Heavy rain overnight faded into drizzly, cloudy skies in Chicago Wednesday afternoon, a hint of autumn to come, and after an exciting walkoff win in the suspended game from Tuesday night, the Cubs turned in a clunker of a 10-3 loss to the Mets in the regularly-scheduled game Wednesday, ending their seven-game winning streak. For the Mets, the 10 runs were just one fewer than they had scored in their previous six games combined.
This game was not without lessons, though! First, we found out that Alec Mills actually might be a decent fringe big-league starter. Sure, the results (five innings, four runs) weren’t great, but those runs were the result of one bad pitch, a fastball that Todd Frazier crushed into the left-field bleachers with the bases loaded in the first inning.
And really, the game was more or less over at that point. Mills settled down and threw four more innings reasonably well, allowing just two more hits and a walk after Frazier’s slam. What really hurt was walking Michael Conforto just before the slam. Mills struck out five, and honestly he’s thrown pretty well in the two starts and one relief appearance he’s made for the Cubs this season. He’s probably earned another start as the Cubs switch to a six-man rotation for the time being.
The other thing we learned in this game is that Brandon Kintzler is likely only going to throw in garbage time the rest of the year and is likely going to be left off any postseason roster. Kintzler was awful again, getting pounded for five hits in an inning and a third and, after Randy Rosario couldn’t quite get the third out in the seventh inning, those hits led to a four-run inning that pretty much put the game away for the Mets.
Kintzler as a Cub: 13 appearances, nine innings, 17 hits, six walks, nine earned runs (9.00 ERA, 2.556 WHIP), only five strikeouts. Yikes, that’s horrific.
The Cubs’ only run before the ninth was driven in by Ian Happ. Willson Contreras doubled leading off the second, went to third on a groundout by Mills and scored on Happ’s single. Contreras also singled in the ninth and scored on Victor Caratini’s first Wrigley Field homer [VIDEO] (he had one last year at Miller Park).
A quirky little thing about this game was that both teams were permitted a 26th man for the regularly scheduled game, since it was not known when the suspended game resumed how long it would take. Both 26th men pitched in the ninth, James Norwood for the Cubs (two runs, one earned due to his own error) and Jacob Rhame for the Mets (allowed Caratini’s home run).
Some amusement happened when Kyle Schwarber caught a fly ball for the first out of the seventh, then chased away a flock of pigeons [VIDEO] that were apparently having a snack on the field.
Got to find entertainment when the game isn’t really of interest, right?
The conclusion of the suspended game was certainly entertaining, after Jesse Chavez had gotten out of the top of the 11th with a line-drive double play.
Javier Baez worked an 0-2 count into a walk (nice work!) and when Caratini attempted a sacrifice, Mets pitcher Paul Sewald threw the ball in the general direction of Addison Street. The runners wound up on second and third, after which Schwarber was intentionally passed. Albert Almora Jr. struck out, but Ben Zobrist came through [VIDEO].
The two innings played of the suspended game took about 40 minutes, so the regular game started at 1:30 instead of 1:20, and quickly got us wishing it hadn’t started at all.
But the Cubs meatloafed the series and had a 6-1 homestand and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Hope the Cubs got all the bad play out of their system before the important road trip that begins Thursday night in Atlanta with a rainout-makeup game against the Braves. Another lesson learned, from the suspended game: Jesse Chavez is the pitcher the Cubs hoped Brandon Kintzler would be. He’s been a revelation and is almost certain to be on any postseason roster.
The Cubs will have to make a roster move before Thursday’s game, as Mike Montgomery is expected to be activated to make the start. The Braves will go with Mike Foltynewicz. Game time Thursday is 6:35 p.m. CT and TV coverage is on WGN (and also MLB Network outside the Chicago and Atlanta markets).