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Adbert Alzolay fights command, exits with blister in Cubs’ 9-4 loss to Padres

Alzolay was removed in the fourth inning after walking a season-high five batters. He had a significant drop in velocity.

Cubs starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay was removed in the fourth inning of Monday’s loss to the Padres.
Cubs starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay was removed in the fourth inning of Monday’s loss to the Padres.
Gregory Bull/AP

SAN DIEGO — It was a battle from the start for Cubs right-hander Adbert Alzolay against the Padres. He struggled with his fastball command, missing his spot often. Alzolay has had great control this season, but he wasn’t able to find it Monday as he walked a season-high five batters in a 9-4 loss at Petco Park.

Alzolay got into a big jam in the first inning as the Padres loaded the bases with nobody out. He was able to get out of it with just one run scoring on an RBI groundout by Eric Hosmer.

In the third, Brian O’Grady got ahold of an Alzolay fastball over the plate and drove a two-run homer to center field, giving the Padres a 4-0 lead. They tagged the Cubs’ bullpen for five more runs.

Alzolay was removed after walking Tommy Pham in the fourth because of a blister on his right middle finger. He had a significant drop in velocity. After hitting 96 mph with his fastball early in the game, his last two fastballs averaged just over 91.

Alzolay said the blister first appeared after his last start but it didn’t bother him until the second inning, affecting his ability to throw his sinker and slider.

“We drained it after the game,” Alzolay said. “Tomorrow, we’re gonna try to do something else to see if I can go to my throwing program as normal.”

After consulting with manager David Ross and trainer PJ Mainville, Alzolay came out of the game. His abbreviated outing ended a streak of nine consecutive starts with three or fewer earned runs. He allowed four runs and five hits with five walks and four strikeouts.

“I just tried to watch and follow through with him,” Ross said. “I knew it was bothering him. They were doing some work underneath to send him back out [in the fourth inning], and he just didn’t look sharp. So we went ahead and took him out. I just don’t think it’s something that we want him to push through and make it even worse.”

The Cubs got on the board in a three-run fourth inning on a single by Jake Marisnick and a sacrifice fly by Sergio Alcantara that pulled them within a run. Left fielder Ian Happ added a solo home run in the seventh.