Seventeen games into what has not started out as a good season for the Chicago Cubs, we saw a glimpse of the offensive prowess this team can produce, helped along by some bad pitching and questionable defense by the New York Mets.
The Cubs smashed the Mets 16-4 on yet another frigid night at Wrigley Field and the offense was varied enough that the North Siders scored their first 10 runs without hitting a home run.
Things didn’t start out that way. Francisco Lindor hit Zach Davies’ sixth pitch of the game into the right-field bleachers for a 1-0 Mets lead. The Mets pushed across another run in the third on an RBI single by J.D. Davis off Davies. Meanwhile, David Peterson held the Cubs hitless through three, allowing just a leadoff walk in the second by Anthony Rizzo.
Davies got through a scoreless top of the fourth and then the Cubs got to work. Three straight singles by Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant and Rizzo produced one run [VIDEO].
An error on Davis loaded the bases, and Peterson walked Matt Duffy to tie the game. David Bote batted next [VIDEO].
In the video clip, you can see Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil try to fake out Cubs baserunners by pretending he was going to catch that ball. No one was fooled and the Cubs took a 4-2 lead. A groundout by Jake Marisnick made it 5-2, and then Eric Sogard batted for Davies [VIDEO].
That made it 6-2, and Sogard took second on the throw in, where he scored on yet another Mets error, this one an uncharacteristic one by Lindor [VIDEO].
The seven-run inning was the Cubs’ biggest of the year so far, and it appeared they’d be cruising... whoops, a single by Lindor and a long, long home run by Pete Alonso off Rex Brothers brought the Mets back to within three at 7-4. Here’s an estimate of the distance of Alonso’s homer from someone I trust with those sorts of things:
Ball landed between the curb and crosswalk ... so between 425-440. Corner of building is 451. ;)— BALLHAWK.NET (@Super_Dave) April 22, 2021
The Cubs brought the bats back out in the fifth. Contreras led off with a double, Kris Bryant walked and one out later, there was suddenly a replay review called for on a pitch to Javier Baez [VIDEO].
Right away, you can see Javy ask plate umpire Bruce Dreckman about catcher interference, and he signaled to the dugout to let David Ross and the coaching staff know. They called for a review, and the call was overturned, with Baez reaching base.
You can hear fans chanting, “Duffy! Duffy!” Duffy had scuffled much of the year, but went 3-for-4 with a walk in this game.
Now it’s 9-4 and a fielder’s choice by David Bote made it 10-4. Ten runs with no home runs, taking advantage of Mets miscues and walks, among other offensive variety. This was really good to see.
Not wanting to let a good home run opportunity go, Baez batted with the bases loaded on walks and one out in the sixth [VIDEO].
That was a no-doubter:
Alec Mills came into the game in the sixth and really helped save the bullpen. Mills threw three scoreless innings, allowing just a leadoff single in the seventh. He did this very efficiently, getting nine outs on only 27 pitches. Mills also had three at-bats as a relief pitcher. This is rarer than you think. The last Cubs relief pitcher who had three AB in a game before Wednesday was Scott Sanders (not Scott Sanderson, this is a different guy), July 20, 1999 against the Royals.
The Mets waved the white flag by sending position player Luis Guillorme out to pitch in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs scored two runs off Guillorme, but I’m not going to pile on by showing you those. Instead, I’m going to show you Javy batting lefthanded against the Mets infielder [VIDEO].
Baez got himself a good swing on a 70 mile per hour “fastball” and flied out almost to the warning track. It was his third career lefthanded at-bat; he’s 1-for-3 (a double).
Now the complaint department door is open, just a bit, for Shelby Miller’s appearance in the ninth inning. Oh, sure, he got out of the inning and finished things up for his first scoreless outing of the season, but he allowed two hits and threw nearly as many pitches (25) in one inning as Mills had in three. When Adbert Alzolay is activated to start Saturday’s game against the Brewers, I’d think Miller will be the one to head out.
Apart from that, this was a good win in every way. The Cubs had lots of timely hits that weren’t home runs, drew eight walks and took advantage of the Mets’ awful defense — the Mets really are an atrociously bad defensive team. And as a good friend of mine who is a Mets fan pointed out to me late Wednesday, the Mets have now lost 39 of their last 54 games at Wrigley Field.
I’ll just say: Let’s make that 40 of 55 tonight.
And this game’s scorecard is worth sharing with you (click here for a larger version):
The Cubs have now won just their second series of 2021, and have a chance at their first series sweep Thursday evening. The win also jumped the Cubs ahead of the Pirates and Cardinals into third place in the NL Central.
Trevor Williams gets the start for the Cubs Thursday evening. The Cubs get a break, as Jacob deGrom was originally scheduled for this game, but got his start pushed back so that he can face the Nationals at Citi Field on Friday. Instead, Joey Lucchesi will start for the Mets. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.