Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/19/22): Rays 6, Cubs 5 – Steele Not Sterling in Loss

Justin Steele started Tuesday’s game looking like he was ready to mow through the Rays lineup for several innings. Then things fell apart and he managed to go just 2.2 innings before turning it over to a bullpen that also had some serious problems keeping runners off the bases and away from home plate.

The trouble actually began in the 2nd inning when Yandy Diaz doubled to start the inning. After a couple of productive outs made it 1-0, Steele steadied himself to keep the damage to one run. Things went from bad to worse the next inning as it appeared he simply lost the feel for the zone.

After Steele retired the first batter, Steele issued a walk and later allowed a two-run home run to Wander Franco. Two more walks and a single by Brandon Lowe made it 4-0 Tampa and closed the book on Steele’s evening. The Cubs did stage a rally in the bottom of the 4th inning thanks to an RBI double by Frank Schwindel and a two-run homer by Patrick Wisdom.

The Cubs bullpen couldn’t hold the Rays off the scoreboard as Chris Martin allowed two runs, punctuated by a triple and a double in back-to-back at-bats. Chicago did try and fight back with two runs of their own as Tampa’s bullpen also had its share of struggles, but could never get closer than 6-5. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost

Steele put the Cubs in a 4-0 hole after three innings and they were playing from behind the rest of the night. Granted, they played from behind fairly well, they just couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Key Moment

In the bottom of the 7th, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two out after having already scored two runs against a Rays pen that was struggling to find the strike zone. Ian Happ came to the plate with a chance to boost the rally, but he grounded into the shift on the right side and the threat was over. The Cubs went meekly in the rest of the way.

Stats That Matter

  • Wisdom didn’t get the start tonight, but when he came into the game in the 4th inning for Jason Heyward he hit a two-run homer and went 1-for-3 on the night.
  • Seiya Suzuki didn’t get a hit, but his on-base streak going back to opening day is still rolling right along after going 0-for-1 with three walks. He’s now got a .581 on-base percentage on the year.
  • Steele ended up going just 2.2 innings, allowing four earned on three hits and three walks.

Bottom Line

This marked the seventh straight game in which a Cubs pitcher hasn’t managed to last five full innings. No teams are seeing starters pitch deep into games yet, but few are having as many short outings as Chicago. The rotation was a concern coming into the season, and that continues to be the case.

On Deck

The Cubs will wind up their three-game series with the Rays on Wednesday night with another 6:40pm CT start that will be carried by Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. Marcus Stroman (0-1, 6.00) will attempt to bounce back from his own short start his last time out as he faces off against Drew Rasmussen (0-1, 5.00)

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