Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 4, Marlins 1 – May 5, 2023
Finally, it wasn’t a one-run game! And the Cubs actually won!
I wouldn’t say the offense was necessarily “jolted” today, as the Cubs scored just four. I’ll take it, but they actually won the way we THOUGHT they might have to win this year: tremendous pitching and defense.
Justin Steele was exceptional once again, continuing his streak of starts allowing two or fewer earned runs, and joining elite company in the process:
Much more on Steele’s magnificent day, and impressive streak, soon.
Obviously Matt Mervis’s big league debut was the storyline of the day, and he got a standing ovation when he came to the plate the first time. The fans definitely knew what was going on.
For his part, Mervis had some legitimately tough match-ups today, but then, that’s the big leagues. He looked pretty rough taking some not-particularly-close swings, but when he got a pitch to hit in the 8th – after the Marlins intentionally walked Trey Mancini to get to him – Mervis RIPPED it 111.2 mph up the middle:
That’s just beautiful, and a great moment for Mervis and his family in attendance.
Ian Happ stayed on quiet fire, crushing a two-run homer that proved large in the game.
The Cubs notched their first run of the day in the first inning thanks in large part to Nico Hoerner drawing the first “three tries and you balk” that I’ve seen this year. He was dancing so aggressively off of first base that Cabrera threw over once, stepped off the mound a second time, and then decided to throw over a third time. You’ll recall, if you disengage the rubber a third time, the runner has to be out or it counts as a balk. Hoerner basically “stole” first base on the third one – he was like 30 feet off of first, forcing Cabrera to try – and I feel like he should get credit for a steal. He later scored with two outs on a Seiya Suzuki single.
Miguel Amaya’s hard luck continues, as he once again did not hit a ball under 100 mph, but once again didn’t get a hit. I guarantee the Cubs are noticing that hard contact, though, regardless of results. And behind the plate, he looks like he receives it very well.
Michael Fulmer is back in the good graces of David Ross, getting a very traditional setup inning. Mark Leiter Jr. got the 9th because of the lefty match-ups, I presume.
All in all, a very happy day.