Zach Davies’ struggles continue as Giants blast Cubs

Davies lasted only two innings after giving up five runs in the second on Tommy La Stella’s two-run single and Brandon Belt’s three-run home run.

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San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs

Brandon Crawford is tagged out at home by Willson Contreras in the third inning Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The haves and the have-nots in the -National League were unmistakable -Saturday. The Cubs lost 15-4 to the Giants for their 78th loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Giants improved to 92-50 and have sat atop the National League West for most of the year.

Starter Zach Davies has struggled to find a rhythm all season, and he has gone 0-5 with an 8.31 ERA in his last nine starts.

Those problems continued against the Giants. Davies lasted just two innings after giving up five runs in the second on Tommy La Stella’s two-run single and Brandon Belt’s three-run homer.

Outings such as Saturday’s have become somewhat common this season, but they are an aberration compared to what Davies has done in the past.

“He’s been a good pitcher for a lot of years,” interim manager Andy Green said. “You look at him historically, as you go back, there’s been a very low walk rate, which keeps traffic off the bases.”

Davies walked two of the first four batters in the second inning, eventually loading the bases for La Stella. The trouble in the inning came against Mike Yastrzemski, -according to Green. Instead of attacking him with one out and two men on, Davies walked -Yastrzemski on a series of what Green called “noncompetitive” pitches.

“There’s been times now where trying to avoid giving up one run sometimes causes the big inning, and we’ve seen that on repeat here recently,” Green said. “If he gets back to the recipe where he’s been historically, which is a guy who doesn’t allow those free passes, he pitches a lot better.”

La Stella, who played for the Cubs from 2015 to 2018, also hit a three-run blast off of the right-field scoreboard in the fifth inning, part of a Giants’ six-run frame.

Ross returning

Manager David Ross is set to return to the Cubs’ dugout Sunday. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 3 and has been isolated from the team since then.

“Everybody enjoys being around him every single day,” Green said. “There’s a sharp edge that’s good for a culture and good for a clubhouse.”

Green said Ross has been sending in lineups for every game he has been away from the team, and the two of them have been debriefing after each game, much like they have been all season. The only difference has been the postgame talks are on the phone instead of in person.

“I love supporting him,” Green said. “I enjoy the environment he creates, enjoy covering whatever he needs me to cover.”

Heyward exits with head injury

Jason Heyward left the game in the fourth inning with a head injury. He led off the inning with a single, then ran from first to third on David Bote’s two-out single.

On the slide into third, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford hit his left knee against Heyward’s head. Heyward remained down for several minutes and had to be helped off the field by the training staff.

“Definitely got his bell rung,” Green said. “Definitely going to be watched closely over the next 24 hours to find out where he’s at. I don’t think there’s a formal diagnosis at this point in time, but it’s something we’re going to monitor very closely to make sure Jason’s doing OK.”

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