Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (5/22/24): Braves 9, Cubs 2 – Offense Fried Once Again

The Cubs had a chance to win their series against the Braves Wednesday night after a dramatic extra-innings win on Tuesday, but it was a much different outcome in this one. Chicago’s offense could get nothing going against Max Fried and Atlanta’s hitters exploded for six runs in the 7th inning to put this one on ice.

Justin Steele was sharp early for the Cubs, retiring the first six batters he saw before making his only big mistake of the night in the 3rd inning when Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer to left. Fried was perfect through the first five frames not allowing a single runner to reach base.

The struggling Ian Happ finally got his team off the schneid with a double in the bottom of the 6th inning. Happ would eventually come home to score on an RBI groundout by Miguel Amaya that cut Chicago’s deficit to 2-1. Steele went back out for the 7th but was pulled after a double, a hit by pitch, and a safety squeeze by Zack Short made it 3-1.

José Cuas came out of the bullpen and the Braves took full advantage with a three-run homer from Marcell Ozuna, followed by a solo shot from Matt Olson to put the road team comfortably ahead 8-1. Each team would add an additional run as Atlanta took the 9-2 victory. (Box score)

Key Moment

With a bullpen day scheduled for Thursday, Craig Counsell tried to squeeze one more inning out of Steele and it didn’t work out. Cuas demonstrated again why he is just not a reliable relief option going forward.

Why the Cubs Lost

The lineup was again completely overwhelmed by a quality starting pitcher and it probably would not have mattered if the bullpen was on its game, which it most definitely was not.

Stats That Matter

  • Steele pitched pretty well and his numbers were skewed by Cuas giving up his inherited runners: 6.1 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 5 K, and 1 BB.
  • Happ had two of the Cubs’ three hits on Wednesday.
  • Porter Hodge made his major league debut in the 9th inning and struck out the side.

Bottom Line

Chicago’s offense continues to struggle and doesn’t give the pitching much margin for error, especially against a team as good as the Braves. That being said, winning Thursday and taking the series would be a pretty impressive accomplishment. Scoring a bunch of runs would certainly help make that a better possibility.

On Deck

The rubber match of the series is Thursday at 1:20pm CT. Ben Brown will be the opener against young AJ Smith-Shawver in a matchup airing on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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