Oof, that ending, baby. Not cool.
John Lackey’s command was off just enough early that he gave up a couple of deep flies and was in a 3-0 hole quickly, and had thrown a ton of pitches. To his credit, he not only righted the ship, but managed to last through six innings having given up only those three runs. Not a fantastic outing, but far from a terrible one.
As near as I could tell, he wasn’t hurt too badly by having Willson Contreras behind the plate. Sure, maybe a more seasoned framer snags an extra strike or two, but we know that’s part of the equation for a young catcher who is still learning. He’s there to do that, and also for his bat (which knocked in a run).
The Cubs rallied in the 9th on the strength of an Albert Almora double with one out and then Chris Coghlan hit by a pitch. Then Trevor Rosenthal uncorked a wild one that got by the catcher … but it hit the leg of the ump, bounced right to Yadier Molina, who fired to third base to nail Almora. Ben Zobrist then singled – which would have tied or won the game in another life – but Jason Heyward popped out to end it. Had Coghlan at least followed Almora as the throw went to third, he may have scored the tying run (but then, he also wouldn’t have been on first base, and maybe the defensive positioning is different on the Zobrist ball, and maybe it’s not a hit, etc. – butterfly wings).
In any case, I’m a little dumbstruck right now, because if that ball just gets by the ump, or if Almora sees it more clearly and stays at second, the game ends differently. Incredible how a bounce like that can change it. I reckon we’ll talk about it some more tomorrow when I’m done chewing on some concrete.
Extra frustrating because the Cubs had just pulled of an amazing play in the top of the 9th to keep it a one-run game. I’ll still probably share that play later, so I won’t get into it right now. But it was really good. Now I’m really bummed. (Also not getting into the beanball stuff right now. Also not cool, Jaime Garcia.)