Cubs offense stalls again as division, and postseason, getting out of reach
All season long, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that if the Cubs were going to have a "run"in them, it would be with the offense.
The Cubs got their "run" Friday, 1 run to be specific, in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
The first-place Cardinals moved to 20 games over .500 at in the National League Central at 87-67. They lead the third-place Cubs (82-72) by 5 games.
The loss was the Cubs' fourth in a row, a stretch in which they've scored a grand total of 9 runs.
Let's have a reality check about all that giddiness over scoring 47 runs last weekend. Those three games were against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the last-place team in the NL Central.
And that "season-defining" 12-11 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 21 now seems an eternity ago.
"It's just one of those things," said right fielder Nicholas Castellanos. "I don't think there's really a rhyme or reason for it. I don't know how many hits we got, but we had more than they did. That's baseball."
The Cubs outhit and Cardinals 9-4 and watched as the Cardinals went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
Also wasted was a serviceable spot start from Alec Mills, who pitched 4⅔ innings of shutout, 2-hit ball, leaving with a 1-0 lead.
"He was outstanding," said manager Joe Maddon. "He gave us everything we needed, pitched really that well. We've been talking about the whole time, he demonstrated what he's made out of. And the bullpen was spectacular. Three walks and a weak groundball up the middle, and we lose. Offensively, we actually moved the ball a lot today. Bases-loaded double play hurt us, a great bunt by (Kyle) Schwarber and another double play hurt us."
Mills, who has been up-and-down with the Cubs this season, confounded the Cardinals with a curveball that floated up to the plate at 67-69 mph.
"It's one of those things where I always feel like I can throw it for a strike at any point," he said. "A couple times I wish I had it back to throw it for a strike. It's one of those things where it's something I can lean on when I need it. So it's nice.
The Cubs got their run in the second on a fielding error. The Cardinals scored twice in the sixth after reliever David Phelps walked the first two batters of the inning. Steve Cishek came in and walked Matt Carpenter before giving up a 2-run single to Yadier Molina.
"We're running out of games is the big issue right now," Phelps said. "Ones like that, where Millsie gives us an incredible start, come out there in the sixth and throw 8 out of 9 balls. It's unacceptable."
The Cubs don't have many tomorrows left, but Castellanos said it's their only hope.
"Tomorrow, that's all you've got to worry about," he said. "Tomorrow. It's baseball, man. I don't really look for a reason why to figure it out. Just come ready to play tomorrow."