Another freaking one-run loss to the Pirates. And it was a brutal one at that. Another series loss, too, when it easily could have been a Cubs sweep. Same thing was true the last damn series against the Pirates.
Travis Wood threw a freaking gem, dominating Pirates hitters all day, and the Cubs took advantage of some Pirates miscues to score early and often. The Cubs even played nice defense, too.
But their 4-0 lead evaporated in an ugly 7th inning from Brian Schlitter and James Russell (don’t make the easy, obvious Schlitter joke, man). The Pirates scored five in the frame, and that was it for the day. Commence expletives. People are going to complain about using Schlitter and Russell there instead of, for example, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon, who each pitched later and each looked dominant. But, it was a 4-0 game in the 7th, which is a perfectly reasonable time to use Schlitter (who has actually looked good at times). And then you’ve got Russell, who is supposed to get lefties out, and failed to do so. I can’t pin this one on the bullpen usage – just on the poor bullpen performance.
The one RR decision I will question is bringing in Luis Valbuena as a pinch hitter with men on first and second and no one out in the 9th, and asking him to sacrifice bunt. Valbuena fouled a ball off trying to bunt, and then struck out swinging. From there, the Cubs’ rally became the obligatory teaser rally. Game over.