The solely consequence the Chicago Cubs couldn’t permit to transpire in opposition to the Atlanta Braves this week at Truist Park was being a handed a three-game sweep.
Two one-run losses, that includes a two-run error on a dropped fly ball by Seiya Suzuki within the opener and three blown saves in a 10-inning defeat in Game 2, and an underwhelming all-around efficiency within the sequence finale created a worst-case state of affairs for the Cubs and their postseason hopes.
The Braves accomplished the sweep Thursday, handing the Cubs a 5-3 loss and complicating the North Siders’ path to securing the third National League wild-card place.
The Cubs fell a half-game behind the Miami Marlins for the No. 3 spot, and the Marlins maintain the tiebreaker on the North Siders. But depart it to Mother Nature to make issues just a bit extra unclear.
The Marlins-Mets sport at Citi Field in New York was suspended at 11:58 p.m. CDT Thursday due to rain. The Mets led by a run coming into the ninth earlier than the Marlins rallied for a 2-1 lead. Then got here a 3-hour, 17-minute delay earlier than the sport was known as.
The Cubs (82-77) end with three video games in opposition to the Brewers in Milwaukee, whereas the Marlins (82-76) shut with three video games in Pittsburgh however would want to return to New York on Monday to finish the sport in opposition to the Mets if it’s wanted to find out a postseason spot. That sport would resume at 12:10 p.m. CDT.
The Cubs seemingly might want to sweep the Brewers to have a shot at making the playoffs. It’s a precipitous decline from their place three weeks in the past when their odds to succeed in the postseason had been at 92.4%, in accordance with FanGraphs. Following Thursday’s loss, the percentages dropped to 17.7%.
“We just seem defeated at times, you know?” mentioned Marcus Stroman after he lasted two innings Thursday in opposition to the Braves. “Things don’t really feel like they’re going our method in any respect. I really feel like the whole lot that may very well be going improper goes improper. So hopefully wash it on this journey and hopefully luck begins to be in our favor in Milwaukee.
“I don’t think the confidence is dinged. I just think, like I said, things just aren’t going our way and it’s very apparent. I mean, you could feel that and you can see when things aren’t going your way. … Everyone still knows we can get the job done.”
The Cubs’ greatest probability for a late rally in opposition to the Braves got here within the eighth. Three of their first 4 hitters reached on singles, with Seiya Suzuki’s third hit of the night time driving in Nico Hoerner to chop the deficit to 2. But Dansby Swanson, within the largest second, couldn’t ship the clutch hit. Ahead 2-0 within the rely in opposition to Braves lefty A.J. Minter, Swanson couldn’t benefit from a cutter down the center and hit into an inning-ending double play.
It continues a tough two-month stretch for Swanson, who hasn’t supplied the constant offensive manufacturing the Cubs have wanted, particularly down the stretch.
“We’ve got to go out and play good ball, I mean, we’ve got three opportunities left to win some baseball games and see what happens at the end,” Swanson mentioned. “We talk about how we bounce back this, that and the other, like, we’ve done it all year and we don’t really have any options so we’ll come out and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Added Ian Happ: “You have no choice. That’s what you’ve got to do. You play this game as hard as you can and see where it shakes out. But it doesn’t change the mentality that we have to go. Play our best brand of baseball tomorrow.”
Stroman didn’t get previous the second inning to finish his common season, permitting 4 hits and 4 runs (two earned) to squander a 1-0 first-inning lead from Mike Tauchman’s nifty footwork on the plate when he leaped to keep away from catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s tag.
Matt Olson’s two-run homer within the first and a two-run second behind Michael Harris II’s RBI double and Ronald Acuña Jr.’s two-out RBI single put the Cubs in catch-up mode early. Happ’s dropped fly ball for a two-base error within the second contributed to the Braves’ harm.
Stroman’s season was a story of two halves together with his June 20 begin serving because the divider. Before his London Series outing that was lower brief by a blister, Stroman posted a 2.28 ERA, .191 common in opposition to and 98 2/3 innings in 16 begins to assist him make the National League All-Star crew. After London, Stroman recorded a 8.29 ERA, .315 common in opposition to and 38 innings in 11 video games/9 begins. His six-week stint on the injured listing due to proper hip irritation and proper rib cartilage fracture didn’t assist.
“It was frustrating ever since the second half,” Stroman mentioned. “I felt like I never bounced back (from the hip injury). … It was just a weird year in the second half.”
Thursday’s temporary begin may characterize Stroman’s final in a Cubs uniform. He has an opt-out in his contract that may make him a free agent this offseason. If he stays, Stroman would earn $21 million in 2024, the ultimate season of the three-year, $71 million contract he signed with the Cubs in December 2021.
“I haven’t processed that yet to be honest with you,” Stroman mentioned. “There’s so much that happened. So we’ll see how it plays out. Definitely not looking too far into the future just yet.”