The Chicago Cubs lost to the Miami Marlins in Miami, 4-2, in a game that got away. The Cubs fell behind early when Miami scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning. Chicago crept back and trailed 3-2, but didn’t tie up the game. Instead Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami slugger hit his 20th home run to make a 4-2 game.
The Cubs stranded 11 runners in the game. They scored their runs on sacrifice flies. Edinson Volquez pitched five innings and wasn’t a world beater, but it was enough to give the Marlins a shot. He allowed five hits, five walks and in five innings of work.
Montgomery pitched six innings, allowed three unearned runs, and his ERA dipped to 2.03. He is not over powering. He gets his outs. If he locates his fastball better, he might be more effective.
Chicago drops to 38-37 and trails Milwaukee by just 1.5 games. The team is having a hard time just gathering a modest winning streak, which could catapult them into the lead. However, this team is not firing on all cylinders —yet. One has to hope they will.
The Cubs have been getting quality starts lately. Lester and Lackey both pitched well in recent starts. Montgomery is pitching well enough to win. The team is not putting up consistent offense. All this is happening as Kyle Hendricks is on the DL list due to an injured finger. He is weeks away from starting again, probably not until the All-Star break.
Anthony Rizzo was hot as a pistol leading off until he cooled off. Kris Bryant is in a slump. Today he struck out on a 3-2 pitch with two runners on base to end a threat.
Last year the Cubs cashed in with runners in scoring position. Hitting runners over, and then driving them in. This has not happened game in, game out this season. Chicago is one of the lowest teams in the league in driving runners home in scoring position.
When the Cubs hit, they hit well. Then there is a drop-off. We are seeing this now. It appears that players are trying. This is a new experience for all of the players: Coming off a World Series crown. They are finding out it’s not that easy to defend the title.