March baseball is just for effing around, apparently.
The Cubs’ bats did all they could today, but the bullpen would have absolutely none of it, repeatedly giving the game away. If you’re not angry as all get out right now, then you didn’t watch this game. And I salute you for your wisdom!
Much like I wrote this morning, the bullpen issues today came from guys the Cubs were going to have to give looks at some point. That doesn’t guarantee this bullpen is effed, or that the front office’s “volume” approach will prove disastrous over the long haul. But it does risk blown games while you figure out what you have, and man, this was another torturous experience watching the Cubs’ relievers try to get outs (made all the more torturous knowing the bullpen was a concern six months ago).
Cole Hamels looked pretty good in his outing, and didn’t even pitch poorly in the five-run fourth inning, with four runs of the damage coming on a grand slam that followed brutal missed strike calls:
Balls and strikes called that last half inning for Hamels. pic.twitter.com/yWzQLAygzL
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) March 31, 2019
To be quite sure, the pitch on which Delino Deshields Jr. cranked that grand slam was really bad. Can’t have that, and Hamels paid for it. But he should have long been out of that inning. Alas.
Similarly, Tyler Chatwood looked pretty darn good in relief, the resulting line notwithstanding. He was mostly in the zone, mostly getting groundballs, and two of the runs scored from first and second after he left. There are some bones there to build on.
But yeah, Mike Montgomery had nothing, Pedro Strop got wild, and no lead is going to feel safe any time soon.
I’m certainly not going to put any blame on the offense when they put up double freaking digits, but it’s notable how many more opportunities they had to score even more runs today. Mostly, that’s a compliment to their ability to keep on grinding and getting on base. They kept creating opportunities to win this game, and the pitching just threw it away.
Well, except one guy.