Enhanced Box Score: Marlins 5, Cubs 4 – May 7, 2023
On a balk. The Cubs lost today’s marathon game – the longest game in MLB so far this year – on a balk. The kind that is almost never called. That is not at all fun.
OK, to be fair, the Cubs lost that game several times before the 14th inning balk. I am very impressed that the Cubs came back to tie things in the bottom of the 9th, and then tied the game again multiple times in extra innings. I don’t want to discount that, and kudos all around for it.
… but boy is it hard not to fixate on the chances the Cubs had to walk things off in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AND 13th. Just ONE hit before the third out in any of those innings and the Cubs win the game. They didn’t, so they didn’t.
I haven’t seen the numbers lately, so I’ll just have to estimate: the Cubs fall to 0-785 in their last 785 tries to win Sunday’s game at home to pull off a sweep.
Sandy Alcántara had his best stuff cooking today AND he was getting a pretty expansive strike zone called, which, uh, makes for a not so fun combination when trying to score runs. I completely understand the Marlins trying to let him eat the entire game. But after 8.1 innings of doing pretty much nothing, the Cubs got through on the strength of an Ian Happ single, a Cody Bellinger double, and an Eric Hosmer single. That tied the game up and sent it to extras, where some good and bad things happened.
(The Cubs had Alcántara maybe develop one single bead of sweat in the 3rd when the Cubs hit a couple singles to start things up. Then David Ross had Miguel Amaya bunt, which was enraging even though the sac but was “successful.” Nico Hoerner popped out and Dansby Swanson struck out. No runs. Which is a perfectly possible outcome in that situation against a very good pitcher, so why are you giving him free outs in the third inning? That was just one of a few head scratchers from Ross again today, and I’m going to have to go back and mull the strings he pulled in extras because having the game end with the tying run at third and Tucker Barnhart flailing helplessly against a lefty often means you screwed up at some point earlier in the game. Probably when pinch-running Seiya Suzuki for Miguel Amaya (who doesn’t really need that), and then burning Suzuki’s bat in the process anyway.)
If you can remember 8+ innings ago, Hayden Wesneski was fantastic, combining good stuff with good results today. The slider was really working, in large part because he was able to command the four-seamer (which itself got five whiffs today). There wasn’t a TON of hard contact, and he really only got into one jam (in the 5th, when his own fielding work helped him get out of it). Very nice day all around.