The biggest story of the Cubs’ 4-1 loss to the Padres Monday evening at Wrigley Field, their seventh straight defeat, wasn’t anything that happened during the game.
Instead, it was the severe thunderstorm that blew through the area in the early evening, delaying the game an hour and 25 minutes. Tornadoes were reported in parts of the Chicago area and if you live in the path of the storm, I hope you stayed safe. Tornado sirens went off near the ballpark, the first time I can remember that happening since 2008.
6:30 p.m.: Precipitation beginning now at Wrigley will be rain to start, increasing in intensity. Some hail possible as rain intensifies. Strong wind likely ~20-40 mins. Rotation May pass JUST south of Wrigley, but it’ll be close enough to not rule out.
It rained hard at Wrigley for a little over an hour, but winds near the ballpark weren’t too intense, though a wind gust at O’Hare Airport was reported at 84 miles per hour. Loud thunder roared overhead, but no hail fell near the ballpark.
The grounds crew did a great job of getting a substantial amount of water off the field and the game began at 8:30. Two batters in, Justin Steele tried to barehand a ball [VIDEO].
As was the case in New York on Sunday, the Cubs’ lead lasted about five minutes. The Padres scored on a two-out double and single in the third, and that is where the game stayed until the eighth. Despite the blister and ball off his finger, Steele was dealing, and I was genuinely surprised when David Ross replaced him for the eighth inning with Rowan Wick. Ross’ postgame comments indicated that he didn’t want to push Steele too far with the two finger issues, but… as I said, Steele was dealing and didn’t seem to be suffering any ill effects at all. He’d thrown only 77 pitches (60 strikes). Me? I’d have left him in at least to start the eighth inning. As Steele himself said:
Justin Steele pitched through blister on left middle finger & after trying to field comebacker in 1st inn, he had bruised index finger.When trainers checked on him, they cut the skin off the blister so it wouldn’t tear.“The (index finger) pain was manageable so I kept going.”
But Ross didn’t, and Wick promptly issued a walk — the first of the game. Two hits produced a Padres run to give them a 2-1 lead, and one out later Eric Hosmer doubled in a pair.
Scott Effross allowed another hit, but got out of the inning with a double play. With three runs in, the lead seemed insurmountable. As Mike Bojanowski said to me around this time, “They score early, and it’s as if that requires such superhuman effort that they can’t do it again.”
The Cubs will try it again Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks, who last pitched June 1, will start for the Cubs and Sean Manaea (this is a change from what was listed in the series preview) will go for San Diego. No rain is expected, instead, today’s weather story will be heat, with daytime highs expected near 97. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.