The Cubs were hoping to start off the new series with the Nationals on a winning note Monday. They built an early lead but could not hold it in the middle innings and went down in defeat.
Ian Happ put Chicago on the board with a solo homer in the 1st inning. After a Seiya Suzuki infield hit, Franmil Reyes tripled to right field with the help of an outfield misplay to put his team ahead by two.
McKinstry misplayed a ground ball that could’ve been a double play allowing a run to score. Yadiel Hernandez singled home another run and ended Stroman’s night. Mark Leiter Jr. replaced Stroman and immediately allowed a go-ahead two-run double to the veteran Nelson Cruz.
Nick Madrigal doubled in the top of the 7th and scored on a single by Suzuki to tie the game at four. Brandon Hughes had a rare mistake in the 8th inning and Cruz crushed it for the game-winning home run. Washington closed out a very low-drama 9th for a 5-4 victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Sloppy defense in the 5th inning led to a big rally for the Nationals. Only scoring one run on a very suspect Washington bullpen didn’t help.
Eye on the Future
- Christopher Morel has been struggling of late and had three strikeouts Monday.
- McKinstry had been playing very good defense before his meltdown in the 5th.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman deserved a better fate Monday, at least the runs against him were unearned: 4.2 IP, 4 R, 0 ER, 6 H, 4 K, and 1 BB.
- Happ started what looks like one of his patented hot streaks and it should be fun to watch if it continues.
The Cubs are going to face a decision next year when it comes to Ian Happ. Monday shows the kind of talent he has and might be worth a contract extension. The real question is can he be consistent enough to merit such a deal?