The Cubs defeated the Mets 4-3 in 10 innings Thursday evening, sweeping the three-game series and getting back to the .500 mark, but not before this game included some very odd decisions and the Cubs squandered some opportunities.
The Cubs took the lead in the third inning playing small ball as they did early in Wednesday’s contest. Jake Marisnick walked with one out. Trevor Williams, who usually would try to bunt in that situation, instead drew a four-pitch walk. After Ian Happ hit a fly to right that advanced Marisnick to third, Willson Contreras made it 1-0 [VIDEO].
Not pretty, but a run is a run, right? Williams took third on the play, and both runners scored courtesy of Kris Bryant [VIDEO].
That ball hit the wall just under the basket, missing a home run by just a few feet.
And for those of you who think Bryant isn’t “clutch,” think again. He’s having a very good year that is absolutely up to his pre-2020 standards.
The Mets made it 3-2 off Williams in the fourth. Dominic Smith singled and Pete Alonso hit yet another long home run (413 feet). Williams was removed for pinch-hitter Nico Hoerner in the fifth (and Nico got a loud ovation when announced), and overall produced a pretty good outing, five innings, two runs, six strikeouts.
Sean Reid-Foley, who had just been recalled by the Mets from their alternate site, entered to throw the fourth inning. He retired all nine Cubs he faced. Meanwhile, the Mets tied the game. Jason Adam had relieved Williams and hit Jonathan Villar with the first pitch he threw. After wasting a whole bunch of time trying to hold Villar on base, Adam gave up a one-out double to pinch-hitter J.D. Davis that made it 3-3.
Now let’s talk about some of the questionable decision-making in this game.
Javier Baez led off the seventh with a bloop that fell among three Mets fielders in short right field. Then this happened [VIDEO].
Baez might have been able to make second base while that ball was dropping — and then he nearly got thrown out at first, after making the turn toward second. He was, in fact, called out on the field by Joe West, but the call was overturned on review.
David Ross, in his postgame comments, said he’d spoken to Javy about this play. That’s good enough for me; hopefully, this sort of thing won’t be repeated. It’s been suggested by some that Baez should have been pulled from the game (couldn’t, really, after Hoerner had already appeared) or benched today. That’s really counterproductive, I think. I’m pretty sure Baez knows he did something wrong and it’s been addresed.
In any case, Javy was erased on a double-play ball by Matt Duffy and David Bote struck out and the game went to the eighth still 3-3.
Andrew Chafin, who had relieved Adam in the seventh, threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Marisnick led off the bottom of the inning with a triple, but was stranded.
Craig Kimbrel entered to throw the ninth with the game still tied. He dominated, retiring the Mets on just seven pitches, but despite another leadoff hit (single by Bryant), the Cubs could not score in the ninth and the game went to extras.
Here’s questionable decision No. 2. Why wasn’t Kimbrel sent out to throw the 10th, after just seven pitches in the ninth? The only possible justification, given the small number of pitches he threw in the ninth, would be that Kimbrel himself asked not to go back out there. Ross didn’t address this in his postgame remarks [VIDEO].
Instead, Dan Winkler took the mound, and immediately gave the Cubs trouble. His first pitch sailed to the backstop, putting the placed runner on third. He eventually struck out Jeff McNeil, but then walked the bases loaded.
So the Cubs went to the bottom of the 10th with Javy as the placed runner. Duffy was hit by a pitch and Bote sacrificed the runners to second and third. That’s the right call in the bottom of an extra inning with the game still tied — even though that was the very first sacrifice bunt attempt of Bote’s major-league career.
Eric Sogard was sent up to bat for Marisnick and was intentionally passed to load the bases.
Jason Heyward, who hadn’t started two straight games vs. LH starters, was sent up to pinch-hit for Winkler.
Not pretty, but a win is a win, and the Cubs get their first series sweep of 2021, and generally (apart from the few complaints noted here) look good doing it.
So, now the Brewers come to town again, for the second time this month, and the Cubs face them for the third time overall in April 2021. (As I noted Thursday, thanks, schedule-makers.) Kyle Hendricks, who hasn’t thrown well in two of his three starts this season, gets the start for the Cubs. Brett Anderson will start for the Brewers. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network, and also on MLB Network outside the Cubs and Brewers market territories.