Patrick Wisdom’s game-winning home run Tuesday evening flew directly over my head. Here, have a look [VIDEO].
That’s me in the gray T-shirt turning around as the ball bounced high off the back concourse of the left-field bleachers. It briefly grazed the son of some friends of mine who were at the game, hit him in the side of the head. He’s okay — and while he didn’t get the home run ball, he did get a Wisdom autographed ball, so all’s well.
The Cubs thus won the game 8-7, just their second home win in their last eight tries at Wrigley Field.
Now let’s rewind to the beginning of this entertaining, back-and-forth game.
After Justin Steele threw a scoreless first, Willson Contreras gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead [VIDEO].
Steele threw a scoreless second but then got in trouble in the third. Three Brewers runs scored, with the big blow being a two-run double by Tyrone Taylor. As has so often been the case for Steele, he caused his own downfall in part by walks, three of them in the first three innings. This game dragged in part because of those, in part because Steele and Brewers starter Eric Lauer work ... very ... slowly. This is exactly the sort of game I would submit as evidence we need the pitch clock, because it took almost two hours to play four innings and there were 259 pitches thrown through the first five (!).
Anyway, the Cubs tied up the game in the fourth. Clint Frazier hit a one-out double and one out later, Andrelton Simmons drove him in [VIDEO].
You know, I have been critical of Simmons, but it’s clear to me that he is still not 100 percent. His shoulder was an issue from the beginning of Spring Training, and you can tell it’s still bothering him to some extent, both in the field and at the plate.
Which raises the question, why isn’t he on the IL?
Back to the action: Christopher Morel walked. That set a franchise record:
Christopher Morel draws a walk in the 4th inning. He has reached base in 14 straight games to begin his career (a Cubs record).— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 1, 2022
After the game @MLBastian broke the news to Contreras that Morel had broken his franchise record for on-base streak to start a career.— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) June 1, 2022
"That's awesome. ... Morel brings the energy. He brings a lot of things to the table. ... He deserves to stay here."
Contreras is right. I think Morel is in MLB to stay. In case you are wondering, Morel has a long way to go for the MLB record for an on-base streak to start a career. That’s 47 games, set by the Mariners’ Alvin Davis in 1984. Davis did wind up winning the AL Rookie of the Year award that year.
Anyway, Morel’s walk advanced Simmons to second. Then this happened [VIDEO].
Victor Caratini’s errant pickoff attempt on Morel went into right field and Simmons raced home from second base to tie the game 3-3.
Steele finished five innings, allowing only three hits — but four walks — and striking out six. It wasn’t a bad outing, but he has to cut down on the walks.
The Brewers took the lead back in the sixth off Rowan Wick, who allowed a single and hit a batter and then served up a three-run homer to Caratini.
But the Cubs got those right back and more in the bottom of the inning. Nick Madrigal, who was sent up to bat for Alfonso Rivas in the sixth and saw his plate appearance end wwhen Frazier was picked off to end the inning, stayed in the game and led off the seventh with a single.
P.J. Higgins made the score 6-5 [VIDEO].
Higgins, who couldn’t hit at all in MLB last year in a brief cameo (1-for-23), is now batting .238/.333/.619 (5-for-21) since being recalled, with a triple and two home runs. He’s continued the hot hitting he was doing at Triple-A Iowa, and is certainly a serviceable backup while Yan Gomes is out. In this game, he played first base, so perhaps he’s a versatile backup who might carve out a MLB career.
Anyway, after that Morel tripled and Contreras brought him in to tie the game again [VIDEO].
The ball was just barely fair and Christian Yelich fell down trying to catch it. Also important about that play:
Willson Contreras skies one high to left that he watched for a while. It ended up falling & Morel scores from third. Contreras eventually hustled and made it to second, but you could see he was upset with himself and apologetic to the dugout for the lack of hustle out of the box.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) June 1, 2022
The ball bounced away from Yelich, otherwise Contreras might have had to stop at first. In any case, it’s now 6-6. One out later, Frank Schwindel gave the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
The Cubs did have some key hits in this game, but it should also be noted they could have had far more: They were 3-for-15 with RISP. Lots of traffic on the bases in this game, eight runs, but there easily could have been 10 runs or more.
The Brewers tied it up off Brandon Hughes in the seventh, but Mychal Givens entered and recorded the final out of that inning and had a 1-2-3 eighth.
Then Wisdom gave the Cubs the lead with his home run, and that’s where we came in.
David Robertson, who had been a bit shaky over the weekend against the White Sox, had no trouble in this one, posting a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
It took a long time — three hours, 33 minutes, 351 total pitches (174 by Brewers pitchers, 177 by Cubs pitchers) — but wins are always nice, and the Cubs finally post their 20th win of the year. They finish May at 12-16, which isn’t great but after some of the stretches last month isn’t terrible, and finally post another one-run win after five straight losses by one run.
Here are David Ross’ postgame comments and he particularly addresses the one-run games [VIDEO].
And here are Wisdom and Contreras on their home runs [VIDEO].
There were dire forecasts of storms all evening but it didn’t rain on the North Side of Chicago till well after the game ended, around 2 a.m. It’s supposed to be cooler, but dry, Wednesday evening as the Cubs go for a series split. Kyle Hendricks will try to get back on track for the Cubs and the Brewers will be sending out another guy making his MLB debut, Jason Alexander (obviously not the Seinfeld actor). Game time is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.