deGame deLayed by deRain; UPDATE: Cubs 2, Mets 1 (11)

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UPDATE: The beauty of baseball is that you can be a goat in one game and the hero in another...or sometimes in the same game.  Part of the discussion in the comments earlier was about Javy Báez, and his at bat in the 7th inning.  Was it his fault for misjudging pitches to bunt and failure to execute? Was it just *that* difficult to navigate an at bat against a dominant pitcher? Should we blame Joe for for making a call to bunt in that position? In the conclusion to last night's suspended game, it didn't end up mattering, as Báez drew a walk to start the 11th inning rally that ultimately led to a Cubs victory.

Unfortunately, I have to work for a living and didn't get to see the action.  Javy drew a walk and advanced to third on an error on pitcher Paul Sewald on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Victor Caratini.  Kyle Schwarber was walked to load the bases with nobody out. After an Albert Almora strike out, Sewald was replaced in favor of Daniel Zamora.  Ben Zobrist didn't make us wait long before singling to center field to end the game with a win.  2-1 Cubs.

So the Cubs will have a chance to gain a little extra ground on the Cardinals and Brewers if they can sweep the Mets for their 8th straight win.  As of right now, that will take a bit of work, as they trail 4-1 in the fifth inning.

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While last night's match-up between Jon Lester and Thor was perhaps not as advertised, tonight's duel between Jacob deGrom and Cole Hamels didn't disappoint - too much.  For the most part, neither team was able to make consistent, solid contact against either pitcher with most of the "damage" being done on weakly struck balls that only the BABIP Dragon can appreciate.  Throw in an (early) large strike zone, and it was pretty rough for hitters in this one.

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this game was that the defense behind Hamels let him down somewhat with a couple of lackadaisical plays.  His evening ended after throwing 93 pitches in five shutout innings.  Ten of those pitches were made after Daniel Murphy botched a tailor-made double play ball which would have ended the third inning.  Instead, Hamels had to pitch out of a bit of a jam - he did get some help when Victor Caratini threw out Ahmed Rosario trying to steal third base.  In the fifth inning deGrom reached on a one-out infield single when Javier Báez fielded his hard-hit grounder up the middle, but took too much time to set himself and throw.  A bunt single by Rosario followed.  After a two-out walk to Austin Jackson, the Mets had loaded the bases without hitting the ball out of the infield.  Hamels struck out Michael Conforto swinging to end the threat.

Jacob deGrom was fantastic.  At this point you just have to feel for the guy.  You just know that traditionalists that vote for MLB awards are going to penalize him for not having enough wins, but the Mets hardly do anything to support him.  Tonight he had to do everything himself to get a lead.  The first two innings went quickly with deGrom throwing fewer that 20 pitches in exchange for six outs.  The Cubs had only a weak Anthony Rizzo single to show for their efforts while Báez, Kyle Schwarber (bogus strike 3 call), and Albert Almora Jr. all struck out - Almora just looked ridiculously over matched in his AB while Javy was simply blown away on three fastballs.

The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the third inning before "sort of" threatening with a two-out rally in the fourth.  Javy hit a swinging bunt 1/3 of the way down the third base line, and deGrom slipped while trying to field the ball.  Victor Caratini followed with a solid single to right field.  Schwarber hit the ball hard back through the box, but deGrom stabbed his ground ball and threw to first for the final out.

In the bottom of the fifth, Joe Maddon elected to pinch-hit for Hamels after Almora led off with a single.  Tommy La Stella struck out, and two ground balls off the bats of David Bote and Daniel Murphy ended the inning for the Cubs.

Brandon Kintzler took the mound in the top of the sixth, and allowed an infield hit to Todd Frazier.  He got some bad luck when a borderline 3-2 pitch to Jay Bruce was called ball four.  Frazier had been running on the pitch, and looked to have been easily thrown out had it been called a strike.  As it was, the Mets had runners at first and second with nobody out.  It looked like the BABIP dragon may strike again but not for a brilliant bare-handed play by Bote on a swinging bunt by Kevin Pawlecki.  Jorge de la Rosa was summoned to face lefty Brandon Nimmo, and got him to pop up in the infield for the second out.  Just when it looked like the Cubs may escape the inning without a run allowed, deGrom punched a grounder into the hole at short for an infield single and an RBI to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The Cubs luck then started to turn around.

