Not unlike a three-run lead, the 2022 Chicago Cubs seem to be quite good at swiftly ditching the good vibes. You’d hoped they could carry a little bit of the series win in San Diego into this Diamondbacks series, but outside of one decent inning at the plate, there was just nothing to see.
Drew Smyly wasn’t bad, and if he’d gotten a strong defensive play or two behind him, it’s possible his night looks even better (and the Cubs probably squeak this one out). He certainly wasn’t getting rocked, it’s just that as a ball-in-play guy (that seems to be what he’s become), he is going to need solid defense to make it work. And, while I don’t think the defensive looked bad, you can certainly see the difference between having Nico Hoerner at shortstop (or Andrelton Simmons) and having Ildemaro Vargas there.
Which, is fair to point out: the Cubs are not exactly playing at full strength. They aren’t just overloaded with injuries right now, but they are also missing some really key contributors – I mean, take Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki away from this time, and it’s gonna be really rough. The injuries aren’t why the Cubs have won so few games this year, and even at full strength, no one would pick them to win the division. But in a game like last night? A full strength Cubs team probably wins that game. Or at least has a significantly better chance.
The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the 8th and Alfonso Rivas up – it’s what you wanted to see – but he couldn’t come through this time. That was pretty much their only decent scoring opportunity after the third inning.