Another Tough Game for Hammel, Dodgers Hang on to Win a Close One

That game felt a lot like Friday’s game. It felt like the Cubs, although behind late in the game, had the Los Angeles Dodgers (72-57) right where they wanted them. It felt like someone would come through.

It felt like it but unfortunately it never happened. The Cubs lost a close one by the score of 3-2 (Box Score).

Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) had another tough day for the Chicago Cubs (82-46) and Joe Maddon didn’t leave him in very long to try and get things turned around.

Hammel gave up a first inning home run to Corey Seager, but we all know that Seager is an exceptional player who is going to get even the best pitchers. Jason got in trouble again in the bottom of the third inning. This time he gave up three singles, a double and a wild pitch, leading to two runs scoring for the Dodgers, giving them a 3-1 lead. Joe didn’t hesitate and, just 39 pitches into the game, he pulled Hammel. When asked about it after the game, Joe said, ” I just didn’t see the game straightening out.”

Rob Zastryzny came on in relief and did an outstanding job. Since being called up on August 19, Zastryzny has allowed no runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings. Included in those numbers was his performance today, where he threw 3 2/3 innings and looked nearly un-hittable. If there was a positive to take away from today’s game it was definitely the confidence this young man is showing.

The Cubs offense looked like it was on the verge of breaking out several times, finding themselves in positions where just one hit would’ve changed the entire complexion of the game. That one hit just never came. They had runners on base in each of the first seven innings and only came away with two runs off two singles, one by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning and the other by Jason Heyward in the seventh.

Stats that mattered

  • Hammel had a tough day and yes, I’m starting to get a little concerned about his past two outings – 2.1IP, 3R, 5H, 1K, HR
  • Zastryzny, on the other hand, was outstanding – 3.2IP, 0R, 1H, 3Ks
  • Cubs had no extra base hits today. It’s hard to win without getting past first base.

Bottom line

The Cubs came up just short in today’s game, not to mention their starting pitcher was pulled in the third inning. Truth be told, that’s not a terrible outcome. If they would’ve won this game it would’ve been exceptional. What’s most concerning to me isn’t the loss, but rather is was Jason Hammel’s performance.

Right when most pundits, including myself, where looking at Hammel and saying ‘he’s overcome the second-half Jason Hammel,’ it looks like that talk could have been premature. The last two starts have been awful. Like really, really bad. Hopefully it’s just a bump in the road…hopefully.

Next up

The Cubs and Dodgers will play the rubber match on Sunday at 3:05 PM CT. Jon Lester (14-4, 2.81 ERA) will be pitching for the Cubs as they go for the series win.

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