Well, there was no ninth inning comeback in St. Louis tonight, as the Cubs fell to the Cardinals 3-2, dropping three of four in St. Louis, while moving to three games under .500 for the first time since May 4th.
Adbert Alzolay didn’t have his best stuff tonight and he struggled with some of the same old problems (too many homers, issues with lefties), but he was able to get through 6.0 innings of work while keeping the Cubs in the game (3 earned runs). And although the final line reads 8 strikeouts and 3 walks, it should have actually been 10 strikeouts and one walk, as the umpires TWICE called strike three “ball four.” That wouldn’t have changed how Alzolay looked, again, some of his stuff was a little flat and a few sliders just didn’t break away from the heart of the plate, but those would’ve at least been some impressive results (well, more impressive results).
Long story short, in terms of his development, it wasn’t all bad. Learning how to succeed without your best stuff (and with a little bit of luck) is still an important lesson for a young starter. And, hey, he ended the night strong, with a 94.4 MPH fastball strikeout against the lefty, Tommy Edman (who was also caught stealing in stylish fashion tonight).
Other than that there was a scary moment tonight, when Dillon Maples hit Edmundo Sosa square in the helmet with a 95 MPH heater (immediately after uncorking a pitch that made Sosa duck … twice), but fortunately, Sosa was okay and even managed to stay in the game (against what I would consider better judgement, but whatever). He walked the next batter and that was it for him. I’m guessing Maples’ time with the Cubs could be nearing a close, but I’ll let Brett opine on that further tomorrow.