The beleagured Cubs dropped both of their games in Cleveland by a single run each, nearly matching their opponents in feats of pitching and embarrassments of non-hitting. Kris Bryant joined the ranks of the unavailable due to illness in the middle of the first game. Javy texted his way out of a day off for the second game, but continues to battle lower back stiffness. The Cubs continue their road trip with a three-game series in Motor City. The 4th-place Tigers (13-24) could be more their speed.
The Cubs' winning streak came to an end Sunday despite a 9th inning rally that brought the potential winning run to the plate. The team now stands at 17-17, back to .500 yet again, and firmly in the middle of the NL Central standings. They come into the series now down their starting CF, Happ, and probably his backup, Marisnick. Heyward and Javy are also nursing some nagging aches and pains, lending extra playing time, putting excessive pressure on the Cubs' bench. Meanwhile, the starting rotation may be finding its footing a bit.
The Cubs pulled off a sweep of the Dodgers, twice walking off in extra innings and raising their record to 15-16. They also climbed aboe Cincinnati and their next opponent, the Pirates, to take 3rd place in the division. Next up, the Pirates may get some say in that matter. They come into Wrigley for a three-game series. This will be the third time these teams have faced off in 2021. They've split the season series at 3-3 so far, but they have not seen each other since April 11. The Cubs will work to build on the momentum from the sweep and stay in the thick of the division.
The Cubs dropped the final game in Cincinnati in dramatic fashion, letting the back-and-forth slugfest fade away with a soft single from Castellanos. It was a more competitive series than many we've seen from the Cubs this year. But it was also costly. They are now 4 games under .500 at 12-16, in last place, and likely down Ian Happ (3-5 with a homer in the game) who had to be taken off the field after a nasty collision with Nico Hoerner in shallow center field. The extent of Happ's injuries have not yet been reported in detail, but it would be shocking if he were right back at it for the next game. Jake Marisnick is the most likely to see playing time in center if Happ is out, but Joc Pederson is eligible to return and the Cubs could get creative in the corner outfield spots if they want to start Heyward in CF.
The 17-12 LA Dodgers roll into Wrigley with a trio of aces ready to kick the Cubs while they are down. LA enters the series third in the NL in runs scored and first in WRC+. They're also third in the NL in ERA. Cubs fans have been hoping to see the team find their footing going back to April 17, when a 13-4 win vs. Atlanta looked like a sign of the offense breaking out. More than two weeks later, the north siders are still trying to get their legs under them, now with some of the toughest competition in the league in their way. See below for nightmare fuel the pitching matchups.
The Cubs (11-14) dodged a sweep in Atlanta by winning the final game, backing Alzolay to his first win of 2021. They'll complete the road trip with a 3-game series against the 4th place Reds (11-13). For now, it's a battle to get out of the NL Central basement. The Reds most recently took 2 out of 3 from the Dodgers, but prior to that they lost 7 in a row. See below for the weekend's matchups.
Game 26, Friday, April 30, 6:10 pm central
CHC: RHP Jake Arrieta (3-2, 2.57 ERA)
CIN: LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 2.45 ERA)