Well that was about one foot away from being a relieving thrill of a night. Instead, it’s borderline despair.
You can usually tell when it’s been an exceptionally wild game, because the narrative part of the EBS gets longer, and longer, and longer, as I’m writing chunks while the game plays out. This time, there are not only a lot of chunks, but they are completely random and disjointed because this game was completely random and disjointed.
I’m also feeling kinda sick at this point when I start to let myself think about the bigger picture and what is happening to the Cubs, so my thoughts get all jumbled. Oh, also, it’s 12:45 am my time, and I’m very tired.
I can’t even get into half the ridiculous, surprising, concerning, enraging, unbelievable stuff that happened in this 13-inning game. Like, Patrick Wisdom simply not running from first on a grounder up the first base line – even after the ball kicked away into foul territory off the first baseman’s glove – creating an easy 3-6 double-play barely even registers on the bizarreness scale. There were yahoos running on the field in extras. These things were barely a blip. (OK, well, the Wisdom one kinda sticks with me, because he might’ve scored later in the inning.)
The Cubs’ 12th inning featured a screaming grounder up the line on which the Diamondbacks made a diving play, and a 399-foot shot to the deepest part of the park by Yan Gomes that would’ve left 12 other ballparks. When those two things produced outs instead of runs, that’s when the sinking feeling REALLY arrived.
Of course, Drew Smyly bailed the Cubs out in the bottom of the 12th by pitching around traffic, and the Cubs did take the lead again in the 13th. And then the Diamondbacks, down to their last strike, tied it on a line drive off of Hayden Wesneski that Dansby Swanson just barely couldn’t make a play on. Just God Tier bizarre stuff. All night. All night.
Then a base hit scores the winning run by this much:
Sometimes baseball sucks.
For the first time IN HIS CAREER, Marcus Stroman was tonight asked to pitch on back-to-back days. You know it’s desperation time when the starting pitcher whose season was maybe over is instead coming back, with no rehab assignment, to pitch back-to-back nights out of the bullpen, including trying to close a game in the 10th. Stroman pitched well in the frame, giving up only a single, but that single scored the free runner, so the game marched on.
That means the entirety of extra innings for the Cubs was pitched by guys who were in their opening day rotation.
I used up a lot of my screaming about the top of the 10th in the moment, so I don’t have the energy here to express just how much I believe the Cubs got screwed. The short version is that Cody Bellinger got hit by a pitch on the hand, the ball bounced straight back to the pitcher. It was ruled that it hit the knob of his bat, and Bellinger was out. On replay, you could see the pitch hit and ripple his hand – which he was showing everyone on the field, by the way, completely with a red welt – but it was somehow not overturned. Instead of first and third with nobody out, the first out was in the books, and the runner at third did not end up scoring (to give the Cubs what would have been the winning run). Screw job of the highest order.
Which isn’t to say the Cubs didn’t shoot themselves in the foot plenty, as they have all week.
The Cubs, knowing that they cannot knock baserunners in anymore, have resorted to making sure all baserunners get thrown out. That’s what it seems like over the past week, anyway. More guys thrown out on the bases than big clutch hits.
To be fair-ish, the one that led to that joke was an Ian Happ steal that was overturned on replay by an eyelash. The Cubs also lost a late review at first base by an eyelash, and ALSO lost the COMPLETELY INCORRECT review on the Bellinger HBP in extra-innings, and ALSO lost a Bellinger two-run homer on a review that showed it was just foul. The Cubs were once again a combined five inches away from doing so much more damage.
… but the thing is, they were also facing Zach Davies tonight. They needed to make their own damages, inches or no inches. It was hours ago, but yes, the Cubs did have lots of chances to put up crooked numbers on Davies, and that’s primarily on them for not doing it.
It was a mostly standard Kyle Hendricks start tonight, albeit on the less-happy end of his usual spectrum. He kept things competitive, the harder contact started to come the second and third times through the order, and by the middle of the 6th inning, he was out, having allowed three runs and requiring Jose Cuas to come in and get out of a heart-stopping inning.
I think Nick Madrigal may have left with an injury at one point, because Miles Mastrobuoni replaced him in the field for one inning and then Patrick Wisdom took the next at bat. So that could be an issue.
David Ross opted to lose Pete Crow-Armstrong from center field in order to get Miguel Amaya an at bat (decent match-up, I get it), but then moved Christopher Morel to center field from the DH – losing the DH – instead of sending out Alexander Canario, who can play center field. So, in case you were wondering JUST HOW EXTREMELY Ross does not want to play Canario.
The Cubs were thrown out at first base by a quarter step approximately 800 times tonight, a record.
What else. What else. I don’t even know. I want to go throw up and then sleep.