I’m going to go out on a limb here, and maybe I’m way off base, but hear me out.
In a way, I can see Joe Maddon’s thinking in sending a bullpen game out against Max Scherzer. Scherzer has dominated the Cubs in regular-season play. Including this game, Scherzer has given the Cubs five runs in 29 innings (1.55 ERA) over the last four times he’s faced them, with one walk and 39 strikeouts. Even with Cole Hamels facing them in the first game of a doubleheader, this game might have shaped up as a loss.
Remember that without David Bote’s walkoff slam, the previous Hamels/Scherzer matchup would have gone to Scherzer at Wrigley four weeks ago. Lose a Hamels/Scherzer matchup and you’re looking at possibly getting swept if you have to have this bullpen game in Game 2. Now there’s a pretty good chance that the Cubs can at least squeeze a split out of this doubleheader.
I’m reasonably certain you’d never get Joe to admit that kind of thinking, but it could have happened.
A few more thoughts about the Cubs’ 10-3 loss to the Nationals in Game 1 of their doubleheader Saturday:
- Jaime Garcia is the lefthanded version of Tyler Chatwood. This was a worthwhile chance to take on a signing; it just didn’t work.
- Meanwhile, Chatwood threw two innings in this game and hit a batter, issued two walks, threw a wild pitch and gave up an RBI single to Scherzer. Chatwood now has 95 walks this year. It’s likely he’ll lead the major leagues in walks even if he doesn’t throw another pitch — Lucas Giolito is second with 79, and Giolito is averaging just two walks per start over his last seven starts.
- Maybe the Cubs should have started Jorge De La Rosa; he threw three pretty good innings in relief and has been very good since he was acquired off the scrap heap. He’s got a shot at the postseason roster.
- Of the Nationals’ sixth inning, where the Cubs made two errors and a wild pitch was thrown and five Washington runs scored, it shall be mentioned here and then we shall never speak of it again.
- This play by Tommy La Stella [VIDEO] was pretty slick.
- The blowout allowed the Cubs to rest Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Willson Contreras for the last couple of innings.
- Congratulations to Terrance Gore on getting his first major-league hit, and off Scherzer, no less.
- Scherzer threw a complete game, the first against the Cubs this year, in fact, the first since Jacob deGrom threw one against them June 6, 2017.
About the second game, it’s entirely possible it might be interrupted by rain. So... once again, here’s the Washington-area radar.
Here are the particulars for Game 2.
I have not as of now heard a start time for the game, but I’m going to assume it’s going to be at 7:45 p.m. CT, since Game 1 ended at exactly 7 p.m. CT and it was stated earlier that Game 2 would be 45 minutes later. The first pitch thread will therefore post at 7:40 p.m. CT, 30 minutes from the time of this recap/preview.
Overflow threads will be at 8:45 CT, 9:45 CT and 10:30 CT... subject to change if it rains.
Lineups are not yet available for Game 2, please check the BCB Twitter feed for Game 2 lineups.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Jefry Rodriguez, RHP
We didn’t get the Cole Hamels vs. Max Scherzer matchup we wanted, but maybe this is better: Hamels vs. random Nationals pitcher.
Cole was named N.L. Pitcher of the Month for August and his performance since he put on the blue pinstripes has been just outstanding. It took him seven starts as a Cub before he gave up more than one run.
His start against the Nats August 12 at Wrigley Field might be one of his best — seven innings, one hit, one run, nine strikeouts. Current members of the Nats are hitting .212 (43-for-203) against him. The only Nat who’s had some success against him is Ryan Zimmerman (22-for-86, three home runs).
Jefry Rodriguez is making his 10th MLB appearance (eighth start). A couple of the starts have been good (including six shutout innings vs. the Mets August 26, but he’s been hit pretty hard in some of the others, including seven runs in 4⅔ innings last Sunday against the Pirates.
Rodriguez has been in the Nats system since 2012, never put up numbers that would make you think, “Hmm, this is a good prospect,” and never pitched above A ball until this year. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the active roster.
This game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Washington markets).
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Discuss amongst yourselves.