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs while leading 1-0 in the 2nd, but Ildemaro Vargas went down swinging and Sogard grounded into an inning-ending double play. Against a pitcher of Bieber’s caliber, letting those kinds of opportunities slip away typically comes back to haunt you.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA and 26 strikeouts over his last four starts.
- Kris Bryant doubled for his 23rd extra base hit of the season and has hit safely in 18 of his last 21 games, batting .354 with six homers and 16 RBI in that span.
- Bryant hasn’t played third base since April 20.
The Cubs had plenty of baserunners against Bieber but simply failed to cash in. Even more worrisome is their outfield depth, as Bryant exited the game due to an illness. With Ian Happ and Jake Marisnick already on the shelf, the team is now very thin on offense.