Little mistakes have added up lately for the Chicago Cubs.
For a team sitting one game out of last place in the division but with a stretch of four straight series wins before last weekend’s sweep in Los Angeles, clean play can be the separator. The suddenly hot Baltimore Orioles — a team that lost 110 games last year — were the latest to take advantage of the Cubs failing to produce an all-around game.
With one out and runners on the corners in the sixth inning Tuesday night and the Cubs trailing by one run, Seiya Suzuki got doubled off third base on Nico Hoerner’s lineout to third to end the inning. The Cubs did not have another baserunner over the final three innings of a 4-2 loss at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs (34-53) have lost five consecutive games and seven of nine. The Orioles’ nine-game winning streak is their longest in one season since 1999.
The Cubs committed an error for a fourth consecutive game, which prevented starter Adrian Sampson from getting through the sixth. Left-hander Brandon Hughes entered with one out after Ramon Urias singled off Sampson to put runners on first and second. Hughes induced a double play to overcome Patrick Wisdom’s fielding error to open the inning.
While the error didn’t lead to a run, it forced manager David Ross to call on his heavily used bullpen sooner rather than let Sampson, at 91 pitches, potentially pitch through a would-be two-out single by Urias.
The Cubs have 13 errors in their last 12 games, including four multi-error games.
Ross didn’t want to speculate on reasons for the recent defensive miscues, though he mentioned they could stem from fatigue.
“Just like hitting, you’re going to go through some times that you’re not fielding it cleanly,” Ross said. “And sometimes those things stand out and compound. It’s just one of those things we’ll keep working on and try to get better at.”
Ian Happ homered in his first at-bat at Wrigley since making the All-Star team. Runs in the first and second didn’t hold up as the Cubs recorded only four more hits, all singles.