Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Baez's bat not enough to bail out Chatwood

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Tyler Chatwood had good stuff on Tuesday night. He just had a hard time commanding it.

Javier Baez finished a triple shy of the cycle, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning, but it wasn't enough to help Chatwood in a 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Tyler Chatwood had good stuff on Tuesday night. He just had a hard time commanding it.

Javier Baez finished a triple shy of the cycle, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning, but it wasn't enough to help Chatwood in a 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.

View Full Game Coverage

In his first two games with the Cubs, Chatwood issued seven walks over 11 innings. On Tuesday night he walked that many in 4 2/3 innings.

"I feel my stuff is always going to be there," Chatwood said. "I just have to command it. My ball had a lot of life, a lot of movement. Early on, I had both breaking balls working. It's just a matter of getting ahead so I can use that stuff as the game goes on.

"They spoiled some good pitches and then I would just get erratic. I think I just have to be more competitive throughout the at-bat. I have to make good pitches throughout."

Video: STL@CHC: Chatwood K's Wainwright, side in 2nd

Said Cubs manager Joe Maddon: "He just has to figure out where the ball is going more consistently, because the stuff plays really well."

Matt Carpenter hit an RBI double off Chatwood and added a two-run single in the eighth to back Adam Wainwright and lead St. Louis to victory in the first meeting between the National League Central rivals this season.

Cubs starters began the day ranked third in the NL in walks, and a pair of free passes set up the Cardinals' two runs in the third. Chatwood walked the first two batters he faced that inning, prompting a visit from pitching coach Jim Hickey. Carpenter then doubled for the Cardinals' only hit off Chatwood, and another run scored on Marcell Ozuna's groundout for a 2-0 lead.

The Cubs' starting pitchers have totaled six quality starts in the first 15 games, and their inability to go deep has kept the bullpen busy. Maddon predicts better days ahead.

"It's going to happen," he said. "I'm fully confident it's going to happen. The bullpen has done a wonderful job, and the starters are really good. There's a lot to look forward to with the starters because they're really good, and as things settle in, they'll really start piling up the innings. I mean that, I'm not just saying it."

Baez has been playing as though it's summertime, not chilly April. He doubled in the second, singled in the fifth and hit his fifth home run in the eighth off Greg Holland. Baez has 12 hits, and all but two have gone for extra bases; he's totaled 12 RBIs on the homestand.

"He's seeing the ball well, he's hitting the ball well, and it's fun to watch," Anthony Rizzo said.

Rizzo, back from the disabled list, went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game since April 5. He shrugged off the gametime temperature of 35 degrees.

"You can't let it make you miserable," Rizzo said. "You know the sunny days are coming, both on the field and as a group. We'll just keep playing through it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chance missed, chance grabbed: The Cubs had a scoring opportunity in the third when they loaded the bases with two out against Wainwright, but he got Kyle Schwarber looking at a 75.7-mph curveball for strike three. With one out in the fourth, Addison Russell hit a bouncer to Wainwright, who overthrew first for an error. Russell reached second on the miscue, then scored on Jason Heyward's single to pull the Cubs within a run.

"We gave ourselves a couple chances today to drive some runners in, and we didn't get the job done," Rizzo said. "The more we keep having good at-bats and guys taking their walks and getting on base, this team is going to come through sooner or later. It's just a matter of time."

Video: STL@CHC: Heyward grounds RBI single to right

Cishek denies Cards: The Cubs' bullpen has been solid this season, and Steve Cishek came through in the sixth. The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out, but Cishek struck out Dexter Fowler and got Tommy Pham to ground out and end the inning. Carl Edwards Jr. also had a good outing in relief, striking out the side in the seventh.

Video: STL@CHC: Cishek works out of trouble in 6th

SOUND SMART
Chatwood is the first Cubs pitcher with seven strikeouts, seven walks and two or fewer hits in a start since Kerry Wood did so July 13, 2001, against the White Sox.

Baez is the first Cubs player to have 10 of his first 12 hits go for extra bases since Sammy Sosa in 2004.

HE SAID IT
"Our guys have to get back in [the dugout] and hit, and I'm leaving them out there standing in the cold for a while. Wainwright is really good. That's not a good recipe for success." -- Chatwood, on wanting quick innings to help his teammates

Video: STL@CHC: Maddon talks Chatwood, cold weather

UP NEXT
Left-hander Jon Lester will start on Wednesday opposite Luke Weaver in the series finale against the Cardinals. He did not get a decision in his last outing, against the Pirates, giving up four earned runs on seven hits over five innings. He was most bothered by the walks -- he issued three -- and said he needs to "clean that up." Lester was 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts vs. St. Louis last season. First pitch will be 1:20 p.m. CT.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs