CI Recap (8/18/18) – Pirates 3, Cubs 1: Offense Continues To Struggle In Pirates Win

The Cubs won the first two games of their series with the Pirates despite only scoring two total runs. Chicago only scored one run again on Saturday, but this time Pittsburgh did generate some offense and got the win.

Tyler Chatwood got the start for the Cubs, but it was really a bullpen game after the sudden injury to Mike Montgomery. Chatwood handled the 1st inning without issue before trouble started in the 2nd. Josh Bell and Francisco Cervelli walked to put two men on with no outs. Adam Frazier followed with a double to right-center to score Bell and give the home team a 1-0 lead.

Pittsburgh was able to cash in the runners on second and third as well. Colin Moran had an RBI grounder to first and Adeiny Hechavarria hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it 3-0. The Cubs bounced back with their daily solo home run. Ben Zobrist had the power swing Saturday, a long blast to right in the top of the 3rd.

That was pretty much it for the offense on both sides. Chatwood was done after two innings and the rest of the Chicago bullpen was great. Randy Rosario, Jesse Chavez, Brandon Kintzler, and Jorge De La Rosa kept the Pirates off the board. Joe Musgrove shut the Cubs down completely in seven strong innings. Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez took care of the 8th and 9th innings with almost no drama to secure the win. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost

The offense is in a very deep slump at the moment, scoring a total of three runs the first three games of the series. Other than Zobrist’s homer, the rest of the offense was five singles, two of which stayed on the infield.

Key Moment

Chatwood’s two walks to lead off the 2nd were the deciding factor. The Pirates only rally of the night required just one hit. Free baserunners usually come back to bite a team and that was the case Saturday.

Stats That Matter

  • Randy Rosario looked solid in his first appearance back up from Iowa: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 K, and 0 BB. With Montgomery hurt, Rosario will need to pick up some key innings.
  • Ben Zobrist had the two hardest hit balls of the night for the Cubs. The rest of the offense has looked bland of late, but Ben looks good.
  • Addison Russell’s struggles continue, Saturday he looked like he was in a lot of pain on a few swings. A nagging finger injury is clearly acting up, he was replaced late in the game.

Bottom Line

The fact that the Cubs have won two of the last three games with so little offense is amazing. The offense needs to kick things into gear and soon. No team can win consistently with so little run support.

On Deck

Chicago looks to win the series Sunday afternoon at 12:35pm CT. Jose Quintana hopes to have a bounce back start against the talented Jameson Taillon, ABC-7 provides the television broadcast.

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