Cubs Insider

Observations: Cubs lose ugl-EEEE in St. Louis opener

Cubs Insider
Alec Mills

ST. LOUIS — One night after walking 11 in a loss against the worst team in baseball, the Cubs committed three errors in the span of five batters during four-run fourth inning on the way to a 8-3 loss to the Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series.

The Cubs’ 6-19 slide into the All-Star break made the decision to sell at the trade deadline easy for the front office.

But this is starting to get ridiculous.

“I haven’t seen a game like that it feels like in a while,” manager David Ross said. “I feel like that was uncharacteristic of this group as of late, for sure.”

Ten observations from Monday night’s debacle by the Arch:

1. A throwing error by third-baseman Patrick Wisdom, back-to-back errors by shortstop Javy Báez, a bases-loaded walk and Paul Goldschmidt’s bases-loaded infield, cue-shot single off the end of the bat with two outs added up to four unearned runs in the fourth — with only one ball reaching the outfield during a 10-batter inning that was the Cubs’ ugliest inning of the season. And just like that it was 5-0.

"Super frustrating," Wisdom said. "It started with me. I've got to make a better throw. It snowballed from there."

2. Those were Báez’ 16th and 17th errors of the season, most he’s committed at shortstop in a season in his career and matching his 2018 career high for a season overall regardless of position — in just 83 games. He played 160 in 2018.

 

3. The night went quickly from bad to worse for the Cubs in the bottom of the sixth when rookie Keegan Thompson gave up back-to-back homers in the span of four two-out pitches to Dylan Carlson (two-run shot) and Goldschmidt. It turned a 5-1 game into an 8-1 rout-in-the-making.

4. Hey, wait a minute — the box score says four errors by the Cubs.

Good eye. Eric Sogard air-mailed a sidearm throw to first after charging a grounder in the eighth.

5. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, trailing 8-2, Ross emptied most of his short bench, getting catcher Willson Contreras and Báez off their feet.

6. Highlight alert: Beyond a couple of two-hit games from Anthony Rizzo and Rafael Ortega, rookie Wisdom slugged his 14th homer of the season during a 3-for-4 performance.

7. Award watch? Wisdom has a .962 OPS in 47 games this season and if he finishes hot and in the everyday lineup down the stretch could join the Rookie of the Year conversation.

8. Innocent victim: Starter Alec Mills took the brunt of the ugly fourth inning, costing him enough pitches to keep him from going back out in the fifth and tagging him with his third loss in seven decisions.  Mills (4.62 ERA) gave up five runs but only one of them earned and struck out six (two walks).

“I’m proud of the way Millsy pitched, to be honest with you,” Ross said. “I thought he threw the ball exceptional.”

9. Right stuff: The Cubs activated right-hander Dillon Maples from the injured list (triceps) before the game for the start of the four-game series against the nearly all-right-hand-hitting Cardinals, replacing lefty Kyle Ryan in the bullpen. Maples pitched a scoreless seventh. Ryan was optioned to triple-A Iowa.

10. If the Duff man cometh …: The Cubs remain on track for another roster move before Thursday’s series finale, when Matt Duffy (back) is eligible to return from the 60-day IL. The corresponding move, barring a trade — um … hmmmmm.

On deck: First pitch Tuesday 7:15 p.m. It’s Cubs RHP Trevor Williams (3-2, 5.51) vs. the dreaded TBA. Broadcasts on Marquee and 670-AM.

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