CHICAGO – With only a few weeks left in the season, this figured to be a series in which the Cubs could put themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to the National League Central division championship.
Hosting the Cardinals for five games over a four-day stretch, David Ross’ group could put some distance between themselves and their closest competitor with about three weeks to go.
But outside of Yu Darvish’s performance on Friday, it’s been a weekend of letdowns for the Cubs.
After two losses on Saturday in a doubleheader, things got no better for the Cubs or starter Jon Lester. For a second-straight start, the veteran left-hander couldn’t hold down his opponent in what would turn out to be a decisive defeat.
Despite jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning, the Cardinals’ bats woke up against Lester in a 7-3 victory Sunday night at Wrigley Field. The defeat is the third-straight for the Cubs, who now have just a game-and-a-half lead over St. Louis with 19 games remaining.
Remember, the Cardinals still have nine more games than the Cubs down the stretch after multiple postponements due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
St. Louis pounded out 12 hits off five of the seven relievers that Ross had to use on Sunday evening. Half of those came off of Lester, who allowed five earned runs for a second consecutive game.
Tommy Edman began a rocky evening for the Cubs with a solo homer in the first inning to put the Cardinals ahead. Anthony Rizzo tied the game in the bottom of the first with a solo shot to center and Jason Kipnis put the Cubs ahead with a two-run homer in the second, but that was it for the Cubs’ offense.
In three losses in the last two days, the Cubs score just six total runs and were held to just six hits on Sunday.
Meanwhile the Cardinals teed off against Lester in the third, with Paul Goldschmidt’s three-run homer putting St. Louis ahead to stay. Rangel Ravelo’s double brought home the fourth and final run of that inning, and the Cardinals would add two more in the sixth to finish their scoring.
Luckily for the Cubs, an unusual five-game series gives them a chance to get a game back on Monday at 3 PM. With time ticking down in the season, it would be a good one for the group to get in their push for a NL Central title.
Cubs Honor Lou Brock
Shortly before the game began on Sunday, Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Lou Brock died at the age of 81.
The Cubs honored him with a moment of silence before the game, with each team having been a part of his career.
Brock made his debut with the Cubs in 1961 and was with the team till he was traded to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1964 season. After that, Brock would play in St. Louis until 1979, setting a major league record for steals (938) that stood till Rickey Henderson broke it in 1991.
A six-time All-Star, Brock helped the Cardinals to a pair of World Series championships. In 1985, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.