I always feel so scattered in the morning after a game like that, which had me up until 2am ET, wrapping things up and trying to wind down.
- Did the Cubs actually win last night’s crazy game in the 10th inning? That’s what a lot of fans were screaming as the game went deeper and deeper into extra innings. With Javy Baez streaking home on an Anthony Rizzo grounder to first base, Sean Rodriguez stepped on first, and threw Baez out at the plate to end the 10th inning. Or did he? I’ve watched the replay a dozen times, and I’m convinced of two things: (1) Baez was probably safe, when you aggregate all the camera angles and draw the best conclusion you can; and (2) there was not “clear and convincing evidence” to “definitively conclude that the call on the field was incorrect.” That’s the standard for overturning a call on the field, and I feel like too many folks forget it in the heat of the moment. Baez was probably safe, and if that had been the call on the field (as it looks like it should have been), then it would have stood. But since he was called out? There’s just no way to say you can absolutely conclude from the video that the call was incorrect. Judge for yourself if you didn’t see:
- That came after Baez doubled as part of a four-hit night, including a triple later. He’d been in quite a cold stretch lately, so it was nice to see him have a big night at the plate.
- I won’t belabor the other thing fans were screaming about last night – the strike zone – and will instead point you to the map at Brooks, which confirms, yes, that was a shockingly inconsistent and poorly-called zone last night on both sides.
- Well, I guess I will say one more thing about it: the missed strikeout call in the 7th inning, which preceded a rocket throw to second base by Willson Contreras to complete an apparent strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play, was especially frustrating. It turned two outs into a walk and two runners on base, cost Jake Arrieta two runs, and nearly cost the Cubs the game. Given that, and the fact that he really only gave up two big hits that accounted for four runs, I didn’t think Arrieta was bad last night. Looked pretty good in total, in fact. The results don’t always match it in baseball, but you knew that.
- How about Rob Zastryzny? He once again got into a bases-loaded jam, and even after reaching three balls, he didn’t lose his composure. He struck out Sean Rodriguez, got a fly ball (that, yes, did give the Pirates the lead run), and then struck out Jeff Locke to end the inning. That’s a big, big moment for a young pitcher to work through.
- A wonderful point from BN’er ssckelley this morning: “Remember last year when the Cubs went on that tear in the month of August? They went 19-9 last season in August, this year with 2 games left to go they are 20-6.” Think about how ridiculously hot it felt like the Cubs were in August last year. Wow.
- Still awesome: Justin Grimm. He now has his ERA/FIP/xFIP down to 3.83/3.33/3.30 on the year, which is incredible given where he was just two months ago.
- Still hitting: Jason Heyward. Another couple hits last night – well struck, too – and he’s now riding an eight-game hitting streak.
- Theo Epstein believes the Cubs can balance getting key players rest down the stretch without creating rust that inhibits them in the postseason, and he says he’ll always err on the side of extra rest (CBS). The comments were appropriate in light of Joe Maddon’s recent indication that the Cubs could go with six starting pitchers for a bit – or at least here and there – after John Lackey returns from the DL.
- Of course, Epstein was also quick to point out (CSN) that he never takes anything for granted after the 2011 season in Boston, where his club blew a 9.0-game lead in the Wild Card race as of September 3 and missed the playoffs. The good news is that the Red Sox had every other AL club chasing them that year, since it was a Wild Card race, and the Cubs have only the NL Central after them at this point, so there’s a more limited pool of teams that could pass them. I kind of chuckle as I type that, because that’s not really the “good news” difference between the 2011 Red Sox and these Cubs. Instead, I’ll point to the 14.0-game lead for the Cubs. It took a historic collapse for those Red Sox to blow a 9.0-game lead on the final day of the season (one of the craziest nights in baseball I can ever remember, in fact). That also paved the way for Epstein to ultimately exit the Red Sox and come over the Cubs. That’s not really here nor there, but I always have to mention it when discussing the 2011 Red Sox.
- Anthony Rizzo does some good (as he does all the time, but it doesn’t always get the publicity for it).
- This will get some attention soon, I’d expect:
Here's Addison Russell's monthly launch angle. You might say there's a trend happening. pic.twitter.com/8C8v9lIMia
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 29, 2016