I want you to look closely at the photo at the top of this recap.
In it, you can clearly see Ryan Sweeney's hand touching third base, and David Wright's glove not touching Sweeney. Third base umpire Manny Gonzalez -- who is in his first full major-league season -- appears to be in proper position to call this play.
But he got it wrong. Loud boos came from the portions of Wrigley Field that could see the replay of this mistake on monitors below the upper and lower deck roofs. Gonzalez blew the call. Here's yet another reason we need replay review -- it was that obvious, and could have been overturned within a minute or so. (Frankly, I was surprised Dale Sveum didn't make even a token appearance on the field to protest this obviously wrong call.)
Instead of having a runner on third and nobody out in the fourth inning of a scoreless tie, the Cubs had nobody on and one out. Now, you can make a legitimate argument that Sweeney should have just been happy enough with a double down the right-field line and stayed there, already in scoring position. The Cubs might have had a decent-sized inning and chased Dillon Gee from the game. It didn't happen, as the next two hitters were easy outs. We'll never know what might have happened to Sweeney if he'd been on base, as he properly should have been.
But seriously, MLB. Get the calls right. This isn't that difficult.
The Cubs fashioned a 2-0 lead on a home run by Travis Wood. Wood's a good hitter. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have the DH -- Wood's the exception, rather than the rule, for a pitcher. His two-run shot (his second Cubs homer, after one last year, and fourth of his career) made Waveland Avenue; it was crushed. Sweeney sort of made up for his baserunning mistake by homering in the sixth, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead that Wood came oh-so-close to preserving.
I dunno. I can't really argue that much with Sveum's decision to let Wood stay in the game to fave Juan Lagares, the last guy on the Mets' bench who started in center field Sunday, Lagares had doubled earlier and grounded out, but came into the game hitting .139 (5-for-36). Probably the last thing anyone expected -- even Mets fans -- was for Lagares to smash his first major-league home run into the left-center field bleachers. Lagares didn't hit for much power in the minor leagues -- 31 home runs in 2,400 minor-league at-bats.
It makes little sense. But then, things like this seem to happen to the Cubs all the time.
Even after that, the game was still tied. The only thing I'll say about Scott Hairston's pinch-hitting appearance, in which he flied routinely to left field, is that I might have left Wood in to hit for himself, even though it was clear he was coming out of the game. Maybe he'd have done better.
Kyuji Fujikawa, who's been pretty good since he returned from the DL, wasn't. The first batter he faced, Daniel Murphy, homered; again, this isn't really a power hitter doing that. Murphy had two home runs coming into this series; now he has four. Wrigley Field is his favorite home run park outside of New York; he's got four career homers at Wrigley in 42 career at-bats at the Cubs' home. Maybe the Cubs should look into acquiring Murphy, who's been the starting 2B for the Mets but can play multiple positions.
Carlos Marmol threw an effective inning, although he gave up a single. He struck out the first two batters he faced on six pitches, and Ruben Tejada, who singled, was caught stealing. Unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't do anything with Mets closer Bobby Parnell, and thus, their chance to win their third straight series was ended with a 4-3 defeat, dropping the team record in one-run games to 6-10. It was another gorgeous weather day, but I'd have traded that -- mostly -- for a win.
After the game, we learned what's going to happen to the roster when Matt Garza returns Tuesday:
#Cubs to DFA Michael Bowden to make room for Garza. Tough call. Bowden has outpitched some others in pen.— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) May 19, 2013
Bowden had, as Bruce notes, pitched all right. The Cubs will hope he clears waivers so they can send him to Iowa, or possibly, someone will be interested in trading for him.
The Cubs will take Monday off before opening a three-game series at Pittsburgh Tuesday night. This means we've got 48 hours until the next game; there will be plenty here the next couple of days to discuss, so don't go away!