Stock wild in debut as Cubs fall to Mets

June 17th, 2021

NEW YORK -- Right-hander made his Cubs debut on Wednesday night, and it was an outing he would like to forget in Chicago’s 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

The Cubs have now lost three straight games and dropped their record to 38-30. They are still tied with the Brewers for first place in the National League Central.

It was a game where Stock couldn’t find the strike zone, walking six batters in four innings and allowing five runs. The Mets were able to get to him early, scoring two runs in the second inning. With a runner on first, Kevin Pillar doubled to right-center field, scoring Billy McKinney. Three batters later, right-hander Jacob deGrom singled to right field with two outs, scoring Pillar.

By the third inning, New York increased its lead because of a solo homer by Dominic Smith.

Stock pitched one more inning after that, allowing two runs and three walks in the fourth before leaving the game. One of those walks was a bases-loaded free pass to Francisco Lindor, allowing Luis Guillorme to score.

“You are not going to have a lot of success against a quality ballclub with six walks. That’s not going to work,” Cubs manager David Ross said.

Stock hinted that nerves may have gotten the best of him against New York. His fastball was up in the zone most of the night. The strange thing is, Stock is not a rookie. He’s 31 years old and has experience in the big leagues, but he had pitched all of his games in the Majors as a reliever until Wednesday.

“I would say from the first inning on, it was a tale of me leaving the fastball high all night,” Stock said. “Big league hitters are better than Minor League ones. [The big leagues hitters] are not chasing [the high fastball].”

deGrom, on the other hand, was dominant for three innings before leaving the game because of right shoulder soreness. He struck out eight of the nine hitters he faced.

“What [deGrom] is doing is just amazing. To be on the other side of it, obviously, is no fun,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “You have to appreciate what he is doing as a competitor. He just mowed us down. I know he pitched three innings. Even the at-bat, that’s the craziest thing -- he has six runs driven in. … It’s just one of those things. He is as good as it gets. He really gave it to us.”

deGrom said he was feeling good at the start of the game, but then started feeling pain in the third inning.

"The first two innings, I felt probably the best I've felt all year. Had good command of everything,” deGrom said. “Was able to throw the ball to both sides of the plate, and then go out there in the third and this pops up. I don't even know what to say. I'm pretty aggravated with it."

After deGrom left the game, there was hope that the Cubs could rally from a three-run deficit. In fact, they scored almost immediately in the fourth inning, when Rizzo hit a one-out solo home run off right-hander Sean Reid-Foley. But the Mets’ bullpen held the Cubs in check until the ninth inning, when Rafael Ortega hit a two-run homer off Drew Smith. Closer Edwin Díaz came in with two outs and notched his 14th save of the season.

“We haven’t had runners in scoring position in a while,” Rizzo said. “So we just have to get that out of the way, get back on track, get on base, start taking our walks. The offense as a whole, we haven’t done that well. Our guys are grinding. That’s what we do.”