Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/17/23): Nationals 7, Cubs 5 – Playoff Hopes Continue to Fade After Yet Another Loss to Nats

The Cubs continued to fall further out of contention with another very disappointing loss to the lowly Washington Nationals on Monday night. Their starting pitcher put them in an early hole and they were not able to dig out despite a couple of late home runs.

Former Cub Jeimer Candelario gave the Nats a 1st-inning lead with a two-run home run into the basket in left field off of struggling starter Drew Smyly. Christopher Morel got one of those runs back with an RBI single against MacKenzie Gore in the 2nd.

A walk and a double from Stone Garrett started another rally for Washington in the 4th. Dominic Smith grounded out and Luis Garcia singled to plate the runners and make it 4-1. Cody Bellinger lost a Garrett fly ball in the high sky at Wrigley and it dropped for a 6th-inning double. That two-base hit would also come in to score on a sacrifice fly and the road team was ahead by four.

Ian Happ finally put a good swing on a ball and hit a two-run laser-beam homer to left field to cut the deficit to 5-3 in the bottom of the frame. Unfortunately, the Nationals immediately answered back against rookie reliever Daniel Palencia with a massive two-run bomb from catcher Keibert Ruiz in the next half inning.

Gore remained in the game in the 7th inning and Patrick Wisdom provided the Cubs with their own tape-measure dinger to make it a 7-5 contest. Chicago got the tying run to the plate in both the 8th and 9th but they failed to score and lost by that same tally. (Box score)

Key Moment

Two singles and a double steal put runners on second and third with two outs in the 8th inning for pinch-hitter Mike Tauchman. Tauchman smoked a line drive right up the middle but it hung up for center fielder Alex Call, who caught it to end the threat.

Why the Cubs Lost

Smyly had another off night, which has been the case more often than not over the last two months. The Cubs were also unable to score against the shaky Washington bullpen.

Stats That Matter

  • Smyly has not been good since May and Monday was another rough one: 6 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 7 K, and 1 BB.
  • Wisdom is finally showing signs of life after a dreadful slump.
  • Nico Hoerner struck out three times and looks lost at the plate.

Bottom Line

The writing on the wall is starting to look pretty clear for the Cubs in 2023. Barring a long winning streak, something this team does not seem capable of, they are probably going to sell and then play out the string in August and September. It’s a very disappointing outcome and fans are going to start to grumble pretty loudly at the lack of progress with the rebuild. Results have to start getting better.

On Deck

Chicago tries to pick up a win Tuesday at 7:05pm CT. Jameson Taillon looks to build on the best start of his Cubs career against veteran Patrick Corbin with the broadcast on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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