The Cubs kept giving themselves chances in this one, which I do like, but obviously mere chances are only that, and a loss is a loss. Notable: the Cubs lead baseball in grounded into double plays, which was again a factor tonight.
Biggest chance came in the 8th, when the Cubs had two on and nobody out for Nico Hoerner, but he grounded into a double play. From there, the Cubs wound up loading the bases with two outs, but Willson Contreras looked at three straight pitches to strike out (one was definitely out of the zone up, but the other two caught the top of the zone). The Cubs also had a chance in the 9th, when they scored a run to cut the deficit to one, but the game ended with the tying run just 90 feet away.
Most of the damage against the Cubs came in a disastrous 4th inning for Marcus Stroman. He didn’t have much command tonight, particularly with the two-seamer (seemed to lose it arm-side quite a bit) and the cutter (left some middle and not quite in enough to lefties). He was also frequently wild, with a whole lot of non-competitive balls (i.e., the kind that, right out of the hand, the batter knows he needn’t bother with). And when the wheels came off in the 4th, they REALLY came off. Probably should’ve been pulled before his final batter and the three-run homer, but I can understand the hope that he’d get through it and turn it over to the bullpen from there. Then again, he was looking pretty done at that point, and hope is not a strategy.
The bullpen was once again overall solid, with Scott Effross really impressing. The at bats just look so uncomfortable.
Seiya Suzuki is already being treated like the star he might be, by the way. With the Cubs staging a little something in the 5th, Suzuki pinch hit for Jason Heyward, with runners on second and third with one out. Naturally, the Rockies threw two way out of the zone to see if he’d chase – of course he wouldn’t – and then intentionally walked him.
Chances, chances, chances …