Cubs

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Hours before the first pitch was even thrown in Cubs-Giants Monday night, the managers of both teams fielded questions on the miraculous comeback that occurred the last time these two teams squared off.

But the Cubs offense couldn't complete another epic comeback against the San Francisco bullpen Monday, dropping a 6-4 contest in front of 36,204 fans at Wrigley Field.

Two hundred, twenty three days after the Cubs scored four runs in the ninth inning to eliminate the Giants in the National League Division Series, they put a four-spot on the board in the eighth inning.

But the Giants had built a six-run lead and called upon Hunter Strickland (who was on the mound for the final runs of that Game 4) to induce a rally-killing double play ball from Willson Contreras.

The Cubs had done nothing against Ty Blach for seven innings before Jason Heyward led off the eighth with a single. Javy Baez followed with a homer, pinch-hitter Ian Happ tripled and Ben Zobrist drilled another blast into the right-field bleachers.

Pinch-hitter Jon Jay followed Zobrist's homer with a single and after Kris Bryant flied out, Anthony Rizzo was plunked, putting two on and one out for Contreras.

"We're not tired of saying that we never quit," Baez said. "The game is 27 outs, maybe more. We just gonna keep fighting until the game is over."

Mark Melancon —  the big-money closer recently activated off the disabled list who was signed to help stabilize the back end of the Giants bullpen — pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the San Francisco victory.

John Lackey had a rough outing for the Cubs, allowing five runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in five innings. He also hit two batters and gave up two home runs — including a solo shot by Joe Panik to lead off the game.

"Honestly, I threw the ball better tonight than I have my last three," Lackey said. "I felt like I executed quite a few pitches, but they got a few more balls up than we did."

Overall, Maddon liked what he saw, from the stellar defense to the "never quit" mentality.

"We had really good at-bats, played our defense," Maddon said. "That's what I'm looking for. More of that. When you lose a game like that, my thought has always been, if we keep playing like that, we're gonna win plenty.

"We didn't quit. I have nothing to complain about. I shall sleep well. That's the game we're looking for right there.

"You saw the effort. ... Sometimes the score is not in your favor but when you play baseball proeprly and keep doing that, it comes back to you."

Cubs' Ian Happ: Anthony Rizzo looks 'absolutely wonderful' after weight loss

Cubs' Ian Happ: Anthony Rizzo looks 'absolutely wonderful' after weight loss

From the press box, baseball writers squinted down at the players taking ground balls at Wrigley Field Friday.

Was that lean first baseman really Anthony Rizzo?

“I looked at myself in the mirror when I got home with (my wife) Emily and I go, ‘I’m either going to gain 50 pounds or I’m going to get back into amazing shape,’” Rizzo said after the Cubs’ first day of Summer Camp.

Rizzo lost about 25 pounds over the baseball hiatus, training with quality assurance coach Mike Napoli.

“I was in really good shape coming into the spring,” Rizzo said, “and just me and coach Napoli were basically quarantine buddies the entire time. And we just held each other accountable every day, six days a week, we were going to get after it, we had our good routine, and I think it’s paid off. I feel really good for this year and for this sprint.”

Ian Happ, whose locker is next to Rizzo’s, said he watched his teammate try on smaller clothes Friday because everything from before his weight loss was too baggy.

“Nice to see him downsizing, and he looks absolutely wonderful,” Happ said. “His pop right now -- I don’t want to oversell it, but his pop right now -- he’s strong. He’s very strong.”

Rizzo began batting practice hitting everything to the left side of the field. A ground ball here. A fly ball there. But once he got his timing down, he started launching home runs over the ivy.

“Once we got on the field and we’re out there, it’s amazing how fast you can tune everything out,” Rizzo said, “and just be Anthony Rizzo the baseball player, when I’m between the lines.”

Remember when 'Hamilton' cast sang 'Go Cubs Go' after World Series win

Remember when 'Hamilton' cast sang 'Go Cubs Go' after World Series win

Broadway hit musical "Hamilton" became available to stream on Disney Plus on Friday, which serves as a fun reminder.

Remember when the Hamilton cast sang "Go Cubs Go" after the North Siders won the 2016 World Series? Like the Cubs finally snapping their 108-year championship drought, it actually happened.

The Cubs won the Fall Classic on Nov. 2, 2016, a dramatic 8-7 affair that went 10 innings and finished after midnight, Nov. 3, in Cleveland. The Hamilton Chicago cast performed the night of Nov. 3, and the Cubs' clincher presented a perfect way to round out the musical's curtain call.

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Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes put on a special rendition of the song, fitting for the moment:

"Baseball season's done today/We better get ready for a brand new day/Hey Chicago, what do you say?/We won the World Series yesterday." 

The cast didn't know some of the later lyrics but we'll give them a pass. Check out the awesome performance here:

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