Cubs

Observations: Bryant's grand slam not enough vs. Braves

Cubs
USA TODAY

The Cubs lost to the Braves 8-7 on Monday night, dropping to 10-12 on the season.

Here’s 10 observations from the game.

1. David Ross gave Nico Hoerner a turn at leadoff Monday and the 23-year-old responded with a 2-for-5 showing that included a double. 

"I want to impact this team and help in any way I can. And if that's something I can do to help us then, obviously, it's a great opportunity," Hoerner said of leading off. "We'll go day by day with that. I feel ready to do that whenever asked."

2. Following last week’s promotion, Hoerner is making his case early on to stay in the major leagues. He’s hit safely in three of four starts and has reached base in all four.

3. Zach Davies’ struggles to start his Cubs tenure continued vs. Atlanta. The right-hander pitched just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits and four walks. Four of those runs came in the first inning.

4. Kris Bryant gave Davies and the Cubs new life with a third-inning grand slam, tying the game at 4. It was Bryant’s sixth-career grand slam and first since last September against the White Sox.

"That was really one of the most memorable swings," Hoerner said of the slam. ... "I really believed we were going to win the game after that."

5. But the tie score was short-lived. Atlanta quickly responded in the fourth when Dansby Swanson’s solo home run off Davies pushed them ahead 5-4.

 

“Probably one of the worst stretches of my career,” Davies said after the outing. “It is early, but at any point it sucks. 

"You want the Kris Bryant home run to be the go-ahead," he added. "You don't want it to be the have-to-come-from behind. You want it to build the momentum."

6. Davies has been unable to pitch deep into games in his first five starts. Since going 5 2/3 in his first outing, he’s pitched four innings or less in his last four times out.

"We haven't gotten the length that we were expecting quite yet out of the starting rotation," Ross said postgame. 

"We do feel like things will come back around for those guys and they start to find their groove and be able to go deeper in the games," Ross added. "We're not at that point yet. But we need to get there."

7. Sometimes, you make a good pitch, and a hitter takes a better swing. That was the case when Freddie Freeman turned on Brandon Workman’s four-seam fastball off the inside corner in the fifth inning, putting Atlanta ahead 8-5 on a three-run home run.

Baseball Savant
Workman's fastball that Freeman hit a home run off.

8. It’s only one outing, but Trevor Megill showed how he can be an asset out of the bullpen. Making his MLB debut, the 6-foot-8 right-hander averaged 97 mph with his four-seam fastball, touching 99 mph, in a scoreless sixth. Megill struck out two with one walk.

9. The Cubs ran into some tough luck when trying to tie the game in the seventh. After Willson Contreras' two-run blast made it 8-7, Ian Happ walked to bring up David Bote with two outs. 

Bote squared up Nate Jones, hitting a sharp line out to center field that registered a 109.2 mph exit velocity.

10. With two strikeouts Monday, Happ has now punched out in 15 of his last 31 at-bats. 

On deck: The Cubs and Braves meet again Tuesday in Atlanta. First pitch is 6:20 p.m. CT. Trevor Williams (2-1, 4.66 ERA) and Ian Anderson (1-0, 3.27 ERA) are the probable starters.

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