Aroldis Chapman was in uniform for the Cubs Tuesday night, but Joe Maddon never got a chance to employ his shiny new toy.
After posting late rallies the last two games, the Cubs offense was noticeably absent on Chicago's South Side, dropping a second straight game in this Crosstown matchup 3-0 in front of 39,553 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
White Sox starter James Shields scattered four singles and four walks in 7.2 innings, using 117 pitches to shut down the Cubs lineup.
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"The guy on the other side, he was pretty good today," Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said. "I was in here watching a lot of it, mixing speeds, hitting spots. It was kinda fun to watch.
"You never like it against you, but still, you gotta appreciate it."
The first White Sox hitter of the game scored as Adam Eaton drew a walk and was eventually plated on Jose Abreu's RBI single three batters later.
Hendricks settled down from there, allowing only a solo homer to Eaton in the fifth.
After the game, he said he really only felt like he made two bad pitches (both changeups) — the homer to Eaton and Abreu's first-inning single — plus the leadoff walk to Eaton in the first.
But the wheels came off for the Cubs in the sixth inning as Hendricks departed following two quick outs and a bloop hit from Todd Frazier that glanced off the glove of Anthony Rizzo in shallow right field.
Travis Wood came on to relieve Hendricks, but walked the first three hitters he faced to force in Frazier with the third run of the game.
"I've not seen that before," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Wood's control issues. "It's really awkward to watch him go through that moment. Here's a guy that really nails down inherited runners as good as anybody.
"Just one of those moments. I don't think it's a trend. I just think it happened tonight."
The Cubs' best opportunity to score came in the second when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Dexter Fowler fouled out behind home plate. After that, only one baserunner reached second base all game for the Cubs.
Over the last four games, each of the opposing starters against the Cubs — Shields, Miguel Gonzalez, Junior Guerra and Zach Davies — has tossed a quality start.
In that span, the Cubs have scored just three earned runs in 27 innings against the starters, totaling 19 hits and only one homer.
Tuesday night, Maddon likened all four starters to each other as sort of finesse guys.
"We're young offensively and when you see pitchers that really know what they're doing," Maddon said. "We've seen guys recently that have a good feel for what they're doing and I think they've taken advantage of our youth.
"Primarily, we have to not expand the strike zone. We've been expanding a little bit against these guys. We gotta keep them in the zone and obviously, when they make a mistake, it's gotta be hit hard and kept fair. We have not done that."
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Kris Bryant said before the game he was itching at another chance to face Shields after the veteran pitcher welcomed Bryant to the big leagues with a couple of strikeouts in the latter's debut last April at Wrigley Field.
But Shields once again got the best of Bryant Tuesday night, striking out the MVP candidate three times in four trips to the plate.
Bryant is now just 1-for-10 against Shields with seven strikeouts.
"I got myself out a lot tonight," Bryant said. "I mean, when you got a good changeup, tip your cap. He made some really good pitches."
The Crosstown series moves to the North Side Wednesday night for the final two games.