The Cubs put together an ultimate teaser rally in the 9th, scoring two and leaving the tying run on base, but for eight innings before that, they did nothing. So I don’t really even care about that 9th inning.
That said, to me, the worst part of tonight’s game probably wasn’t the defensive lapses and meatball pitches that led to Cardinals runs. It wasn’t the woeful offensive performance again.
It was actually that Miles Mikolas, a relative bargain signing for the Cardinals out of Japan, looked really good. Good velocity, excellent command, solid movement on his breaking pitches. The Cubs’ bats are cold as hell right now, to be sure, but he was also very good. And he’s been good already so far this year. It’s possible that he’s just good. And that’s a big boon to the Cardinals.
But even setting his performance aside, you could tell the Cubs’ bats were still off. Guys swinging at pitches out of the zone in counts where you’d normally see them more disciplined. Guys fouling off meatballs. Guys hitting harmless grounders and pop ups. Guys pressing whenever a runner reaches scoring position.
The Cubs’ pitching wasn’t too bad in this one. Jose Quintana was OK, though he tried to be too fine early on, driving up the pitch count, yielding walks. The only damage he gave up came after two gaffes in the infield either one of which would have ended the second inning before Tommy Pham hit a three-run homer. But that came on such a bad 2-0 meatball that I still left this one feeling a little frustrated by Quintana’s outing. The bullpen was very solid thereafter.
Not that it would have mattered, as the Cubs once again couldn’t get past (or even to, in this case) the three-run threshold. It’s … frustrating.
May the Fourth, indeed.