Morning Cubs Roundup: No, your eyes did not deceive you, Alec Mills tossed a no-no

Alec Mills

Alec Mills

Last Game: Cubs 12, Brewers 0

Up Next: Tuesday, Indians (26-21) @ Cubs (28-20) 7:15 CST

Game Recap

Saturday's glorious 9th inning comeback will stick in the minds of fans for quite some time. The same can be said of Sunday's. No, the game was not in doubt, but as you may have heard Alec Mills completed one of the most unlikely no-hitters in Cubs history. Truly, a weekend of 9th innings that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

I expect the viewing audience for the game doubled around the 6th inning when the Bears completed an improbable comeback in their season opener and news of what Mills had accomplished through the first half of his start began filtering out into social media. But while many of the fans were distracted in the early going, Alec Mills went to work. He didn't miss a ton of bats (just 5 whiffs among his 114 pitches). According to Statcast he even gave up nearly as many hard hit balls as the Brewers staff did on the afternoon.

What Alec Mills did do, was get a lot of called strikes. That slow curve of his was a 1st pitch weapon throughout the game as Brewers hitters seemed geared up to hit the fastball. He threw 23 curves, 9 went found the zone without the Milwaukee hitter even offering. In fact, they swung at the curve only 6 times all afternoon. Mills garnered another 9 called strikes on his four seamer, 6 on his sinker, and 2 on his infrequently used slider. You don't rack up numbers like that unless you are masterfully mixing your pitches to keep the hitters off balance.

Credit goes to Mills, but also to Victor Caratini behind the plate. The pair executed a phenomenal game plan. Like virtually all no-hitters, there was some luck involved. The Brewers put plenty of balls into play, including several well struck, but the Cubs defense was up to the task while the BABIP gods smiled down on Mills.

Top Performers

Hey, the offense did some things as well. The 12 runs is a little deceiving, as the Brewers defense butchered enough plays to result in 5 of the runs being unearned, but hey, you got to put the ball in play in order for the opposing defense to factor in. That's something the Cubs have had an issue with all season (for several seasons actually). The Cubs struck out just 8 times, which may sound like a lot, but when you consider they completed 5 runs through their batting order and were working through a 6th time it becomes more impressive.

Saturday's hero, Jason Heyward, led the attack. He reached base 4 times, drove in a run, and scored 3.

I am also pleased to report Javy did Javy things on the bases:

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

  • This was the 16th no-hitter in Cubs history, their second accomplished at Miller Park (Carlos Zambrano against the Astros in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). Between those two, the only two in the history of Miller Park, Jake Arrieta threw a pair of his own. David Ross was behind the plate for the Arrieta's last back in 2016.

Filed under: Morning Cubs Roundup


Leave a comment
  • Ya gotta love Alec's story. Truly a man who's flown under the radar for years but has quietly gone about his business without an ounce of flash or "Hey, look at me". His ability to stay calm yesterday must be a result of that steadiness. Good for him! By the way, does anyone else see the similarities to Hendricks?

  • Amazingly 4 of the cubs 8k’s were by Rizzo.

    For some reason I remember the hurricane that moved the Houston game to Milwaukee was Ike.

  • In reply to stix:

    I think you are right. The pitfalls of not having a fact checker :)

  • All credit must go to the gifted Alec Mills, with an able assist from VC and the Cub defense.

    One of the beautiful things about baseball is that it has a huge component of "thinking person's game" (see Mills, A, Caratini, V and Baez, J), in addition to the requirement of exquisite physical skills.

    Hopefully the entire team will, as my 1st grade teacher Ms. Watson frequently said, "put their thinking caps on" sufficiently to add to their physical talent and make this abbreviated season a resounding success!!

  • Congrats to Mills. Quite the accomplishment for a guy not known around the league. This is something he will cherish for a lifetime.

    It is still quite something about how bad our hitters have been. I can't recall seeing a team in 1st place with this bad an offense. If they get hot at the end of the season, maybe they can win this crazy season. But the 1-5 is pretty awful right now. It's no the coaching, it is the players. It is up to them. Everything a coach would say is something they have heard 100's if not 1000's of times. Maybe "paralysis by analysis" has set in for some? Javy is on record as saying he needs at bat by at bat video. I don't know but the simpler the better. See ball hit ball. See strikes swing at strikes. See balls take balls.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    The 88 Dodgers come to mind

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    So we are once every 32 years bad? :-) The Dodgers were as bad as it gets. Outside of Gibson only 2 regulars posted an OPS above .800 (Shelby and Marshall). And their team OPS+ was 90. Their entire infield had an OPS below .668 led by Steve Sax.

    The pitching was amazing with Hershiser, Leary, and Belcher. Completely dominant starting pitching. Fernando was the #5 with a 4.24 ERA. And the bullpen was a complete lock down pen.

