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Cubs frustrated after another close loss: ‘We’ve gotta change our luck’

3 months agoTony Andracki

Nick Madrigal was off at the crack of the bat, streaking toward the grass in shallow right-center field.

He dove at the last second, but it didn’t matter. Madrigal started on the left field side of second base in the shift and A.J. Pollock’s pop-up landed just out of his reach for a 2-out, run-scoring hit.

That bloop single gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead over the Cubs in the top of the 6th inning Wednesday night and represented another frustratingly close moment for a team that has had a few of those recently.

The game finished in the same score, dropping the Cubs’ record to 9-15 on the season.

Two innings prior, Kyle Hendricks was also 1 out away from getting out of a jam but White Sox first baseman Gavin Sheets knocked a ball through the shift to drive home another run.

“The Sheets one and Pollock right there — that’s executing pitches and getting what I want,” Hendricks said. “That’s just baseball. Can’t control the result. I just gotta keep making pitches like that and I’ll be where I need to be.”

Pollock’s exit velocity was 68.3 mph. Sheets’ hit was clocked at 67.5 mph and an expected batting average of .090.

“It’s frustrating,” Madrigal said. “The shift works a lot of times. There are a few times it doesn’t work and that was one of the times it didn’t work. If we’re in normal position, we probably get that.

“It’s just part of baseball. It’s one of those things — it was just out of my reach. I felt like I had a pretty good read on it and just came up a little bit short.”

Meanwhile, the Cubs were unable to get the same kind of luck on the offensive end.

Willson Contreras ended the 6th inning with a 407-foot blast to center field…that Luis Robert caught while running into the ivy-covered brick wall. The ball was hit at 106.3 mph and had an expected batting average of .930.

Ian Happ was on first base and with 2 outs, would’ve scored the tying run on the play. Instead, it was the end of the inning.

In the 8th, Yan Gomes came up with runners on first and third and nobody out. He battled to a full count and lined a ball…right at Tim Anderson. It had an expected batting average of .570 but went down as the first out of the inning.

Seiya Suzuki followed with a foul popout and Ian Happ struck out to leave the tying run on third base.

“I thought we played good,” David Ross said. “The ball bounced their way a little bit more. When we’re scuffling a little bit, it seems to happen. We’ve gotta change our luck. We had plenty of opportunities to push a run across there at the end and tie the ballgame up or make a pitch or make a play.

“I don’t think we played particularly bad. I just feel like there’s some things that did not go our way tonight.”

Hendricks actually felt encouraged about the way he pitched and believed he executed well overall, getting the angle he’s been searching for.

He was obviously unhappy with the end result, however.

“That’s a pretty frustrating one,” Hendricks said. “I thought we played pretty well, made some good plays out there. Put together great at-bats. Had some chances there late. Just hit balls right at guys.

“It’s just one of those things. That’s a baseball day.”

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