In the top of the 7th inning the wind was blowing in, and was the only thing that prevented a Jeff McNeill shot from leaving the ballpark.  He settled for a lead-off triple.  It looked like the Mets would score a second run and effectively end the game, but we are talking about a game involving the Mets, after all.  With the infield in Austin Jackson smoked a line drive - right at Javy Báez at shortstop.  Likewise, Conforto smoked a line drive that right at first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who had to make a short leap to grab it.  de la Rosa improbably got out of the inning when he struck out Jay Bruce to end the inning.

The Cubs finally got to deGrom in the bottom of the seventh.  Schwarber led off with a single, though he was forced out at second on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Almora.  Ben Zobrist pinch hit and smacked a hard grounder which somehow eluded the glove of first baseman Jay Bruce.  Almora went first-to-third and would score on a fly-out by David Bote to tie the game.  Zobrist would reach second on a wild pitch, but was stranded when Daniel Murphy struck out.

Carl Edwards Jr. was *fire emoji* in the 8th inning, striking out the first two batters and retiring New York's best hitter on the evening, deGrom, on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Cubs threatened int he bottom of the eighth.  Anthony Rizzo squeaked a single through the infield into center field, and Jason Heyward walked.  Báez had an awful at bat that saw him take two awkward stabs at a bunt before striking out.  By the way, deGrom was still hitting 98 in his final inning of work.  He then got Victor Caratini to hit into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

It's difficult not to do some gushing about deGrom's night.  He was dominant, elicited weak contact all night, and kept his pitch count to the point where he was able to go eight strong innings.  He struck out 10 and only had the one walk to Heyward late.  And yet, he earned himself a big, fat no-decision because of the ineptitude of the Mets offense.  In his two starts against the Cubs this season, deGrom threw 15 innings, struck out 23 while walking only 3, and allowed two runs.  Two no-decisions.

Pedro Strop was bad last night, but excellent tonight in the 9th.  He struck out the first batter, then got two quick ground outs to short.  Sadly, the Cubs could not do anything in the bottom half of the inning.  After just two pitches by Steve Cishek in the top of the tenth, the grounds crew was on the field, rolling out the tarp.

So...

The game will resume on Wednesday at noon with a 2-0 count and no outs in the tenth inning.  The conclusion of the game will be followed by the season finale between the two teams, currently scheduled for 1:20.  Alec Mills will get his second start against lefty Jason Vargas.  Apparently the lineup for that game is going to be...creative.  Hopefully not Vic Caratini in the 5-hole creative.

 

 

 

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  • StL won, so no movement in the Magic Number Countdown.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    On the other hand, two victories by the Cubs and a loss by the birds will drop the magic number by 3 points in one day!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yes, I thought about adding that, but I decided there was no point in potentially jinxing it.....but now that it’s out there....(hope hope hope)

  • What a pathetic AB by Javy in the 8th. Just terrible... not an MVP. The guy's batting cleanup with runners on 1st and 2nd in a tie game and he's trying to bunt!!!?? He wants to be the man and swing at everything out of the zone trying to hit home runs, but now he's gonna bunt? Not easy to score from 2nd base on a bunt. Even worse, he was trying to bunt at balls outside the strike zone! Especially after watching Rizzo and Heyward put up professional at bats and earn their way on base, I really want to know what the hell he's thinking there. Rizzo gets 3 of 4 pitches in the zone and takes advantage and gets a hit. deGrom had to pitch to Heyward carefully, putting 1 of 5 pitches in the zone. Heyward only swings at the only strike thrown and gladly takes his walk. Then the first 4 pitches Javy sees are out of the zone (and not even that close), yet he's taking hack bunts at them? WTF! Of course he'd strike out on a heater up in the zone, because he never even gave himself an opportunity to time him up. He should have been standing on first base, bases loaded with nobody out... game should have been over in 9 innings.

