That’s such a frustrating game to lose, because the Cubs’ pitching gave them a chance, and then the bats collectively put themselves repeatedly in position to do some damage … but collectively repeatedly failed to actually do it.
After plating one in the 2nd, the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out, but their injury-modified lineup left them with Ildemaro Vargas and Eric Sogard up next … strikeout, first-pitch double play, and the inning was over. Shane Bieber is very, very good, but it still really pissed me off.
Similarly, the Cubs got two on to open the 4th, but Bote-Heyward-Vargas went groundout, groundout, strikeout, and that opportunity, too, was squandered. Look, I get it and I’ll emphasize it again: Bieber is so dang good. But the reality is that you gotta cash in against him – or any pitcher – when you get those golden opportunities if you want to pull out a game like this.
The Cubs might’ve had a chance to put it on Bieber again in his final inning in the 7th, but a dubious run decision with Joc Pederson on first and Nick Martini (in for Kris Bryant) at the plate turned into a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double-play, which was of course followed by a two-out single by Matt Duffy with a fielding error in the outfield. What might have been. Lotta that tonight.
Just for good measure, the game ended on another double-play with two runners on base. Not even Matt Duffy could break through the “this game is gonna suck in these situations isn’t it” malaise. Cubs had opportunity after opportunity, and the Indians basically had none. But two dingers, and that was all they needed.
Adbert Alzolay was great again tonight, with one homer coming on a not-so-terrible pitch to an MVP candidate, and the other coming on a hung slider (it happens, but he has almost never done it this year – first extra-base hit on the slider all season, I think). In between, he was dealing again. The three runs suck for tonight, but long-term, it was another great night to see from a very important Cubs pitcher.
Just kept banging my head tonight, man.