I’m going to start at the end of the Cubs’ 15-4 loss to the Giants because why not?
Thirty-five players participated in this game, and one of them was Scott Effross, who threw the last inning and two-thirds. Since there were no position players left on the bench in the bottom of the ninth, Effross took the at-bat when his turn in the order came up. There were runners on first and third thanks to a walk and single.
Effross had six plate appearances in the minor leagues and went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts.
But in this one... he hit the ball a fairly long way! [VIDEO]
Alfonso Rivas scored the last run of the game, and Effross had his first MLB — and first professional — RBI. It was the first sacrifice fly by a Cubs pitcher since 2019 (Yu Darvish, May 31 that year in St. Louis), and first at Wrigley Field since Jon Lester did it May 18, 2017.
Yes, I know, you’re going to say, “But Al, you don’t want pitchers batting at all!” and you’d be right, but what else did we have today in this ridiculous loss?
The Cubs actually led this game 1-0 after one inning, thanks to a single by Rafael Ortega, double by Frank Schwindel and RBI single from Willson Contreras [VIDEO].
Zach Davies gave it back and more in the second inning, with a bunch of hits and walks and a three-run homer by Brandon Belt which you just knew was coming. That completed a five-run Giants inning and really, everyone could have just gone home then, since the Cubs managed only four total runs. (Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, though...)
Davies was removed after the second inning, thankfully. He is having one of the worst seasons ever for a Cubs starter, surprisingly only -0.2 bWAR (before this game, it’ll be lower after this awful outing). Personally, I’d just as soon not see him throw at all the rest of the season, the Cubs certainly already know what they’ve got there, and he won’t be back. Here’s an idea to replace him:
Green: RHP Keegan Thompson (right shoulder) threw a bullpen Friday with no issues. Will have one more mound workout before Cubs assess next step (potential activation from IL).— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 11, 2021
Well, there’s an idea. The Cubs have four more off days this month, they could easily skip Davies’ turns the rest of the way. What’s truly hard to believe is that he was ever as effective as he was in Milwaukee and San Diego.
Oh, yes, this game. Harrumph. I guess I should say a bit more about it. Adbert Alzolay relieved Davies and allowed a run in the third to make it 6-1 Giants.
The Cubs attempted a comeback in the third. Schwindel singled and Ian Happ tripled him in on this windblown ball [VIDEO].
Well... now you’re thinking “Maybe!” and after the Giants went out 1-2-3 in the fourth, it was still “Hmmm... maybe!”
In the bottom of the fourth, Jason Heyward had quite the busy plate appearance. First, he was called safe at first on a deep (like halfway into right field!) ground ball, upheld on review [VIDEO].
Kind of looked out to me, but okay. Then Heyward was called out on a pickoff, but that was overturned on review [VIDEO].
That one was a lot more clear. Two outs later, David Bote singled to short and Heyward alertly took third. However, Brandon Crawford inadvertently kneed Heyward in the head and J-Hey had to leave the game [VIDEO].
“He’s definitely going to be watched closely over the next 24 hours and find out where he’s at,” [Cubs bench coach Andy] Green said.
“I don’t think there’s a formal diagnosis at this point in time, but somebody we’re going to monitor very close and make sure J is doing OK.”
Indeed, hope he’s OK.
Manuel Rodriguez was the Cubs’ next pitcher and he put any thoughts of a comeback out of mind. Rodriguez faced five batters and all reached base, two on hits and three on walks, and all wound up scoring. The big blow in the inning: a three-run homer by our old buddy Tommy La Stella off Tommy Nance, a blast that hit the right-field video board. Six runs scored in all and the rout was on, 12-3 at that point.
From there, Dillon Maples threw two pretty good scoreless innings, but then Rex Brothers entered and started walking everyone in sight, just about, four walks issued in five batters faced. Two of them scored, and one more Giants run scored off Effross in the ninth to complete the San Francisco scoring.
A good Cubs performance: Frank Schwindel, who had three hits and is continuing to make a case to stick around in 2022. Fun fact:
Frank Schwindel has 16 hits in his past 8 games, and that includes a pair of 0-fers.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 11, 2021
It's the most in an 8-game span for a Cubs batter since Kris Bryant had 17 in an 8-game stretch from Aug. 18-26, 2016. (h/t @jsfeldman2)
Oh, yes, that Kris Bryant guy. He got more ovations from the Saturday crowd, and went 2-for-4 with a walk and a pair of runs in this game.
Cubs pitchers walked 11 in this game, which is... way too many. They threw 212 pitches, which is WAAAAAAY too many.
I realize this recap is a bit disjointed, but so was the game. Let me show you a couple of good Cubs defensive plays that happened before the game got out of hand.
After that it was all downhill. And, unfortunately, despite the wind blowing out pretty strongly, the Cubs failed to homer in Saturday’s game. That snapped a streak of at least one Cubs home run in 16 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in franchise history. (Longest: 17, from August 19 - September 5, 1998.)
Oh, and Caleb Baragar, Giants reliever, got a save in this game for throwing the last three innings.
That’s enough, I’d say, nearly 1,000 words on a blowout loss.
The Cubs will attempt to salvage one game of this three-game series as they wrap up the homestand Sunday afternoon, with David Ross back in the dugout managing. Justin Steele will start for the Cubs and Logan Webb is the scheduled starter for the Giants. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.