PITTSBURGH – Since arriving in Chicago, Joe Maddon has referenced throwing games into Lake Michigan when his team had a really bad day.
He along with the rest of the Cubs might want to do the same, even if they have to toss it a couple hundred miles to the West. Perhaps dumping it in the Allegheny River would be more convenient, because there was pretty much nothing redeeming about the nine innings that transpired at PNC Park on Monday evening.
Four runs came in during the first inning for the host Pirates, then three more in the second. Even when the Cubs got three runs back in the four, the Pirates responded with three of their own. They’d score at least a run in their final four at-bats on the evening, and when it was over, the result was downright ugly.
A season-high 18 runs on 23 hits were scored by Pittsburgh against five Cubs’ pitchers, including infielder Daniel Descalso. When it mercifully ended, the Cubs were saddled with an 18-5 loss that could easily be classified as their ugliest of the season, and starts off the month of July with a dud.
Josh Bell hit homers off Cubs’ starter Adbert Alzolay in the first and second inning as part of his three-homer, seven-RBI night. After two strong outings to start his career, the rookie pitcher had no luck on this night, surrendering seven runs and ten hits in 2 2/3 innings as he suffered his first career defeat.
The Cubs’ bullpen had little answer either, with Brad Brach (3 earned Runs), Rowan Wick (3 runs, 2 earned), and Craig Kimbrel (3 runs) offering little resistance. Even second baseman Daniel Descalso had little luck as he allowed a two-run homer to Jung Ho Kang.
This does little to help the team or fans feel better after a rough June in which they finished with a 14-15 record. It was just the third time in the Maddon era in which the team finished a month sub-.500, joining May of 2017 and July of 2016. Kyle Hendricks returns after a few weeks on the injured list on Tuesday with the hope he can get things settled down in game two of the series with the Pirates.
Perhaps he can prevent the team from tossing away another game to be forgotten forever.