Sunday Shenanigans 23: You Mean They Aren’t Good?

Sunday Shenanigans 23: You Mean They Aren’t Good?

by September 19, 2021 1 comment

The Chicago Cubs have had a very painful season. The team’s awful record does not even compensate for how bad the year has been. They traded away their icons in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez. But on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cubs somehow found a way to hit rock bottom. In a game that seemed impossible to lose, they managed to do exactly that.

A 96.2 Percent Chance to Win!

Looking to play spoiler against a Phillies team that still has playoff aspirations, the Cubs got off to a good start. In a bullpen game for Philadelphia, the Cubs jumped on pitcher J.D. Hammer. Coming in after Matt Moore allowed two baserunners to reach, Hammer hit Ian Happ with a pitch to bring in one run. A Willson Contreras single brought in another run. Patrick Wisdom scored two more with a double, and then Matt Duffy scored the seventh run of the inning with a three-run home run. As Hammer departed, the Cubs had blown the game wide open. Their win probability was a whopping 96.2 percent.

Equally Bad Fourth Inning

With their ace, Kyle Hendricks, on the mound, this game should have been all but academic for Chicago. But in the fourth inning, he matched Hammer’s poor performance. Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double. Pinch-hitter Matt Joyce later walked for a run. An Odubel Herrera single and a Jean Segura force out made the game 7-5. After Bryce Harper walked, the Cubs brought in pitcher Michael Rucker. He could not stop the bleeding, as a J.T. Realmuto single tied the game. The comeback was complete in just one inning.

Momentum Shift

They may have waited until the sixth inning, but the Phillies did eventually take the lead. The potential 2021 NL MVP Harper hit an RBI double off of Manuel Rodriguez, then scored on Didi Gregorius‘ two-run single. The Cubs inched closer on a Contreras homer off of Hector Neris, but that would be the last time Chicago would score.

Cubs reliever Tommy Nance allowed the Phillies’ lead to expand, as Herrera hit a two-run double in the seventh. Then Harper committed left-on-left crime, taking southpaw Rex Brothers deep to make it a 15-8 game, blowing it wide open. When Segura singled home two runs in the eighth against Dillon Maples, all that did was make the score 17-8, which would later become the final. The Cubs had completely collapsed. This is not basketball, but the other team went on a 17-1 run.

The top-three hitters in the Phillies’ lineup carried the show. Herrera, Segura, and Harper each drove in at least three runs, with Harper providing four. That is a combined 10 RBIs from three batters. This may have been against a very bad team, but the Phillies still came out with a clutch victory. As of Saturday afternoon, they sit just two games out of a playoff spot. If they lose this game, they come out a lot more discouraged than anything else. If they make the playoffs, then this game could be seen a major turning point of the Phillies’ season.

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