Truth be told, when the Cubs took a 5-0 lead in the second inning of Tuesday afternoon’s game against the Rockies at Coors Field, the first thing I thought was, “More! That’s not enough runs!”
Turned out it was enough runs, as the Cubs scored three in the fifth and two more in the eighth and won easily, crushing the Rockies 10-1.
Cole Hamels got in trouble in the first inning, loading the bases on two singles and a walk, but he got out of the frame with no runs scoring and then the Cubs offense got to work.
Carlos Gonzalez singled and Victor Caratini doubled him to third. Jason Heyward was the next hitter [VIDEO].
Heyward’s two-run single up the middle began the scoring for the Cubs. But they weren’t even close to being done in that inning. Hamels followed Heyward with another hit, sending J-Hey to second. After a fly ball by Addison Russell was the first out of the inning, Kyle Schwarber sent one in the general direction of Nebraska [VIDEO].
Kyle’s 14th of the year (and third in his last five games), a three-run shot, made it 5-0. And that ball was crushed!
#Cubs 5 @ #Rockies 0 [T2-1o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) June 12, 2019
Kyle Schwarber homers (14): fly ball to RCF (3-run)
Hit: 431.58ft, 107.9mph, 35.37°
Pitch: 94.2mph Four-Seam Fastball (RHP Antonio Senzatela, 11) pic.twitter.com/0ET0ckBpNO
Meanwhile, Hamels settled down, helped out by his defense. After a one-out single in the second by Tony Wolters, Rockies pitcher Antonio Senzatela attempted to bunt him along. Victor Caratini said no [VIDEO]!
Tremendous play by Victor, who has improved offensively and defensively this year. I’ve generally been in the “Cubs need a veteran backup” camp, but it seems to me that Caratini has settled well into the role of backing up Willson Contreras. Victor could start for a lot of teams, so the Cubs have two good catchers and that is a very good thing to have, I think.
In the third, Hamels hit Nolan Arenado with a pitch [VIDEO].
Arenado clearly wasn’t happy and I don’t blame him. Whether this was “retaliation” for the two times Kris Bryant got hit Tuesday night, I do not know. If it was, I’d really like this kind of thing to stop, especially since Arenado then left the game:
#Rockies say Nolan Arenado left today's game with a left forearm contusion.— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) June 12, 2019
Regardless of whether you want to see Arenado hit well against the Cubs (and as a Cubs fan you almost certainly don’t), it is not a good thing for the game when star players are injured on plays that don’t need to happen. I don’t know exactly how MLB could legislate against this, but they really have to, in my view.
In the fifth, the Cubs scored three more. Javier Baez reached on an error and Gonzalez hit a bloop double, sending Javy to third. Caratini walked to load the bases and the Rockies then replaced Senzatela with Jake McGee, who got Heyward to hit a foul popup.
After starting this season 0-for-21, Hamels went 2-for-3 in this game and drove in that pair of runs, making it 7-0. Caratini took third, where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Schwarber to make it 8-0.
That’s when Jim Deshaies said, “I’m not going to pull a Jim Rooker here, walk back to Chicago, but this lead is safe!”
If you are not familiar with the Jim Rooker story, he was a former Pirates pitcher who was a radio broadcaster for them in the 1980s and 1990s. The Pirates took a 10-0 lead over the Phillies in Philadelphia, in fact, 30 years ago this week, June 8, 1989, and Rooker said, “If the Pirates lose, I’ll walk back to Pittsburgh!” Well, of course they did lose, 15-11, and Rooker did do the walk, after the 1989 season, turning it into a charity walk that raised money for children’s hospitals in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Our friends at The Good Phight recently wrote up the whole story of this game and the walk, worth a read.
Hamels breezed through the next couple of innings, including a four-pitch seventh. He finished with seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts, leaving him two K’s short of 2,500 in his career. His next start should be Tuesday at Wrigley Field against the White Sox, so he can reach that milestone at home.
There was some more extracurricular activity regarding HBPs, including Hamels being hit in the seventh and Anthony Rizzo in the eighth, after which Rizzo took second AND third without a throw. (Both were scored as defensive indifference.) Seriously, this kind of thing HAS to stop. It’s childish. Fun fact, though, about Hamels’ afternoon at the plate:
The wonderful @baseball_ref play index data goes back to 1908.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 12, 2019
No #Cubs pitcher from 1908-present has had a game with 2+ hits, 2+ RBI and a hit by pitch.
Until Cole Hamels today.
Here is a visual representation of all the baseballs that have hit Rizzo in his career:
.@Cubs Anthony Rizzo has now been hit by 130 pitches in his career.... Here's the location of them all #Ouch pic.twitter.com/GsZtytF0Qc— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 12, 2019
And after Rizzo’s fun little trip over to third, Javy let him trot home [VIDEO].
Javy’s 17th of the year made it 10-0. It’s said that the ball carries better at Coors Field during day games and Javy and Kyle proved that Wednesday afternoon:
#Cubs longest HR of 2019— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 12, 2019
472' Rizzo 4/12 vs LAA
469' Bote 4/27 at ARI
467' Schwarber 6/4 vs COL
460' Báez just now at COL
460' Contreras 4/12 vs LAA
5 different Cubs going 460'+ this season.
Kyle Ryan threw a scoreless eighth. In the ninth, Brad Brach continued the HBP nonsense by hitting Tony Wolters, who repeated Rizzo’s trip to third by taking both second and third uncontested. So I guess that’s all even-up now. Wolters scored on an infield out, preventing the Cubs from breaking this drought:
This is the 104th game the #Cubs have played in Denver.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 12, 2019
12 at Mile High Stadium, 92 at Coors Field.
They have allowed everywhere from 1 to 15 runs in a game, as well as 17
But they have never allowed 0.
Still haven’t. Maybe next year. The Rockies have been shut out three times in 2019, all on the road.
Five Cubs (Baez, Heyward, Caratini, Gonzalez and Hamels) had two hits in this game, leading a 12-hit, five-walk attack. It was the Cubs’ ninth game this year scoring 10 or more runs.
So, pending the result of the Brewers/Astros game Wednesday evening, the Cubs and Brewers stand tied for first place, and the Cubs could move half a game ahead if the Astros win again. The Cubs wind up splitting the season series with the Rockies, three games each, and let’s be real: The Rockies are a good team and they match up pretty well with the Cubs. There’s a chance we’ll see them again this October.
The Cubs now head for one of their toughest tests of 2019, a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. L.A. has lost four of their last six, so maybe this is a good time to play them. Jon Lester will be on the mound for the Cubs Thursday night in the first of that series against L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw . Game time Thursday is 9:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago Plus.