Well of course the Cubs’ seven-game winning streak comes to an end against the worst team in baseball, *AND* on a bizarrely awful blown save. Baseball gonna getchu.
That wasn’t a stellar game, necessarily, even before the 9th inning, but the 9th inning sure is that poop taste currently in your mouth.
Heading into the top of the 9th with a one-run lead, the Cubs needed only for Pedro Strop to close things out against a terrible lineup and that would be that. But Strop – who, actually doesn’t really suffer from those massive bouts of control problems anymore – simply could not throw either his fastball or slider anywhere near the strike zone. He walked the first two, gave up a single, and then walked in the tying run. Kyle Ryan was summoned to try to salvage things, and, although he got outs on the infield, two runs scored in the process (the second of which was when Ryan inexplicably opted to throw to first on a comebacker, even though the runner at third was just sitting there halfway to home … it was a total brain freeze).
Of course, if Strop/Ryan had simply been able to keep the game tied or within one, then Kris Bryant’s monster homer in the bottom of the 9th would have been more meaningful. As it stands, it actually just served to make me angry.
Ultimately, the Cubs could have had so many more runs, as they wore out the double play ball, and also managed just a single run out of a bases-loaded, nobody out opportunity, and also didn’t really do diddly poo against a whole lot of crummy pitchers. That’s not to let Strop totally off the hook, but it could have been a much more sizable lead that he was trying to protect.
Cole Hamels was more or less solid in this one, giving up a little more damage than you’d like to see against this particular Marlins lineup, but it’s hard to complain about a quality start that features seven strikeouts and just five hits and two walks in 6.0 innings.
Overall: crummy loss. Quite crummy. Cheers.