That was a baseball game. Strictly speaking.
Jason Hammel was bit by a combination of bad luck and bad location on his pitches, which conspired to see him bounced from the game before the third inning was over. I would contend that Hammel wasn’t as bad as his line shows, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. He was on the outside looking in for a playoff roster spot, in my opinion anyway, and nothing that happened today changed things. Hammel’s year hasn’t been nearly as bad as some will try to tell you come November, but, for me, the home run problems really concern me in the playoffs, when the impact of one ill-timed homer is magnified so profoundly. Couple that with the Cubs’ extraordinary bullpen depth right now (and need for only four starting pitchers), and it’s a really tough fit to justify Hammel on the roster.
Of course, he wasn’t the only Cubs pitcher with rough results today. Hector Rondon couldn’t finish his inning (some bad bounces in there), and Rob Zastryzny pitched for the first time in a long time and gave up a run. As long as Rondon is feeling fine, I have no concerns. Zastrzyny looked great in flashes with the big league team, but absent an injury, squeezing him into the postseason bullpen was always going to be a stretch (good pitchers are simply not going to make it).
Offensively, the Cubs did what you’d expect with Alex Reyes, making him work, but didn’t quite cash in on all those opportunities (very much like last time). Dexter Fowler had a huge day, so that was cool. Willson Contreras went deep in the 9th, so that was cool.