Alzolay blows save as Cubs fall to Marlins
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

Alzolay blows save as Cubs fall to Marlins

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - The definition of insanity is continuously doing the same thing and getting the same results. At this point, sending Adbert Alzolay out for the save in a close game is sheer insanity as the right-hander blew his MLB-leading fourth save in game one of the Chicago Cubs (12-8) doubleheader with the Miami Marlins (5-16).

Alzolay was one of the better closers in the game last season, but after blowing two of his final three chances, things have carried over into this season. With Javier Assad giving the Cubs another great outing, the Cubs were in front 2-1, as the Marlins were down to their final three outs.

As has been the case several times this season, Alzolay had moments where he looked good but also moments where he struggled. He surrendered another long ball to Bryan De La Cruz, which proved to be the difference in the Marlins' 3-2 win. De La Cruz had all three RBIs for Miami and has four RBIs this series.

The loss takes away another strong outing from Assad, who continues to impress. Although he failed to get through five innings, Assad allowed his first run of the season in the game's first five innings and allowed just one run in 4 2/3. His ERA sits at 2.11 for the season, as he has done more than enough to keep his spot in the rotation all season.

Opposing him was left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who was looking to turn his season around finally. If that was the case, the Cubs would be the team to do that as Luzardo had dominated them in his previous three starts and was hoping for more. He did struggle with his command at times, but managed to get through six innings, allowing just two runs to keep things close.

There haven't been many cases where teams have had a chance to jump on Assad early, but the Marlins had their chance in the first, with Luis Arraez leading the game off with a double while the De La Cruz walk put two on with no outs. Assad managed to wiggly out of that jam without damage, but was bailed out by Alexander Canario who made a great play in left.

Finding a way to limit damage with men on base has been a major strength for Assad the past two seasons, and although it is not ideal, he makes it work. Following the first inning, Assad started to settle in as he retired nine straight hitters to keep the Marlins off the board while the Cubs offense finally broke through in the bottom half of the third.

A pair of one-out singles from Canario and Nico Hoerner set the offense up in a good spot, but Patrick Wisdom went the other way for a two-run triple to put the Cubs in front 2-0. Those would be the only runs of the game for the Cubs, but given how strong Assad was looking, those runs were looking to be just enough.

Looking to get through five innings and put himself in position to grab a win, Assad started to labor on the mound as he walked the first two men to begin the fifth. Two batters later saw Arraez add a single to load the bases, with De La Cruz putting Miami on the board with a sacrifice fly. That was the final hitter Assad would face as he gave way to Luke Little and the rest of the pen.

Little had another shaky outing and pitched himself into major trouble in the sixth, only to be bailed out by Yency Almonte. With Luzardo out of the game and Calvin Faucher on the mound, it was the Cubs looking to push home a huge insurance run as singles from Miguel Amaya and Hoerner set the offense up, only to come away empty-handed.

The same can be said about the Marlins in the top half of the eight, as Mark Leiter Jr. and Alzolay pitched themselves into a jam before Alzolay found a way to escape without further damage. Unfortunately for Alzolay, pitching into trouble has been something he is too familiar with this season, as the Arraez single in the top half of the ninth set things up for De La Cruz, who turned on a heater and put it four rows into the seats to put Miami in front 3-2.

Down to the final three outs, the Cubs had work to do against Tanner Scott and made things very interesting. Singles from Mike Tauchman and Nick Madrigal started things off before the Amaya sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position.

All it would take for the Cubs to, at the very worst, force extras was to get a fly ball, but it was Scott who took care of the rest and retired both Canario and Hoerner to end the game.

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