Observations: Alzolay logs quality start in Cubs loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Cubs opened a two-game series at Cleveland with a 3-2 loss.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
- A five-game road trip to Cleveland and Detroit opens interleague play for the Cubs. Playing at an American League ballpark also meant that the Cubs got to use a designated hitter for the first time this season – and just in the nick of time. David Bote served as the Cubs’ DH Tuesday.
- An already banged up Cubs team sent center fielder Jake Marisnick to the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain Tuesday. Javy Báez was a late scratch due to low back tightness. The Cubs went with a short bench, recalling left-handed reliever Brad Wieck from Triple-A Iowa. But American League rules lighten the strain on the bench.
- The Cubs’ Kris Bryant left the game before the bottom of the sixth inning because he was feeling “under the weather,” the team said. Nick Martini replaced him in the lineup, playing left field. Joc Pederson moved from left to center.
- Cubs starting pitcher Adbert Alzoaly logged the second quality start of his career Tuesday, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings. He was especially strong early in the game, retiring the first five batters he faced, striking four of the five.
- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo showed off his wheels before scoring the first run of the game. Rizzo, who said recently that he’s been working on his speed, legged out a double to lead off the second inning. The risk – a close play at second – paid off when Willson Contreras hit a ground ball to center field and Rizzo scored. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead.
- After scoring their first run off AL Cy Young winner Shane Beiber, the Cubs put more runners in scoring position in the second and third innings. They loaded the bases in the second and Bryant doubled in the third. But both innings ended in double plays. Bryant’s third-inning double was his 14th of the season, giving him the MLB lead.
- Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez launched a high fastball over the fence to tie up the game. After Cubs infielder Eric Sogard took the lead back for the Cubs with a solo homer in the fifth inning, Cleveland catcher César Hernández hit a go-ahead two-run home run. Of the six home runs Alzolay has given up this season, five have been by left-handed batters, including switch-hitting Ramírez and Hernández.
- Hernández’s home run came off a slider, making him the first player to send Alzolay’s slider out of the park this season, according to Statcast. Only one other homer has come off an Alzolay breaking ball, a curve. The other four have come off fastballs.
- Sogard's home run was his first as a Cub. Sogard is among the bench players who have stepped up after a slew of injuries to starters. Other recent clutch hits from role players include Ildemaro Vargas’ two-run double that cut the Pirates’ lead to one run Sunday, Sogard’s game-tying sac fly Saturday and Matt Duffy’s game-winning RBI single Saturday.
- Cubs relievers Wieck and Rex Brothers combined to throw two scoreless innings. But the Cleveland bullpen also shut down the Cubs offense, with the help of a game-ending double play.
On deck: The Cubs play the last game of a two-game series at Cleveland on Wednesday. Cubs right-hander Zach Davies goes up against Cleveland southpaw Sam Hentges.