    That's why he'll never be a truly elite hitter until he lays off that sh*t, accepts his walks (raises his OBP so pitchers actually have to respect him), and feasts on pitches he can actually handle. Sadly, when he's locked in he can let those fast balls get deep in the zone and take them out of the park to RF. He didn't even need a HR there, just a simple base hit. Shame on me for thinking he would do that and make a real MVP moment out of it.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Written by a true emotional fan. Live and let live, especially when Javy does something natural that is the difference in the game today or tomorrow.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    The stats indicate that hitting against deGrom is not an easy thing to do. Javy wasn't the only Cubs batter that looked silly trying to make something happen. Almora's 7th inning bunt right to the pitcher cost the Cubs a run and the 9-inning win, too, but there was plenty of "blame" to go around. I was glad the Cubs hung in there against a world-class starter and that the Cubs pitching matched the best the league has to offer. They can win two today.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    You needed "stats" to tell you that hitting against deGrom is not an easy thing to do"? LOL (J/K)

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I don't, but some folks require more proof than others!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball at the moment. I get you may not like Javy's approach there, or in other situations, but great pitching beats great hitting nearly every time. I get what the other guys did with their AB but I'd cut Baez some slack when going up against the likes of Jacob deGrom.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    That was clearly Maddon's call not Javy's respectively he was clearly trying to sacrifice there he attempted to bunt twice FYI. I really didn't like the call by maddon if anything there why take the game out of the hands of your best hitter only to put the game in Caratini's hands? If it was Heyward, Rizzo, Zobrist or Murphy behind Javy then I wouldn't have minded the call I think those guys give good professional AB's and match up better with Degrom than Javy. But with Caratini on deck I'm baffled by the call I'd rather put the game in Javy's hands then rely on a groundball hitter to get the run in. Even if Javy had a successful sacrifice bunt then Caratini's weak groundball to the pitcher wouldn't have gotten it done. Disappointing sequence no doubt about it I feel like Javy's a good bunter but he seems to mess up whenever we ask him to sacrifice in these big situations. I'd have let him hit personally given the context of who was on deck

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I still stick to my opinion that Javy could've drawn the walk in the 8th last night. Only 1 pitch in the strike zone, and that has nothing to do with him trying to bunt. Like I say, he's shown he knows the strike zone, but it's like he chooses to ignore it. That's why I was so pissed about it last night, because he's ignoring the strike zone to try and bunt. Whether it was Maddon calling the bunt (which I don't think that's the case at all), or Javy, it was just a bad decision, and it's just magnified when he's throwing down that bunt late (not squaring up early at all) when the pitch is off the plate. Even JD said today that he thinks Javy was trying to bunt for a hit. And what's the purpose of that? Even if he bunts for a hit, the bases are loaded, and no run scores yet, which is fine. He could've achieved that by taking the first 4 pitches and he would've walked. So bases could've been loaded with no outs, and I have faith in Caratini, Schwarber, and Almora in putting in a good AB to get it done. At least we got the W and that game didn't run too long. Unfortunately Alec Mills isn't getting the job done now.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    What a great ab by Javy. Guess he read your post and disagreed with you.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Hahaha... I was wondering the same. As if...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I don't think Javy was paying any attention to you when you were ripping his play.

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    Javy needs a day off. He looks just a tad slower at the plate.

    We really need him at SS, so its going to be interesting on whose going to play SS in game 2. ( if he gets off)

    My guess is Bote plays SS or maybe Zorilla who came up as SS and backed up SS for Maddon's Rays. If KB was healthy, he might be an option for 1 game.

    Regardless its going to be interesting

  • Sure hope this one doesn’t turn into some 17 inning groaner. I hope it’s over by 12:15 with a Cub win and Mills follows up his last start with some more good length and the Met starter is a tomato can.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I hope so too, on both counts. a series win would be nice - a sweep fantastic!

