Observations: Cubs lose Kris Bryant, finale in Cleveland

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Observations: Bryant bruised, Cubs lose finale in Cleveland originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs dropped the finale of their two-game series with Cleveland 2-1 in 10 innings Wednesday, falling to 17-19 on the season.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. Kris Bryant exited the game after getting hit in the left hand/wrist in a seventh-inning pinch-hit appearance. However, manager David Ross said postgame the Cubs planned to pull him all along if he reached base, as Bryant, who didn't start, is under the weather. Ross said Bryant sustained a bruise.

2. Joc Pederson has been on a roll since coming off the injured list on April 22 following a left wrist injury. Including Wednesday’s 3-for-5 showing, the 29-year-old is 12-for-27 (.444) in seven games. His RBI double in the sixth inning gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

"He's pulled his hands in well when they're trying to pitch him in," Ross said. "He's stayed on some lefties and taking some balls up the middle and the other way. It's been a whole-field approach."

Two of Pederson's hit Wednesday were to center field and the other to left.

3. Most promising has been Pederson’s performance against lefties during this stretch. Two of his hits Wednesday were off southpaws, and he’s 4-for-5 vs. them this month. Pederson has struggled mightily against lefties in his career.

4. The Cubs had a lot of missed chances for the second straight game, going 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They had two on with no outs in the 10th and didn't score. Monday, they went 1-for-12 with RISP.

Cleveland has a good pitching staff, and despite the lack of big hits, the Cubs tallied 20 knocks and 10 walks across the two-game series.

"I don't want to make excuses, but we've done a really nice job of having good at-bats up and down the lineup," Ross said. "It gets to a spot that we just haven't been able to come through. 

"We are banged up. The grit and determination and the fight and how these guys approached really good pitching when we're short-handed, I've been impressed with, to be honest with you. It's been a positive sign.

"We didn't come away with two wins and that's what ultimately matters. But I would definitely say I like where we're at."

5. Zach Davies, after a rough April, continued his May turnaround Wednesday, tossing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. After posting a 9.47 ERA in five April starts, he’s been much better this month, allowing just two earned runs in three starts (16 1/3 innings).

6. Justin Steele? More like nerves of steel. The rookie lefty replaced Davies and bailed him out, escaping a one-out jam where Cleveland had the go-ahead run on third. Steele struck out a pair, giving him 16 in eight appearances this season — along with a 2.70 ERA.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

7. Willson Contreras started the month 0-for-11 with six strikeouts. Since, he's 7-for-14, including a strong 4-for-5 showing Wednesday (all singles).

8. Javy Báez (lower back tightness) made his first start since Saturday, going 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s struck out 3+ times in eight games this season after having three such games in 2020.

9. With Bryant out of the starting lineup, Pederson did something for the first time since 2018: start in center field. He has extensive experience there, with 350 starts entering the game. Infielder Matt Duffy started in left.

Pederson postgame reflected on a recent conversation with third base coach Willie Harris.

"I told him it's like a fish when you put it back in water," Pederson said of playing center. "It's just natural."

10. Since June 17, 2015, including the 2016 World Series, the Cubs are 5-3 on Wednesdays against Cleveland.

On deck: The Cubs have Thursday off before opening a three-game series Friday in Detroit. Jake Arrieta is expected to come off the injured list (cut on right thumb) and start.

Click here to subscribe to the Cubs Talk Podcast for free.

Download

Download MyTeams Today!

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting