Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 – July 21, 2021
Thattttttt sucked. It had to be Yadi Molina off of Craig Kimbrel, eh? Fun to watch for over four hours only to see it end that way.
For the second night in a row, the Cubs came from behind in the 9th inning, with a pinch-hitting Eric Sogard driving in Nico Hoerner to tie things up at two. John Gant then plunked back-to-back batters to load the bases, but Anthony Rizzo grounded out to end that threat in the 9th.
In the 10th, the Cubs finally got their first hit of the night with a runner in scoring position – a Javy Báez bullet to right – but since the freebie runner on second was Rizzo, he couldn’t score. A batter later, there were two outs without a run scoring, because Rizzo got himself stuck in a run down between third and home AFTER the Cardinals had gotten an out at second base on the play. That probably sounds confusing, but it’s mostly just that it was bad. If Rizzo had just run to the plate, he scores easily on a traditional double play. But he stopped for reasons unknown.
Craig Kimbrel, who’d finished up the 9th – pitching on back-to-back days – was then asked to hold the Cardinals down in the 10th. Couldn’t quite get it done.
Kyle Hendricks was excellent tonight, as he has been in virtually every one of his last 15 starts. I still refuse to care about the pitcher W/L statistic, so whatever happened on that front is of no moment. When your bats go 0-10 with runners in scoring position while you’re in the game, that’s hardly on you. (Well, I mean, except for the times Hendricks batted with runners in scoring position …. )
The Cardinals got their first two runs – which ultimately chased Hendricks from the game – after a Paul DeJong grounder that *very likely* hit his foot before going into the field of play (and then getting thrown away by Willson Contreras). Probably should’ve been a foul ball, but the replays I could see weren’t 100% conclusive. From there, it was a couple doubles and a couple runs.
That second run scored after Andrew Chafin relieved Hendricks, who’d batted the previous inning with a chance to pad the lead. It felt a little incongruous to bat Hendricks, and then pull him so quickly the next inning, so I didn’t really get either side of that decision.
Still, you hold the other team to two runs in regulation, and you should win that game most nights. The bats weren’t there when the big moments presented themselves.
Given certain pinch-hitting and positional decisions late in the game, by the way, it’s clear Kris Bryant was wholly unavailable to play.