If you are looking for a post-mortem on the Cubs season here, after they were eliminated from postseason consideration with the Marlins win over the Pirates Saturday night, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
Instead, let’s celebrate some good Cubs performances as they defeated the Brewers 10-6 Saturday in Milwaukee.
The bats came out in a big way in the first inning against Eric Lauer, who had not pitched in a major league game since May and had injury issues all year.
It didn’t take too long for the Cubs to take the lead. Christopher Morel launched Lauer’s third pitch way into the seats [VIDEO].
The next two Cubs, Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ, walked. After Cody Bellinger hit into a force play, Dansby Swanson walked to load the bases. That brought up Yan Gomes. [VIDEO]
For Gomes, that was his first home run in two months and the fifth grand slam of his career. Also, from BCB’s JohnW53:
This is the first game, home or road, in which the Cubs’ first batter homered in the first inning and a teammate hit a grand slam later in the inning.
Saturday’s game was their 22,092nd regular-season game since 1876, first year of the National League.
The Cubs were not done with long balls in that inning, either! After Jeimer Candelario struck out, Patrick Wisdom went deep [VIDEO].
Six to nothing. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, if you watched the Cubs over the past week, you know the answer to that question. In this case, it was Jordan Wicks not having a good game, the first of his brief MLB career where he really got knocked around. He didn’t finish the second inning, and served up six hits and two home runs in 44 pitches before David Ross had mercy and lifted him. But by then the game was tied. Yes, that means the Cubs blew two 6-0 leads on this road trip.
But this time, despite the postseason elimination, the game had a happier ending for our favorite team.
Hayden Wesneski, likely throwing for the final time in 2023, threw 1⅔ scoreless innings, despite a pair of walks. The Cubs, meanwhile, took the lead back in the fourth. Alexander Canario led off with a single. Morel doubled, but Canario was out at the plate [VIDEO].
That missed being a two-run homer by a couple of feet. Meanwhile, in my view, that was just a terrible send of Canario by Willie Harris.
Seiya Suzuki singled with Morel taking third, and Happ then singled in a run [VIDEO].
For the second time in the inning, a Cubs hit missed being a home run by just a couple of feet. But it was now 8-6 Cubs.
Javier Assad threw 1⅔ scoreless innings in what was likely his final 2023 appearance.
In the fifth, the Cubs extended the lead to 9-6. Candelario doubled, his 39th of the year (ninth as a Cub). One out later, Canario tripled with Candelario scoring [VIDEO].
And the Cubs made it 10-6 in the sixth. Happ doubled to lead off the inning and Bellinger and Swanson walked to load the bases.
The rest of the story of this game is Jameson Taillon, who threw four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk and striking out three. This was his first relief appearance as a major leaguer after 172 starts (and just his second as a pro, the other one was in Double-A in 2013), and in finishing up the win he posted a save, also his first ever.
This outing, and his second half in general, is very encouraging for Taillon going into the 2024 season. In 15 games (14 starts) since the All-Star break he has a 3.70 ERA and 1.173 WHIP, with 19 walks and 77 strikeouts in 82⅔ innings. That’s what the Cubs might have expected from Taillon for the entire season. Add to that his eight one-hit innings against the Yankees just before the break and Taillon finished up this season strong. Fangraphs says Taillon’s season is worth 1.5 WAR, which... really is decent enough given his awful start. I look for Taillon to be a significant contributor to this team in 2024.
Taillon: "I was just thinking this would be a really fun team to compete with in the playoffs & pop champagne with. This is a great group. That was probably the most challenging year in my career & showing up every day was so much fun. But we made our bed & we have to lie in it."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) October 1, 2023
Again, I’ll have a full post-mortem on the Cubs’ 2023 season tomorrow. In the meantime, there’s one more game to be played before this year is put to rest.
Justin Steele is still listed as today’s Cubs starter, and why not? Hopefully he can finish the season on a high note. Adrian Houser is set to go for Milwaukee. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.