By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Following an emotional whirlwind of a day, the Cubs fell 4-1 to the Rockies on Thursday evening at Wrigley Field.
Shortstop Addison Russell wasn’t at the ballpark as he was given a day off following a domestic abuse accusation that surfaced on social media Wednesday night and which he denied Thursday afternoon in a statement after MLB acknowledged it was looking into the matter. That left Cubs officials and teammates to answer for Russell, and the atmosphere was dark before the game.
On the field, the problem was the Cubs were playing the National League-leading Rockies, who got strong work from right-hander Tyler Chatwood and three relievers. Other than a solo homer by Kris Bryant in the bottom of the first, the Cubs couldn’t muster a run and had just five hits on the night.
Manager Joe Maddon downplayed the idea that the Russell situation could’ve affected the Cubs on the field.
“There was no difference,” Maddon said. “I was really proud the way our guys handled it. I thought they did that really well. Some nights they just beat you. They pitched better than we did.”
Chicago left-hander Jon Lester allowed all four Colorado runs in the second inning, three of them on a homer by former Cub DJ LeMahieu to the right-field basket.
“I was just informed that LeMahieu hit just his second home run off of a left-handed fastball in four years,” Lester said. “That is always fun. At the end of the day, I will take me throwing a fastball away and the other guy hitting an oppo homer. It sucks we got the loss. The guy beat me the other way. Tip your hat.”
Lester went five innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits and a walk while striking out five. He lost at Wrigley Field for the first time in nearly 13 months.
Also on Thursday, the Cubs placed right-hander Kyle Hendricks on the 10-day disabled list with right hand tendinitis. He’ll miss a schedule start Friday, with left-hander Mike Montgomery taking his place.
“You know that baseball is a game of adjustments,” Lester said. “It is a game that can be cruel to you at times. It can be really good to you at times. With Kyle going down and all the stuff about Addie, that’s why we have 25 guys. We will figure it out. You cannot worry about stuff you can’t control. You can’t dwell on the negatives. You look forward to tomorrow. Kyle is a guy we will miss. We will just figure it out.”
Russell’s status will be revisited Friday before the Cubs host the Rockies in the afternoon. A move to some kind of inactive list could happen at some point.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.