PITTSBURGH – Considering their opponent’s struggles through a lot of the year and what was on the line for themselves, some had hoped that Thursday would be the day the Cubs would reach a milestone.
A National League Central division championship was within reach of David Ross’ team as they entered a four-game stretch against last place Pittsburgh on Monday. But instead, the opposite happened, with the team struggling to a series loss that leaves them work to in the final weekend.
The last game of the series was especially forgettable, with the team getting shutout in a 7-0 loss to the Pirates that will leave their lead at just 2 1/2 games in the division. The Cardinals and Brewers face each other Thursday night, with the winner creeping closer to the Cubs in the standings. St. Louis does have one extra game to play this weekend.
Starter Alec Mills allowed runs in each of his four innings on Thursday afternoon, including three solo homers. Josh Bell’s two run homer in the fifth off Kyle Ryan put it out of reach for a Cubs’ offense that remains stagnant in the final week.
The team was held to two hits and shutout for the second time in five games as they scored just three runs in three-straight losses for Pittsburgh.
Things aren’t exactly bad for the Cubs as they face the White Sox to end the season at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend. Two wins and they’ll capture the NL Central title, but the team isn’t exactly feeling their best as the postseason looms.