The Cubs hit three home runs Monday evening and Yu Darvish had another solid outing, and so they won... oh, wait, no they didn’t.
You can never have enough runs in Coors Field, especially as the visiting team. The Cubs proved that old adage true Monday evening, blowing a 4-0 lead and losing the first game of their series to the Rockies 6-5.
This game started off scoreless for the first two innings, which is somewhat noteworthy in itself. Darvish got through the first inning on just seven pitches.
Then the Cubs bats came alive in the top of the third. Colorado native David Bote homered and Kyle Schwarber went back-to-back on the next pitch for a 2-0 lead. Kris Bryant walked and then Anthony Rizzo followed with a home run of his own to make it 4-0. Here are the three Cubs long balls [VIDEO].
On the TV broadcast, Jim Deshaies asked, “What’s the conversion factor for a 4-0 lead here?” His point: four runs doesn’t mean as much in Coors Field as in other ballparks, and he’s right. JD and Len Kasper agreed that 4-0 there in the third inning means about as much as 2-0 elsewhere.
Darvish went on to prove him right, as the Rockies tied the game with a pair of two-run homers in the bottom of the inning (Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado).
4-4 in the fourth in Denver sometimes indicates you’re going to be seeing one of those 13-12 games, but Darvish and German Marquez settled down. Both pitchers completed six innings before being lifted for pinch hitters. Darvish, I thought, threw very well despite allowing the four runs and two homers. He didn’t walk anyone and threw just 83 pitches (63 strikes). This should serve him well in his upcoming start at Dodger Stadium Saturday. More on Darvish:
Yu Darvish this season— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 11, 2019
First 8 starts: 36.2 IP 33 BB 44 K
Last 6 starts: 35.2 IP 11 BB 37 K
Man, how perception is reality, My timeline filled with Yu criticism. He just threw the same game as Lester from 2 nights ago. 4 runs in 6 innings. AT COORS FIELD. Ok, he blew a 4-0 lead. Lester had the Cubs down 4-0 before they batted. Same diff. Do the other 5 shutout count?— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 11, 2019
I mentioned pinch hitters. Daniel Descalso batted for Darvish. He made an out. You are likely not surprised by this.
Ian Desmond batted for Marquez. The result was decidedly different, a home run that was last seen headed for Wyoming:
Mike Montgomery was probably the right choice to replace Darvish, as he had not pitched in five days. On the other hand, he was probably exactly the wrong choice to pitch in Coors Field:
Every pitcher is trouble at Coors, but this park is especially brutal for curveball specialist/contact pitcher in Montgomery. Joe also needs to stop thinking he's a vs lefties guy- he's not. We have to keep going through this. He's an even splits guy.— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) June 11, 2019
Three longest home runs in MLB this season— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 11, 2019
486' tonight Ian Desmond off Mike Montgomery
482' March 28 Nomar Mazara off Mike Montgomery
482' June 2 Ketel Marte off Steven Matz
The Cubs, though, managed to tie the score at 5. Bryant walked leading off the eighth and Rizzo singled. Javier Baez was next [VIDEO].
With just one out and a runner on first, the Cubs still had a shot at taking the lead, but Carlos Gonzalez and Victor Caratini struck out to end the inning.
Earlier, in his first at-bat on his return to Coors Field as a visiting player, CarGo received a nice ovation:
Unfortunately, a double by Daniel Murphy and single by Ryan McMahon off Steve Cishek produced the eventual winning run for the Rockies in the bottom of the eighth.
Again, maybe a guy who throws like Cishek does isn’t quite the right choice for Coors Field. Including Monday’s game, he has a 6.75 career ERA there, his worst at any park where he has more than two appearances.
The Cubs could not score off old friend Wade Davis, with Schwarber looking at strike three right down the middle, and that was that.
This is noteworthy:
#Cubs are 9-6 (.600) when hitting 3 or more HR this season, which is pretty bad. League average when hitting 3+ HR is in the neighborhood of .775— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 11, 2019
This is interesting:
Given that most starting pitchers pre-1908 finished what they began (and thus got decisions), this is probably now an all-time Cubs franchise record. The MLB record is 10 straight starts without a decision (excluding “openers” who have been used as “starters” over the last two seasons), set by Dick Stigman in 1965 and tied by John D’Acquisto and Randy Lerch in 1977.
The loss dropped the Cubs out of first place, half a game behind the Brewers. They will try to regain the top spot Tuesday night in the second of the three-game series in Denver. Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs and Peter Lambert will go for the Rockies in a rematch of last Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field. Game time is again 7:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via WGN.