Willson Contreras knew that a double play would halt an important rally for the Cubs as he hustled to second base in the third inning on Sunday afternoon. He slid to the right of the bag, doing what he could to add a layer of difficulty.
For a moment, Contreras’ approach appeared to work, as shortstop Kevin Newman’s throw sailed errantly beyond first and Chicago plated a run. In a 7-1 loss to the Pirates, a replay-reviewed decision rewrote the ending of that key third inning.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong there,” Contreras said. “I just slid within reach of the base. They probably called me out because I didn’t touch the base, but for me, I didn’t touch the guy.”
This is where it is worth noting that Cubs starter Trevor Williams labored with his command and was chased after allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings — the second short start in as many days for Chicago. It is also fair to point out that the Cubs’ offense, which has struggled out of the gates to the tune of a .167 team average, remained relatively quiet.
The offense went especially dark after a play with turning-point potential in the third inning, going 2-for-20 the rest of the game.
“As a group, we’re not having the right approach,” Contreras said. “We have to take care of that.”
The offensive woes have magnified moments like the one in…