James Outman is not a good name for a baseball hitter. You know, because good hitters are not supposed to make outs.
Mr. Outman made his name false Saturday at Wrigley Field. He went 4-for-5 including two home runs, and the Dodgers smashed four homers in all off Cubs pitching and defeated the home team 9-4 on a blustery, cold, snow-flurry afternoon at Wrigley Field (and seriously, Wrigley organist, I could do without hearing “Let It Snow” in the ninth inning).
There were a few good Cubs things in this game, though the bullpen wasn’t one of them. Let’s rewind to the beginning.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning off Hayden Wesneski. Fortunately, Wesneski got J.D. Martinez to hit into a double play. A run scored, but it could have been worse, if not for this nice grab by Cody Bellinger [VIDEO].
The Cubs did the same in the bottom of the first — the first three hitters reached on a single and two walks, loading the bases.
Seiya Suzuki hit into this run-scoring fielder’s choice [VIDEO].
In the second, Outman’s first homer of the game made it 2-1 Dodgers. A double by Martinez and single by Outman in the fourth made it 3-1, but the Cubs got that run back in the bottom of the fourth. Suzuki was hit by a pitch and two outs later scored on this double by Eric Hosmer [VIDEO].
Wesneski was lifted with one out in the fifth, having given up six hits, a walk and three runs. Dodgers hitters were not being fooled — Wesneski struck out just one. As well as Wesneski pitched last September, it is possible he might need some more Triple-A time. He could be odd-man-out when Kyle Hendricks is ready to return.
Here’s some data on Wesneski’s outing [VIDEO].
The score was still manageable at 3-2 Dodgers at that time. L.A. plated a run in the sixth, charged to Brandon Hughes, though it was a single off Michael Rucker that scored the run. Still, the game entered the seventh inning with the Cubs down just two.
Whoops. Mark Leiter Jr. had a bad outing. After striking out Mookie Betts to lead off the inning, Freddie Freeman singled and Max Muncy homered. Those were the first runs Leiter had allowed this year, and before Saturday lefthanded batters had been 2-for-20 off him. That made the score 6-2 Dodgers, but the Cubs got those runs right back in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Edwin Rios walked with one out, and Nico Hoerner smacked a two-run homer [VIDEO].
That’s home runs in consecutive games for Nico, who went 2-for-5 and is 6-for-10 with the two homers over the last two games.
Adbert Alzolay threw a scoreless eighth, but the Cubs couldn’t score in the bottom of the inning. So it went to the ninth still 6-4, still close enough...
Yikes. Brad Boxberger had a bad inning, serving up a one-out homer to Muncy, then a two-out walk followed by Outman’s second homer of the game. That launched Boxberger’s ERA from 1.23 to 4.50, and he hadn’t allowed two homers in a game in almost two years, since May 11, 2021, when the Cardinals did it to him, a span of 135 appearances.
The Cubs went down meekly in the ninth to Shelby Miller, who was a Cub for about five minutes two years ago. One note about an out recorded in that inning:
Correction: 42 https://t.co/QqbcavMHbJ— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 22, 2023
Hey, games like this are going to happen. Fortunately, they don’t happen all that often, or at least we hope they won’t for this year’s Cubs. They will try to salvage a series split, and win the season series from the Dodgers, Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The weather isn’t going to be much nicer, unfortunately, so hopefully the Cubs baseball will. It’s a great pitching matchup: Marcus Stroman vs. Clayton Kershaw. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.