Cubs slump gets even more concerning with another loss to Washington

The numbers just don't add up for the Cubs.

Their run differential is plus-43, second best in the National League, but the win-loss record is just 15-15 after Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Washington.

Marcus Stroman has delivered six quality starts in seven outings, along with a 2.18 ERA, but owns a 2-2 record.

After collecting 6 singles and hitting into 4 double plays against the Nationals, the Cubs are now 1-5 on the road trip and have gone 4-9 since sweeping the Oakland A's a couple weeks ago.

As every Cubs fan knows, and is probably tweeting relentlessly, there's potential help in Triple A with Christopher Morel and Matt Mervis posting impressive numbers.

When the Cubs decide to make those changes remains to be seen. There are more roster moves on the way, though. Jameson Taillon will come off the injured list with a groin strain to start Thursday afternoon in Washington.

Before Wednesday's game, the Cubs placed Yan Gomes on the seven-day injured list, so he'll miss this weekend's series against Miami and at least the opener against St. Louis on Monday. Javier Assad was called up and will likely be ready for long relief of Taillon. The Cubs also traded catcher Luis Torrens to Baltimore for cash considerations.

The Cubs will have to clear a roster spot to activate Taillon. Then when Gomes comes off the injured list and Miguel Amaya most likely returns to the minors, maybe that's the time to bring up Morel or Mervis.

Amaya still hasn't played, but could get his first MLB start Thursday after Tucker Barnhart has played two full games in a row.

"Nothing you can do, just turn the page, come back the next day," Trey Mancini said of the Cubs' slump. "You just come back and try to repeat what made you successful earlier in the year. I know this group can do that, we have a lot of experience. Just get back to passing the baton a little bit instead of trying to do too much."

The top of the ninth inning was typical of recent Cubs struggles. Seiya Suzuki and Mancini started with singles. Eric Hosmer bunted into a force play at second, then Patrick Wisdom hit the first pitch he saw into an easy double play to end the game. Ross confirmed after the game he called for the bunt.

The Cubs scored their lone run in the first inning when Nico Hoerner was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a Suzuki single. Stroman gave up a run in the second to tie the score, then Washington took the lead against Adbert Alzolay in the seventh. Stroman was solid overall, giving up 5 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings, with 5 strikeouts.

"I'm making the right strides," Stroman told reporters after the game. "I'm still not exactly where I want to be as far as being repetitive mechanically, but I'm definitely making strides in the right direction.

"It's hard to nitpick and say where (the problem) is. There could be a stretch we win five, six close games in a row down the road. It's a long season. Just making sure we stay confident, I think that's the key."

The Nationals started right-hander Jake Irvin, a 26-year-old making his major league debut. Washington started the night with a 4.19 bullpen ERA, which is nothing special, but the Nats' pen kept Cubs hitters in check for 4 2/3 innings.

"I thought for a guy making his debut, he threw the ball well," Mancini said. "Threw his changeup really hard, it was almost like a two-seamer. So he kind of had a four-seamer, two-seamer thing going and as the game went on, started landing his curveball a little bit."

Hendricks hit hard again:

Kyle Hendricks continued to struggle in his second outing for Triple A Iowa. He gave up a grand slam and 4 total runs on 2 hits and 3 walks in less than 3 innings against Columbus on Wednesday. Hendricks' ERA through two games is 20.77. Iowa lost the game 10-2.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws during the second inning against the Nationals in Washington, Wednesday. Stroman has delivered six quality starts in seven outings, along with a 2.18 ERA, but owns a 2-2 record. Associated Press
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