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    Long as we keep winning, the pressure will get to the birds and they will start losing just like the Brewers are now. How anyone ( including that silly Stearns) thought that rotation could hold up the whole season w zero reinforcements has obviously not fully watched a full season or really realized how much of a grind 162 games is on a flawed roster. I do have to admit that bullpen lasted a lot longer then I figured.

    Knebel was abused last yr and we saw what happ to him this yr. ( i know its more then just the innings from last yr but its a factor). If they are not careful, this is what the future looks like for Hader and Jefferies. Lorenzo Cain for MVP? LOL Glad that talk has calm to a stand still.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I hope you're right, but the Cards have nothing to lose this year. No one expected them to be in the running. The role of Cubs-killer, whether regular-season or playoffs, would send the birdy-fan-base into a frenzy. The potential exists for the Cards winning the WC game and then playing the division-champion Cubs in the NLDS. Cards fans would pull for a reversal of the 2015 results and the bragging rights that go with it. I'm not taking them lightly. The key, as you said, is for the Cubs to keep winning.

  • In the 8th Baez was trying to bunt vs degrom so there could be men on 2nd and 3rd with one out. His lack of plate discipline was on full display because he tried to bunt 2 balls outside the zone instead of taking them and the count being 2-0. That is the one thing you hope he improves because sky is the limit if he does. Thought strop and Edwards pitched real good they were very sharp, both had some shaky outings lately. Kintzler cant be trusted, I don’t feel confident when he enters.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Exactly Bolla. That's been my gripe on Javy all along. If he shows the plate discipline, he can be the King of the NL! He proves to us over and over that he actually does know the strike zone and can lay off those pitches. But for every new AB, it's like he flips a coin; heads he swings (or bunts) at everything, and tails he only swings at strikes. The first 4 pitches of his AB were all off the plate, outside. He should've walked.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I gotta give him credit. His makemescreamforjoy / pissmeoff ratio is definitely improving!

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    In reply to bolla:

    Welcome to the dark side, bolla. I have been saying this (that he gets himself out by swinging--and missing--at balls) for months.

    At the same time, I am not going to put too much emphasis on an individual PA. de Grom is a really good pitcher and probably just plain fooled Javy. You win some, you lose some. The aggregate of Javy is pretty darn good, as you know. I still say he gets himself out more than he should. But maybe he will mature out of it. I am far from giving up on him. I am sure you are far from giving up on him too, despite the result of this specific PA.

  • Real good pitchers like deGrom make alot of hitters look bad. You can’t fault (or at least I don’t) Almora or Baez for that. Most of us can remember standing in there at some points of our lives against a fireballer who could throw strikes....it usually didn’t end well.

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Do you mean to imply that there is a reason beyond "conspiracy" that I have never been offered a 10/$200M contract? Just because I couldn't hit a guy who was throwing in the 50's in little league?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If you want to see what is worth more than that 10/200.....go back to that Little League field when there is no one around, stand in the box and look out at the field.............................:)

  • Bote starting at SS for the regularly scheduled game.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Interesting. In the first game, Zobrist made last out in the 9th, so Bote leads off the 10th, followed by PH and Rizzo. Javy hits 5th in the inning, if it makes it that far. It's a new day - maybe Javy will be the walkoff hero for game one...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Well, Zorilla can get the walkoff RBI, Javy scores the winner!

  • W W W W W W W!

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    Yes You May!!

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    Something to consider. I have been reading about how the last week or two has been a test of the Cubs. They have had to face Scherzer, Syndergaard, deGrom. And they won all 3 games. That is impressive. Do we know the records of those three pitchers in those games? 0-0. The Cubs didn't "beat" any of them. In fact, they were pretty much dominated by Scherzer and deGrom. But they got outstanding starting pitching that kept them in all three games (Thank you, Cole Hamels!) and were able to score on the bullpen once they got them out of the game. Their bullpen was able to hold the other team down long enough to get 2 walk off wins. That kind of thing can happen in the playoffs too. You don't have to "beat" an outstanding pitcher. You just want to win the game.

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