There aren’t many positives on a night like tonight — Taijuan Walker absolutely carved up the Cubs with his sinker (7 whiffs and 14 called strikes on that pitch, alone!) — but I can think of a few, and that’s where we’ll start.
First and most importantly, Alec Mills was excellent. He was ultimately charged with 3 earned runs, but one of those scored after he left the game and the first two came on weak contact that just happened to beat the shift and bloop the wrong way at the wrong time. He threw plenty of competitive sinkers with good movement, his slider netted four whiffs on six swings, and, for the most part, he was locating his changeup and curveball below the zone. It was just a solid start for a guy who hasn’t really started this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets another shot in the near future.
The second positive of the night was Javy Baez going deep to right field. When he’s hitting homers the other way, that usually means he’s pretty locked in, which is especially good to see given the time he’s missed lately with injuries.
And finally, how about Keegan Thompson? The young Cubs righty came and threw 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.85 for the year.
And then there’s everything else.
The Mets scored only 3 runs tonight, but it felt like about 15, because of all the Cubs strikeouts (15 Ks). They did make a TON of hard contact, including 11 of the 15 hardest hit balls of the night, but the Mets extreme shifting (and all those strikeouts) was enough to make it all moot.
I’d rather not discuss the Jake Marisnick send by third base coach Willie Harris tonight. Maybe tomorrow. It seemed incredibly misguided to me – the Cubs would’ve had a runner on third with just one out if he held Marisnick … who was out by a mile and a half at home (it took a great play, but still…) – but I’d like to see some other angles first. All I know is you just can’t let the situation supersede the actual likelihood of being safe. It wasn’t even close and Marisnick (who was pinch running for Willson Contreras) is very fast. Well, there I guess I just talked about it.
Anyway, yes, this was a bad night to lose. Tomorrow, the Cubs will face Jacob deGrom, the best starter in MLB, and on Thursday, they’ve got Marcus Stroman, who’s also been excellent. Just remember, this Mets team has been one of the best run preventing teams in MLB this year and the Cubs played this one almost entirely without their best player, Kris Bryant (among others). I mean, they did have a play at the plate for the tying run and had two other at-bats in the 9th with the tying run in scoring position. It was close.
Brighter days ahead, my friends.
Full Box Score.