Enhanced Box Score: Dodgers 6, Cubs 2 – April 20, 2023
A disastrous 9th inning for Michael Fulmer cost the Cubs any chance in this one. I’m feeling quite stung right now. Two hits, a deep fly out, and then WALKING JASON HEYWARD before giving up a grand slam. One night is just one night, but man. That was a very, very bad night for Fulmer. Not like it’s been a tremendous start to the season for him otherwise, either.
The Cubs certainly had their opportunities throughout the night, but outside of one Nico Hoerner hit (which still produced an out), the Cubs just couldn’t come through in the big spot. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, given what happened in the 9th, but it was still frustrating to see it play out.
Given the fill-in nature of the call-up, the fact that he wasn’t stretched out, and the howling winds that absolutely created one of the two homers he gave up, it’s hard to be too upset with Javier Assad’s outing tonight. Of course you wanted four or five innings of scoreless ball, but he gave the Cubs three reasonable innings (again, the Max Muncy homer was a pop fly that got blown out by the wind). And then the bullpen was outstanding after Assad until Fulmer in the 9th.
The Cubs had a chance for a crooked number in the 4th, with Michael Grove leaving the game, and a couple on with nobody out. But Tucker Barnhart struck out, and then Nico Hoerner/Trey Mancini did this:
Situationally, I get why many would’ve wanted Mancini held there (only one out, middle of the order coming up), but I was fine with it. I generally fall into the “if it takes a perfect throw, then send him” camp, so I have a bias toward always being fine with these sends. Sometimes, the other team does pull off a perfect throw (and a great tag there, too). I get it. But the flip side is that there’s no guarantee Mancini later scores if he’s held, and it was probably better than a coin flip on that play. Just a perfect throw from Outman.
One of the Cubs’ other great scoring chances was thwarted by an unassisted double-play by shortstop … Mookie Betts. Yes, Betts entered the game late and filled in at shortstop, where he killed a potential rally with a nice double-play.
I’m sure the Dodgers and their fans are having a very fun night. I am not. I don’t even get to make jokes about Cody Bellinger smoking one and then taking two hits on 4-20 (things that did happen).