What an odd, strange little baseball game.
At one point on the TV broadcast Jim Deshaies asked if there were a full moon Thursday evening (nope — it happens very late tonight) because so many goofy things occurred:
- The Cubs scored a run in the first inning on an error, but then...
- Jonathan Villar didn’t go all out from third base on a fly ball to right and Seiya Suzuki was caught way off first base and doubled off to end the third inning just, and I mean just, before Villar touched the plate. Here’s the play [VIDEO].
It’s really hard to tell on that clip, but one of the angles appear to show Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron touching the base just before Villar’s foot touches the plate.
But wait, there’s more weirdness!
- Patrick Wisdom clearly fouled a ball off his foot, but plate umpire Marty Foster called it a fair ball and Wisdom was thrown out to end the fourth inning;
- Suzuki and Nick Madrigal got their signals crossed and a catchable ball dropped untouched between them (fortunately, no damage).
- The Cubs recorded a force play at third base on what should have been a clean single to left by Kris Bryant.
And all of that happened in the first five innings!
Fortunately, things settled down after that and the Cubs won the first game of the series against the Rockies 5-2.
The Cubs didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the first inning. After Clint Frazier began the game with a ground out, three straight singles made it 1-0 Cubs, the third of those hits by Frank Schwindel [VIDEO].
Suzuki extended his hitting streak to six games with that single.
Steele ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth and was removed for Ethan Roberts, who got the aforementioned (there’s a lot of aforementioning going on in this one!) force play at third but then allowed an RBI single to Cron that made it 3-1. But in general, Steele threw well for the second straight start, a really good sign:
50 of Justin Steele's 52 pitches through three innings have been four-seamers or sliders. It's working so far. His three zeros pushes his career-high scoreless streak to 15 frames, dating back to last season.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 15, 2022
Steele’s scoreless streak ended on Cron’s single, but that wasn’t his fault. Roberts then walked a pair, forcing in a second run. Keegan Thompson relieved Roberts and ended the inning on three pitches. Then Thompson wound up throwing three more strong innings, an excellent outing. The 44 pitches he threw definitely takes Thompson out of the mix for starting Saturday’s game. (I suppose, if the Cubs wanted to, they could drop Thompson’s suspension appeal now and let him sit out the next three games as he’s probably not going to pitch during that time anyway. JD mentioned this as a possibility during the broadcast.)
The Cubs promptly got those two runs back, first courtesy of Schwindel leading off the sixth [VIDEO].
It was Frank the Tank’s first homer of the season. More on Frank:
Frank Schwindel goes oppo for a solo shot. His first extra-base hit of the season. Talked to him before the game and he said he's got some slight mechanical issues, but he's really just trying to find his timing after missing a chunk of the spring with back tightness.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) April 15, 2022
After a double by Yan Gomes and walk drawn by Michael Hermosillo, Ian Happ restored the three-run lead at 5-2 [VIDEO].
Mychal Givens was given the save opportunity and allowed a one-out single to Kris Bryant, but struck out Brendan Rodgers to end it for his first Cubs save. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
KB went 2-for-5 overall, but wasn’t really a factor in this game. He did get quite a bit of attention from both Chicago and Denver media before the game:
There was quite a gathering at Kris Bryant's locker in the Rockies clubhouse pregame, prompting him at one point to say, with a smile: “I enjoyed my time in Chicago, but I don’t know if it warrants a press conference every time I play them.”— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 15, 2022
And this quip came out of that press conference:
Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant on the section of the new CBA inspired by his service-time manipulation case against the Cubs:— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) April 15, 2022
“I’m just a little disappointed they didn’t name a rule after me. I mean, Ohtani got his rule. I didn’t get a rule.”
More on KB from his former teammate and manager David Ross:
Fun Kris Bryant story from David Ross, who had 106 career homers in the big leagues. On Sept. 28, 2018, Bryant hit his 107th career homer… pic.twitter.com/vK8yln5e70— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 15, 2022
The second game of this four-game set will take place Friday evening. Marcus Stroman will go for the Cubs and Germán Márquez will start for the Rockies. Game time is again 7:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.