The Cubs continued their up-and-down play Saturday at a steamy Wrigley Field, and this time it was Arizona who benefited from an offensive explosion out of their backup catcher.
Chicago took the lead in the 3rd inning in what turned out to be a major missed opportunity. Starter Alec Mills doubled, Rafael Ortega singled, and Kris Bryant walked to load the bases with none out. Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly was able to coax a double-play grounder off the bat of Javy Báez and only one run would score in the inning.
Willson Contreras was able to pad the lead in the 4th with a solo home run to the opposite field. That 2-0 advantage was short-lived, as catcher Daulton Varsho cracked a game-tying two-run dinger off of Mills in the 5th.
It was an uncharacteristically bad outing by Andrew Chafin that cost the game on Saturday. The left-hander walked the first two batters he faced in the 7th inning, then Varsho singled home the go-ahead run before longtime Cub-killer Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run double to put the game on ice.
An Andrew Young jack against Rex Brothers extended the Arizona lead to 7-2 in the 9th. A rain delay in the bottom of the frame held off the inevitable but the Cubs eventually went down, in a 7-3 defeat. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The bats once again fizzled after an early opportunity was not cashed in, then the usually reliable Chafin had a very rare bad performance.
Mills was on the verge of going five clean innings before he left a pitch up in the zone that Varsho was able to deposit into the stands and tie the game.
Stats That Matter
- Mills was very good until his one mistake: 5 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 K, and 2 BB.
- Bryant had a single, a triple, and a walk.
- Chafin allowed his first runs in his last 24.1 innings pitched.
Whatever form the Cubs’ rebuild takes, it will be important that they get a more consistent lineup than what they have right now. It’s just not a winning formula as currently constructed.