These are the kinds of games that would make me tear the hair off my head, if I had any.
The Cubs had only three hits off six Rockies pitchers Friday afternoon. But they had baserunners galore: nine walks and three hit batters made for Cubs runners all over the ballpark. And in general, that’s where they stayed: 11 men left on base, 1-for-11 with RISP, and leaving the bases loaded twice produced a frustrating 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Rockies.
The ninth inning was the worst, so let’s start with that. Rockies closer Greg Holland has been lights-out all year. He had walked only eight hitters all season of the 83 he’d faced coming into Friday’s game. He hadn’t walked three in an outing in more than two years — 65 appearances ago.
And so what does he do? Walk the bases full of Cubs with one out in the ninth. That put the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base with Ben Zobrist due up.
Holland, at this point, has thrown 21 pitches, a season high. He’s thrown 13 balls and eight strikes.
So what does Zobrist do? Swings at the first pitch and pops it into short left field.
Grrrr. Then Holland struck out Jason Heyward to end it.
I think Zobrist has to at least take one pitch, make a guy who doesn’t appear to have command give him a better pitch to hit. Gameday says that pitch was a four-seamer, and Holland wasn’t doing well with command with either his fastball or slider.
Obviously, this wasn’t the only reason the Cubs lost this game but they certainly had an excellent opportunity against the guy who’s been the game’s best closer this year.
The Cubs actually took a 2-0 lead in this game when with two out in the first, Anthony Rizzo walked and Zobrist singled. That brought Heyward to the plate [VIDEO].
Heyward’s single scored one run and when Charlie Blackmon briefly fumbled the ball, Zobrist also scored.
As has been the case so often this year, that Cubs lead barely lasted five minutes. Mike Montgomery served up a two-run homer to Ryan Hanigan. It stayed 2-2 through four, when Montgomery left for pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. after throwing 73 pitches. Again, Montgomery didn’t have good command, issuing three walks, otherwise maybe Joe Maddon lets him throw another inning.
Seth Frankoff then made his major-league debut. It did not go well. The first big-league hitter he faced was former Cub Chris Rusin, who singled. Blackmon followed with a home run to make it 4-2. Frankoff finished two innings, allowing four hits and the two runs. I honestly don’t see anything special with him — he barely touched 90 with most of his fastballs, peaking at 91. I imagine he was brought up simply to piggyback with Montgomery and hope for the best. After his two innings and 37 pitches, he’s likely headed back to Iowa and I suspect Pierce Johnson might be back to fill the last spot in the pen.
The Cubs scored a run in the fifth to close to within 4-3. The inning started better than it ended, with a walk and a single by Kris Bryant and Rizzo, respectively, but Zobrist got Bryant hung up in a rundown between third and home where he was tagged out. Heyward beat a relay throw to first on a possible double-play ball to score the run, which the Cubs gave back two innings later when Carl Edwards Jr. hit pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia, who then stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Willson Contreras. CJ struck out the next two hitters and had a 2-2 count on Nolan Arenado when Arenado singled in the Rockies’ fifth run.
Worth looking at is Contreras’ throw nailing Ian Desmond trying to steal second to end the eighth inning [VIDEO].
The review crew ruled that “call stands.”
I honestly don’t know what else to say about this one. The weather was beautiful and Wrigley Field was packed and granted, the Rockies are a very good team but this was a winnable game. The Cubs had baserunners everywhere and in scoring position in the first, third, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings. They cashed in on a couple of those chances (first and fifth), but the others... grrrrr again.
The nine walks, for whatever it’s worth, give the Cubs 243 for the season and, pending Friday night’s action, the league lead over the Dodgers by 11. That’s an average of 4.05 per game and a pace for 656, which would tie the franchise record set last year.
And that doesn’t really mean anything unless you can actually get some of those baserunners to score runs.
A depressing fact about this game:
Most times held to 3 or fewer hits this season— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 9, 2017
5 Six teams tied
A depressing fact about Kyle Schwarber, who went 0-for-3 with a walk in this one:
From May 18th to present, 448 different players have at least one single.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 9, 2017
But not Kyle Schwarber. He still hasn't singled since May 17th.
The Cubs drop to .500 at 30-30 and will need to win the last two games of this series just to split it. Former Rockies pitcher Eddie Butler will go for the Cubs Saturday against Colorado’s Jeff Hoffman.