The Cubs had seven hits, the Blue Jays had six. The Cubs had three walks and one HBP. The Blue Jays had four walks and two HBPs. The Cubs had one double and two homers. The Blue Jays had one double and two homers. From their starter, the Cubs got 5 innings of one-run ball and the Blue Jays got six innings of two-run ball.
Point being? This one was pretty darn close. The Blue Jays just happened to have two guys on the bases for one of their home runs and that was basically the entire difference in this ballgame. And so, for the second straight night, the Cubs lost one in Toronto.
Among the newsy bits from this game, before we get to the relief debuts:
- Contreras homered and then exited in the sixth inning with an apparent ankle injury.
- Nick Madrigal made what feels like his best defensive play of the season.
- And Chris Morel homered and doubled to break out of his slump.
Oh, and since we talked about Seiya Suzuki earlier today, I’ll add that he went 2-4 tonight, continuing a nice stretch of baseball since the first week of August.
Okay, the bottom line tonight is all about the two Cubs relievers making their big league debuts. And they really couldn’t have gone any different than they did.
Brendon Little, one of the Cubs first rounders from 2017, had a nightmare first outing as a Major Leaguer. As in, I’m guessing that’s exactly how he feared it would go in the worst case scenario: He hit his first batter on the foot, he slipped on the grass trying to make a play on his second batter, and the third batter he faced homered over the right field wall. He shook it off for a moment, getting to two outs, but after a walk, David Ross pulled the plug and it was over. I’m sure there are brighter days ahead, but that was definitely not a fun one for Little.
But he played the part of good teammate, standing on the top step for his fellow rookie’s debut in the 8th, which went as well as you could hope. Against his first big league batter, Jeremiah Estrada was pumping absolute HEATERS at the top of the zone (sitting 97-98 MPH, but touching 99 MPH), before dishing out this devastating slider:
Estrada ultimately went strikeout-walk-strikeout-groundout for a clean inning, netting an impressive FIVE whiffs against four batters. That’s just one less than Stroman had over 5.0 innings tonight. And he was pretty good, too!
It really was just a nasty, nasty debut for Estrada who looks every bit as promising as advertised:
Cubs lose though. So we’ll save our pats on the back for tomorrow.