Wednesday night’s 3-0 Cubs loss to the Diamondbacks really has to be placed in the “tip your cap to the other guy” bin, because otherwise, how can you explain a team scoring 16 runs one night going almost completely offensively impotent the next?
Because baseball, I suppose.
Zack Godley, who was the Cubs’ 10th-round pick in the 2013 draft and who was sent to Arizona in the Miguel Montero trade, was dealing all night, as were his bullpen compatriots.
A leadoff single by Ben Zobrist in the first inning. A beautiful bunt single by Kyle Schwarber in the second:
Kyle Schwarber with the bunt hit. pic.twitter.com/YR4CKa7795— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) August 3, 2017
And one out later, a single by Addison Russell.
That, and two walks in the third inning, was the sum total of the Cubs’ offense. After Anthony Rizzo walked with one out in the third, the next 19 Cubs went down in order. A couple of fly balls were hit that might have gone out of the park on another night, but baseballs were simply not carrying in the heavy air with the wind blowing in.
Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta was dealing just as well as Godley. He allowed just a single and a walk through five innings, helped in part by this fine play [VIDEO] by Ben Zobrist in the first inning.
Then in the sixth, after a one-out single by David Peralta, Addison Russell bounced in a throw on a ground ball by A.J. Pollock as Peralta took off for second.
Instead of there being two out and a runner on second, the D-backs had runners on first and third with one out, and Jake Lamb doubled them both in with a ball that hugged the first-base line, just fair.
Jake finished seven innings; one of the two runs he allowed was unearned due to Russell’s error. He struck out eight and it was one of his best outings of the season. Here’s what Joe Maddon said about Arrieta’s effort:
Manager Joe Maddon said after the loss it was "pretty reminiscent" of the 2015 Jake. When I asked him beforehand if a 2015 repeat was possible he said it was "tough to imagine" anyone doing it again.
"That was a unique situation," he said. "I don't even look for that quite frankly. That was so surreal in a sense, the way he nailed that whole thing down.
"But anything close to that is still spectacular. He's trending in the right direction. Why? Because he knows where the fastball is going."
Maddon said fastball command allows Arrieta to last longer in games and takes a lot of stress off the bullpen.
And Arrieta’s command did just that. Most times when a starter delivers a performance like that, it will result in a win. But you can’t win if you don’t score any runs. I do know this: If the Cubs get performances like that from Jake the rest of this season, they are going to win almost all of the games he starts.
The Cubs debuts of Alex Avila and Justin Wilson, unfortunately, were not all that good. Avila went 0-for-2 before Willson Contreras batted for him in the seventh, and Pollock stole second base against him. Wilson entered in relief of Arrieta and walked the first man he faced, Peralta, who scored on another double by Lamb.
Cubs PA announcer Andrew Belleson pronounced Avila’s name “AH-vil-la.” According to this Detroit Free Press article, that’s not correct:
When Detroit Tigers fans are talking about catcher Alex Avila, they pronounce his last name "a-VEE-la."
And that's correct, according to the pronunciation guide at baseball-reference.com.
That’s the way I’ve always heard Avila’s name, too. And that 2015 article concluded:
Update: The Tigers told media members Wednesday night that "a-VEE-la" is the correct pronunciation.
Anyway, that’s what kind of game this was — nothing much to say regarding the Cubs, so instead you get a pronunciation guide. It rained a bit off and on in the late innings, though not hard enough to stop play.
Rain could be an issue for Thursday afternoon’s game, though, according to this forecast. The Cubs seek the series win with Jose Quintana on the mound. Zack Greinke goes for the D-backs. The game preview will post at 11:30 a.m. CT, and a reminder that Heroes & Goats will resume tomorrow with a summary of both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games.