Close, back-and-forth games always get the better of my emotions. I dwell on every failed opportunity, every pitch that missed its spot, every tiny little thing that, if it had only gone differently, so, too, would have the game.
Having gone down early, the Cubs came back in the 5th to take a 4-3 lead on a couple doubles by Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. But, in the sixth, Joe Maddon (correctly, I still think) opted to pull Clayton Richard – who’d pitched adequately – with two outs, and Justin Grimm walked the first guy he faced. Then he gave up a 450-foot homer to Jay Bruce.
The Cubs had something cooking in the top of the 7th to respond, but Brandon Phillips snared a Jorge Soler grounder up the middle – it would have tied the game – flipped it behind his back (it was actually necessary) and Eugenio Suarez grabbed it with his bare hand to get a force at second and end the inning. It was … sigh … an absolutely fantastic play all around. Wound up saving the game, too.
It would be a mistake to take too much away from a single pitching appearance, but it would also be a mistake to say that anything about Rafael Soriano’s debut – velocity, location, stuff – was impressive. Hopefully just a blip.
Among other things to be frustrated about: Kyle Schwarber destroyed the ball with the bases loaded in the second … right at the right fielder, ending the inning. Chris Coghlan led off the 8th with a double … and did not score. Dexter Fowler got thrown out at second base after a single in that 5th inning.
Also … this: