Cubs’ rally comes up short as season reaches halfway mark

The Cubs reached the halfway point of their 60-game schedule with Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

What looked like a light point in the Cubs schedule after series with the Brewers, Cardinals and White Sox turned out to be otherwise. The Tigers secured a three-game series win after the Cubs won commandingly on Monday.

The Cubs, 5-9 after their hot start, stand at 18-12 at the halfway mark, putting them on pace for a 36-24 record. Things can obviously change but they’re in a good position with a little more than a month to go.

Some quick takes:

Better

Jon Lester didn’t dominate the Tigers but bounced back from Friday’s rough start against the White Sox. The veteran lefty threw five innings of one-run ball, walking one while striking out five – tying a season high.

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Lester allowed eight hits but limited the damage, stranding two runners in each of the first and second innings and getting out of a no-out jam in the fifth, where runners were on second and third with one run in.

Tiger Kings

Detroit’s bats took it to the Cubs one night after scoring seven times on 10 hits. The Tigers erupted for seven more runs on 18 hits Wednesday, sending 10 batters to the plate alone in a five-run sixth inning.

The Cubs bullpen had a forgettable night after Lester exited, allowing six runs on 10 hits in three innings.

The Cubs made things interesting in the ninth, scoring three times on four hits. Anthony Rizzo hit a deep blast to center field that fell a few feet short of the Cubs taking an 8-7 lead.

The Cubs ran into some bad luck throughout the night, recording outs with exit velocities over 100 eight times. Three of those – lineouts by Jason Kipnis and Anthony Rizzo, and Rizzo’s ninth inning sac fly – had expected batting averages of .730, .770 and .830.

Don’t mention it

Ian Happ started in right field and had a tough night. He made an error on a Jeimer Candelario single in the sixth that short-hopped in front of him. Candelario advanced to second on the play and Miguel Cabrera went first to third.

In the seventh, Cabrera singled on a fly ball in front of Happ. He made a sliding attempt to catch or knock the ball down, but it got by him.

Follow me

“I’m just trying to be their pillow. They can rest on me. I’m trying to be the best I can for my pitchers.” –Willson Contreras on helping pitchers through their outings.

On Deck

The Cubs have a day off on Thursday before beginning a four-game series with the Reds on Friday, including a Saturday doubleheader. Kyle Hendricks and Wade Miley are Friday’s probable starters, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m.

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Quick takes: Cubs’ rally comes up short as season reaches halfway mark originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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