ST. LOUIS - If you just used Twitter as a reference, the Cubs had plenty of sources outside their own clubhouse to place blame for a Game 1 loss.
Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called several strikes on pitches that were out of the zone and there was plenty of speculation on social media that something was up with Cardinals starter John Lackey's forearm.
Cuzzi went out to the mound during Anthony Rizzo's at-bat in the seventh inning to check on the ball Lackey was using, but Rizzo said it was just because the Cardinals were using the same ball Rizzo had fouled off on the previous pitch, when normally any foul ball is switched out.
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The Cubs say they did not ask Cuzzi to go out to the mound.
"Nobody in our dugout mentioned anything about anybody's arm," catcher David Ross said. "Listen, this is baseball. We're not here to accuse anybody of anything. We're not here to rip the umpire. We're not here to rip on John Lackey's doctoring a ball.
"Who cares? We're trying to win; we're trying to compete. We didn't win today, so we're going to come back and try to get one tomorrow. I promise you that."
The Cubs may not have used the strike zone as an excuse for the Game 1 loss, but they didn't exactly give Cuzzi a ringing endorsement either on a frustrating night that saw the Cubs lineup collect just three singles and a pair of walks.
"If the pitcher is getting strikes outside the strike zone, it's very tough to hit, I will say that," Ross said.
"We have to take into consideration what the umpire is calling, so it might change our approach a little bit," Addison Russell said.
Cubs players were seen barking at Cuzzi several times throughout the game and manager Joe Maddon was on the top step of the dugout shouting to Cuzzi at one point, too.
"I voiced my opinion a couple times," Joe Maddon said, "but apparently it was the same zone for both sides, and I really can't complain about that.
"I think we had to expand our zone offensively to try to cover some pitches that we normally don't have to swing at in order to avoid strikeouts, and the ball is put in play weakly because of that, so I think there was an advantage from the expanded strike zone regarding us not being able to make hard contact."