You didn't expect Javier Baez to hit a home run every day and lead the Cubs to victory, did you?
Baez went 0-for-4 (and trust me, at least early in his big-league career there are going to be a lot of those), but it certainly wasn't his fault that the Cubs lost 13-4 to the Rockies Wednesday night, the third time this year they'd allowed that many runs in a game.
Jake Arrieta gave up nine of the runs, and maybe pitching in Coors Field just isn't his thing. It was Arrieta's worst outing of the year, and in fact, worst of his Cubs career. He allowed 13 hits and nine of the runs in somehow managing to complete the fifth inning. The only positive thing that can be said is that Arrieta didn't walk anyone, but that was because the Rockies were pounding the ball all over Coors Field. Despite the horrid outing, Arrieta's season ERA still stands at a reasonable 2.80 (ERA+ of 139).
It didn't start that way, either. The Cubs got a quick run in the first inning thanks to the hot-hitting Chris Coghlan, who led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. Coghlan, after a slow start, has been a revelation. His defense in left field is still sketchy at times, but since July 1 he's been one of the hottest hitters in the league, batting .402/.479/.667 with 13 doubles, a triple and four home runs in 102 at-bats. He's also walked 15 times and struck out just 14 in that span. Overall he now has an OPS of .880 (141 OPS+) in 205 at-bats, his best performance since he was National League Rookie of the Year in 2009. Keep up that kind of hitting and a place somewhere in the 2015 outfield will be saved for him. Turns out I might have been wrong about Coghlan. If so, credit to Theo & Co. for getting someone good on a dumpster dive.
Arismendy Alcantara, dropped to sixth in the lineup, made it 3-0 with his third homer, a two-run shot, off Jordan Lyles in the fourth.
All good so far, right?
Not so good when the Rockies started pounding Arrieta. They tied the game with a three-run fourth, but the Cubs took a 4-3 lead when Ryan Sweeney led off the fifth with a single and scored on a Coghlan double.
The carnage of the Rockies' six-run fifth off Arrieta is best left unsaid here, I think. Kyuji Fujikawa threw a scoreless sixth, which is a good thing, though his velocity still wasn't what you'd like to see. He'll get more opportunities to show he can be a useful part of the 2015 bullpen, though the Cubs certainly won't pick up his $5.5 million team option.
Chris Rusin, who's been designated the "take one for the team" guy this year, finally got into a game, only to allow the Rockies' final four runs. When Neil Ramirez is activated from the disabled list -- he's eligible soon -- Rusin could head back to Iowa.
Back to Baez for a moment. The 0-for-4 isn't all bad, because it included no strikeouts. However, the first two of those at-bats saw him jumping on the first pitch he saw. Maybe those were good, hittable pitches, but I'd think Baez would want to see as many big-league pitches as possible, to accustom himself to what he'll be seeing in the future. Two games isn't enough to judge anyone, so I'll reserve any judgment for a while. Baez did look fine in the field, helping turn three double plays (and it's scary that the Rockies scored so many runs while hitting into that many DP).
The Cubs still have a chance to win this road series -- that'd make two in a row and a winning trip, which would be the first one this year -- with a victory in Thursday's afternoon contest, the season finale. The game is at 2:10 CT with Kyle Hendricks facing Yohan Flande. The game preview will post at 12 noon CT.