Cubs' bats continue to stay silent against Rockies as losing streak hits four

Cubs' bats continue to stay silent against Rockies as losing streak hits four

The Colorado Rockies came to the North Side, and the Cubs' bats vanished.

For the third straight game against the visitors from the Mile High City, the Cubs did almost nothing offensively, getting just four hits off Rockies starter Jeff Hoffman in a 9-1 loss Saturday afternoon.

After scoring one run on five hits in the series-opener Thursday night and three runs on three hits in Friday's loss, the Cubs scored just once and mustered five hits in Saturday's defeat, their fourth straight dating back to the series-finale with the Marlins on Wednesday night.

The Cubs couldn't do much of anything against Hoffman, who entered with a thin 2.61 ERA in his first four appearances of the season. Saturday, Hoffman allowed just one hit in his first six innings of work before the Cubs finally strung a few knocks together to stop the shutout in the seventh.

The North Siders missed out on an early scoring chance, when Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo got to second and third with one out in the first inning. But Ben Zobrist struck out swinging and Jason Heyward grounded out to end the threat.

Hoffman kept the Cubs quiet from there, finishing with just one run and four hits allowed in 6.1 innings, striking out eight.

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The Cubs staged a minor uprising in the seventh, Heyward, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras stitched three consecutive one-out singles together to finally get the Cubs on the board and chase Hoffman. But two outs against two different Rockies relievers followed to end that rally.

The Rockies, meanwhile, had little trouble getting on the board, scoring a pair of first-inning runs off Cubs starting pitcher — and former Rockies hurler — Eddie Butler on RBI doubles off the bats off DJ LeMahieu and Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds launched a solo home run onto Waveland Avenue to make it 3-0 in the fourth, and Charlie Blackmon crushed a pitch onto Sheffield Avenue in the seventh to make it 4-0.

Butler exited after five innings, surrendering three runs on six hits. While Butler still has just one start that's lasted six innings, he's allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of his six starts.

The Rockies tacked on three more runs in the ninth, Nolan Arenado clearing the bases with a two-out double that jumped the scored up to 7-1. An eighth run scored on a wild pitch later in the inning, and the Rockies got their ninth run on an Ian Desmond base hit on the next pitch.

The Cubs will try to prevent a five-game skid when they send Jake Arrieta to the mound in the finale of this four-game set Sunday.

Cubs' Anthony Rizzo: MLB-MLBPA negotiations were 'flat-out embarrassing'

Cubs' Anthony Rizzo: MLB-MLBPA negotiations were 'flat-out embarrassing'

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo pulled no punches Friday describing negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players union to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think it's just flat-out embarrassing for me to be searching through Twitter and seeing the updates because that's how fast they got out there," Rizzo told reporters in Friday's Zoom session. "There's a lot of leaks on [MLB's] side, seems like there was leaks whenever we sent in a proposal, to the point where it kind of turned into a joke with the media battle."

The squabbling between MLB and the MLBPA continued into late June before commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally imposed a 60-game season. Rizzo pointed out how billionaires and millionaires fighting over money during a pandemic is a bad look, and many have speculated baseball's fan interest could take a hit in the short- and perhaps long-term.

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Rizzo believes MLB has an opportunity to capture a new generation of fans during this unique 60-game season, however.

"But when it's all said and done and baseball's on the field and we play with our emotion like we know how to do, that's how we're gonna capture a new fan base through this tough time," he said.


MLB announces league-wide COVID-19 intake testing results

MLB announces league-wide COVID-19 intake testing results

On the same day the Cubs and White Sox hit the field for their first Summer Camp workouts, Major League Baseball announced the results of its league-wide COVID-19 intake testing.

Of the 3,185 samples received, 38 tests came back positive (1.2 percent). Players account for 31 of those positives with staff making up the other seven. Nineteen teams had at least one individual test positive, and 11 teams did not have any individuals test positive.

No positive tests is the goal but the initial results are encouraging. For comparison, the NBA announced last week 16 of the 302 tests administered (5.3) for the 22 teams in the league's Orlando restart came back positive.

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MLB teams can't announce if a player tests positive for the coronavirus without consent, hence the league releasing broad results. This week, the Phillies abruptly placed four players on the 10-day injured list; Angels manager Joe Maddon said Friday 9-10 players would not be participating in workouts. He didn't disclose why, which may suggest that at least several players tested positive.

David Ross indicated Friday the Cubs are one of 11 teams with no positive results.

Testing will continue every other day in spring training and the regular season. Players will also take antibody tests once a month.