    Not sure our staff can match them, but our hitters sure can!!! LOL.

  • I'll add my two cents to this wonderful accomplishment by Alex Mills. He is obviously a player of strong character. He has hung around the margins of the 'show' for years improving on his craft through injury and lwith ess pure 'stuff' than many. It will be interesting to watch him pitch going forward through this year and his future. Good luck Alex. Cub fans are proud of you.

  • Way to go Alec Mills! A truly great acomplishment for him.

    Terrific game of mixing his pitches and he had his curveball working to perfection!

    Great to put the nail in the coffin of the Brew Crew as they had to be a little down from Saturday night's 9th inning Cubs' comeback win.

  • Great story this weekend for they put the Brewers in a box unless the Brewers can go 6/4 this weekend, as they are down 2 games to the catch and 7/3 to overtake, if they go 5/5 the Reds could get hot and go 8-2 putting them in the mix with 28 losses going into the final week.

    All in all it appears Cubs are facing the #6 seed if things continue in their trends

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Braves facing a difficult 13 game finish and are only 1/2 game ahead of cubs. Let’s wait at least another week before we try to guess seedings.

    Braves losing 10-0 vs Orioles.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to stix:

    I'd have to say the Cubs have a more difficult remainder of the season than the Cubs. The Cubs play against better teams. Except for the Pirates all of their games are against winning teams and two of the four are in first place.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    Correction. Should have said 2 of them are fighting it out for first place with the same amount of wins. The Twins and White Sox could be neck and neck with the Cubs playing the White Sox the last 3 games. I'm hoping that the Cubs and the White Sox have 1st wrapped up before they even meet again.

  • Way to go Alex. you filled a big hole in our pitching staff.

  • Congrats to you Mr. Mills. You define perseverance.

  • fb_avatar

    There have been 10 No Hit games by the Cubs in my lifetime but for various reasons; military service, out of the country or just no televised game, I've only seen two so far; The Don Cardwell game in 1960 and the one last night. I almost didn't watch it but I'm sure glad that I did.

  • fb_avatar

    Alec, don't call me Alex, Mills named National League Player of the Week. Pitched 15 scoreless innings and has 17 consecutive scoreless.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    Ah, Alec not Alex. Thanks!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    It wasn't directed at you a lot of people have called him Alex. Which I guess is understandable.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    Cool. On behalf those of us less observant readers, thank you!

  • fb_avatar

    DH with StL and Milw. The Brewers won the first game and in the bottom of the 7th it’s tied at 2. I guess we want them to sweep.
    btw, there have been over 300 no hit games in the 150 years of baseball. That’s quite an accomplishment Alec.

  • StL and MIL split their DH. ATL lost. All the Magic Numbers decrease by 1. The new tallies:

    Clinch a playoff berth: 8. (See technical note, below)
    Clinch the division: 12 (11).
    Clinch the nr 2 seed: 13.

    CIN is now officially in 3rd place. MIL has, though one less loss and has played 3 fewer games than CIN. MIL is thus still considered the closest chaser for Countdown purposes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Norway, I'm certainly glad that you can figure this all out. There are so many permutations this year. All I know is that if the Cubs keep winning we'll be in the playoffs.
    Thanks for all the work.

  • The Alec Mills no hitter was a statement about the recalibration of Baseball 2020. The failure of Bryant, Baez, and Rizzo and the ascendance of the White Sox is another sign.
    The long uppercut swings of the Cubs’ former Big Three, leave them pathetic strike out masters to the changing speeds and heights of pitches from Hendricks and Mills type pitchers. Milwaukee’s 86 mile per hour lefty from Harvard, Suter left the Cubs once-sluggers absolutely stupified. Dallas Keuchel of the Sox is another master of change of speeds and heights. Watch Bryant, Baez and Rizzo and then compare them to Jose Abreu of the Sox. The Cubs swing wildly and lose sight of the pitch soon after it leaves the hand of the pitcher. Abreu watches the pitch all the way until bat strikes ball, enabling him to make micro adjustments. He can handle high or low, inside or even outside the zone Off the corners. Tim Anderson does the same as he heads toward a second batting championship and runs scored title.

    The Hendricks-Mills style is an important shift being highlighted in this short season. With the exception of Shane Bieber and a few others, fireball pitching is failing this season. Even Yu Darvish is much more artist than employer of speed.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    excellent analysis of pitching & hitting in today's game. Rizzo, however, chokes up with with 2 strikes on him with good results. Maybe he should do it all the time; it worked for Barry Bonds.

  • fb_avatar

    Mark Gonzales of the Tribune has reported that Chatwood suffered a setback, with his elbow not feeling good according to David Ross as reported by Gonzales. This was seen on MLB trade rumors. He was doing better, but it looks like Mills or Alzolay will have to step up.
    Right now we have Hendricks and Darvish as our most dependable pitchers.

Leave a comment