Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/20/23): Cardinals 7, Cubs 2 – Lifeless Series Opener Erases Recent Optimism

The Cubs put up another flat effort Thursday night after winning a series against the Washington Nationals. Sloppy defense and a bad outing from Marcus Stroman handed the rival Cardinals a relatively easy victory.

Patrick Wisdom whiffed on a ground ball to third from Nolan Arenado to extend the 1st inning for former Cub Willson Contreras, who hit an RBI double to put the Cardinals ahead 1-0. Stroman had far from his best stuff Thursday but used a couple double plays to escape jams in the 2nd and 3rd.

The Chicago starter’s good luck ran out in the top of the 4th inning, beginning with a two-run homer off the bat of Jordan Walker. Arenado plated two more later in the frame with a double and Stroman headed for the showers.

Steven Matz was terrific for St. Louis, allowing just one run in the 4th. Seiya Suzuki hit a pop-up that was lost in the lights for a double and then Walker’s fruitless dive on a hit from Yan Gomes allowed the Cubs catcher to make it to third with a triple.

Paul DeJong responded in the next half-inning by taking Michael Rucker deep for a two-run dinger into the basket in right. Gomes hit his second consecutive triple in the 7th and scored another run for the North Siders, but that was it and the Cards took home the 7-2 win. (Box score)

Key Moment

The Cubs were able to load the bases with two outs in the 7th inning and Suzuki at the plate. He put a good swing on a pitch but lined it right at left fielder Tyler O’Neil for the final out.

Why the Cubs Lost

They just came out completely flat, including their starting pitcher, and fell into a deep hole immediately. Unlike against the Nationals, the hitters were not able to rally back this time.

Stats That Matter

  • Stroman has had all kinds of trouble against St. Louis this season: 3.2 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 4 K, and 4 BB.
  • Gomes had half of the Cubs’ six hits on Thursday and believe it or not, he had never had two triples in a game before.
  • Javier Assad tossed four scoreless innings of relief to finish the game.

Bottom Line

This is a squad that just has too many flaws to compete for the playoffs and one of them always seems to short-circuit any kind of winning streak they would need to climb back in the race. The time has come to give playing time to young prospects like Matt Mervis and Miguel Amaya. At this point, it probably would help the Cubs win now more than the likes of Wisdom and Trey Mancini.

On Deck

Game two of the series is Friday at 1:20pm CT. Justin Steele faces off against Jack Flaherty in a exclusive Apple TV+ telecast with radio coverage on 670 The Score.

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