Swanson, Morel homer in embarrasing loss to Phillies
John Geliebter - USA Today Sports

Swanson, Morel homer in embarrasing loss to Phillies

by - Senior Writer -

PHILADELPHIA - At some point, the Chicago Cubs (20-25) will have to decide on Jameson Taillon as to what to do with him going forward. With Kyle Hendricks and Hayden Wesneski in AAA, Taillon's future could be up in the air after another rough showing at Citizens Bank Ballpark on Saturday.

Facing off against a Philadelphia Phillies (21-24) that had lost eight-straight games against the Cubs coming into play, Taillon made sure it wouldn't be nine as his nightmare of a season continues. Any time you spot Aaron Nola, an eight-run lead before you settle in is like a death sentence, but Taillon did that in just two innings. The right-hander struggled with his command and was charged with eight runs (6 ER) in just two innings as his ERA rose to 8.10 on the season. That was more than enough for Nola as the Phillies returned the beatdown the Cubs gave them last night by topping them 12-3.

Most of the damage against Taillon came in the first inning, as the game was over at that point. Three batters into the bottom of the first and the Phillies had the bases loaded as a pair of singles by Bryson Scott and Nicholas Castellanos had the Phillies in business. Throw in a Bryce Harper walk, and the bases were loaded with no outs.

Already put in a challenging position, Taillon made it that much tougher on himself and the team as former Chicago Cub slugger Kyle Schwarber unloaded for a grand slam to put Philadelphia in front 4-0.

Things only got worse from there as an error extended the inning with Kody Clemens picking up the second homer of the inning as the Phillies busted the game open 6-0. That would be all they would need as Nola was dominant on the hill, striking out 10 in seven strong innings.

Chicago didn't have many chances against the right-hander, but when they did, they could not do anything with it. Matt Mervis and Yan Gomes led off the third with singles but were left stranded on the bases. The Phillies responded in their half of the eighth by loading the bases again and bringing home two more runs to push the lead to 8-0. Edmundo Sosa grabbed an RBI single to bring home the first of those runs, with Scott adding a sacrifice fly.

Already trailing by a ton, David Ross was forced to go his pen early and called on Michael Rucker, who gave Ross two shutout innings to begin his outing. Back out for his third inning of work in the fifth, Rucker didn't have the same success with Clemens and Sosa starting things off with singles. Scott pushed the lead to 9-0 with an RBI ground while Harper tacked on an RBI double to give the Phillies a 10-0 lead as Rucker was lifted for Jeremiah Estrada.

Of all the relievers on the afternoon used by Ross, Estrada had the most success as he struck out three in just 1 1/3. In search of their first run in the sixth, the human spark plug Christopher Morel started the inning with a bang and led off with a double. Morel would come home to score two batters later as Dansby Swanson took Nola deep to make things 10-2.

Morel has been with the team for 10 games and has at least one hit and one run in each game.

Apart from their early game struggles, the Cubs bullpen was very good until the final two frames when the Phillies tacked on two more runs. The first of those came in the seventh off of Michael Fulmer as the right-hander continues to struggle. Sosa led things off that inning with a triple and advanced to third on a Scott single. That set the stage for Josh Harrison, whose sacrifice fly made things 11-2.

With Nola finally out of the game after the seventh, perhaps the Cubs could make a little noise against a struggling Phillies pen. Morel did his best to do that by taking Connor Brogden deep, but with no one on base, the Cubs only pulled within 7-3.

The recently called-up Mike Tauchman added a single later in the inning, but the Cubs were unable to push any more runs across.

Philadelphia closed out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with Nick Burdi allowing a leadoff triple to Garrett Stubbs and then uncorking a wild pitch to bring Stubbs home. Burdi settled in after that and struck out a pair to end the frame, but the Cubs still trailed 12-3 and would lose by that score.

The Cubs had six hits in the game, with Morel leading the way with two hits and one RBI. Swanson, Tachman, Mervis, and Gomes added the rest, with Swanson picking up the other two RBIs.

The Cubs will look to finish off the road trip with a win on Sunday when they send Justin Steele to the hill.

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