Pittsburgh Pirates Continue Their August Slide, Lose to the Cubs Once Again
The Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Chicago Cubs for a second consecutive night on Tuesday
Tuesday night at Wrigley Field the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by arch nemesis Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs by a score of 4-1. With the loss, the Pirates are now 63-70 overall on the season and 12-16 in the month of August.
Countering Jake Arrieta on Tuesday night was Chad Kuhl. In his young career, Kuhl has struggled immensely against the Cubs. This would not be the case on Tuesday night, though, as Kuhl would turn in a strong start.
The Chicago Cubs threatened in the bottom of the 1st inning. However, thanks to a double play and some great infield defense Chad Kuhl was able to post a zero.
Ben Zobrist singled to start the game, however, this was cleaned up quickly when Kyle Schwarber hit into a 1-6-3 double play.
After this, Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo hit a bloop single. A wild pitch by Kuhl then put runners on second and third with two outs. Tommy La Stella then stung a ball that seemed ticketed for center field that would have given the Cubs a 2-0 lead. However, Josh Harrison ranged far to his right and made a great play to field the ball and throw to first base to rob LaStella of a two-run single ending the inning.
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In the top of the 2nd inning the Pirates would respond with a failed threat of their own. With one out John Jaso was hit by a pitch and Jordy Mercer singled. Then with two outs, Jake Arrieta threw a wild pitch putting runners on second and third for Chad Kuhl. However, Arrieta would strike out Kuhl looking to end the inning.
Josh Bell drew a walk to start the top of the 4th inning. Then with one out, Jaso drew a walk. All of a sudden the Pirates were threatening once again. However, Mercer would then hit into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
After a shaky bottom of the 1st inning, Chad Kuhl settled in. He had a stretch of eight in a row retired when Jason Heyward singled to start the bottom of the 5th inning. However, after Javier Baez popped out, Heyward was caught stealing and Jake Arrieta struck out to end the inning.
The game’s scoreless tie was finally broken in the bottom of the 6th inning. Ben Zobrist led off the inning with his 10th home run of the season. This gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead and started the series of events that would bring Kuhl’s night to an end.
After the Zobrist home run, Chad Kuhl issued a walk to Kyle Schwarber. Then with one out, Anthony Rizzo hit a double and Tommy La Stella was intentionally walked to load the bases.
After an Alex Avila RBI single made the score 2-0 Cubs, Chad Kuhl was lifted for A.J. Schugel. Schugel entered the game with the bases loaded, just one out, and Jason Heyward at the plate. He allowed a sacrifice fly to Heyward to make the score 3-0 Cubs, and then he struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.
In 5 1/3 innings pitched on Tuesday night Chad Kuhl allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks (2 unintentional), and 7 strikeouts. While his final stat line was not great, Kuhl pitched a strong game on Tuesday night and kept the Pirates in it. An intentional walk and A.J. Schugel allowing an inherited runner to score made his final line look worse than he pitched.
In the top of the 7th inning Koji Uehara entered the game for the Cubs, bringing Jake Arrieta’s night to an end. In 6 innings pitched Arrieta held the Pirates scoreless, he allowed just a pair of singles, he walked 2, hit a batter, and struck out 4.
With one out in the top of the 7th inning, John Jaso hit a line drive home run off of Uehara. Jaso’s 9th long ball of the season cut the Cub lead to 3-1. Uehara would then allow a two-out single to pinch-hitter Elias Diaz, bringing his night to an end.
Pedro Strop would take over for Uehara. He took over on the mound with the Cubs leading 3-1, but the Pirates had the tying run at the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Jose Osuna. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Osuna would go down swinging to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th inning Dovydas Nevrauskas took entered the game to pitch for the Pirates. Neverauskas would continue his strong 2017 campaign by retiring the Cubs in order on just eight pitches.
With Pedro Strop still in the game for the Cubs, Starling Marte reached on a bunt single to start the top of the 8th inning. Then with two outs and Josh Bell coming to the plate, Strop was replaced with Brian Duensing. Duensing would do his job getting Bell to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Daniel Hudson pitched the bottom of the 8th inning for the Cubs. In this 8th inning, Hudson’s miserable 2017 season would campaign. After issuing a lead off walk to Kris Bryant, Hudson allowed a RBI double to Anthony Rizzo to make the score 4-1 Cubs after 8 innings of play.
In the top of the 9th inning Wade Davis became the new Cubs’ pitcher. With one out, John Jaso reached on a single. Jaso finished the night 2-for-2 with a solo home run, a walk, and he was hit by a pitch. However, Davis would retire the other three hitters he faced to close out a 4-1 Chicago victory.
On Tuesday night Chad Kuhl pitched well for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but a bad 6th inning and lack of offense went on to sink the Bucs. The 2017 Pittsburgh Baseball Club now has just 29 games remaining, and these final 29 games may resemble a slow death.
Next: Bucs put Nicasio and LeBlanc on irrevocable waivers
The third and final game of this series is scheduled for 8:05 on Wednesday night. Ivan Nova will start for the Pirates, while the Cubs will hand the ball to Jose Quintana. Even though Quintana has struggled with the Cubs (4.90 FIP, 3.92 BB/9, 1.62 HR/9) with him starting tomorrow this means we get to spend the day hearing the Pittsburgh media ramble incoherently about how the Pirates should have sold the farm, Josh Bell included, for Quintana. Yippee.