This is normally Bryan O’Donnell’s gig, but he’s laid up with a bad fever so I’m stepping in. Get well soon, Bryan.
I was really hoping to open this by shaming those of you who went to went to bed early, confident in the fact that an 8-4 lead was safe. Now I’m thinking your decision may have simply saved you from breaking things.
Monday night saw a death spiral of a game in which Cubs fans went from being supremely confident in an assured victory, to be being worried about the possibility of a close game, to fearing the inevitability of a Cardinals win, to downright seething anger.
After batting around and stacking up a 5-0 lead in the first, the Cubs immediately surrendered 4 runs in the bottom of the inning. After adding scores in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, the Cubs were sitting pretty with an 8-4 lead. Then the Cards pushed 2 across in the bottom of the 6th before adding 4 more in the 7th.
If giving up runs in the 6th sounds familiar, that’s because the Cubs have now surrendered 18 in that frame on the young season. They really, really need to get better performances out of their early relievers. At least there’s good news to report on that front though.
And what would a Cubs game be without a fake rally? Addison Russell homered in the 9th to get his team to within one, but Dexter fouler lined out to end the game immediately after. I had been preaching patience after the weekend’s losses, but this one just felt awful. I mean really bad, to the extent I actually felt a karmic kick to the solar plexus as it was happening.
So make a little room out on that ledge, I’m coming out. Okay, so I’m only doing it to get a little fresh air, like giving a catcher or an ump a little time when they’ve been hit in the mask by a foul tip. A game like last night just requires a little more of a recovery period is all; I swear I’m not really going to jump.
Grimm tidings of great joy
Remember when I said the Cubs need to tighten up the relief corps? Well, Justin Grimm threw an inning for the Iowa Cubs tonight, walking one and striking out two. Provided everything’s A-OK with his health, he can’t get to Chicago soon enough.
Chris Denorfia’s suffered an aggravation of the hamstring injury that has bothered him throughout the season and has been placed on the DL. As a result, the Cubs are expected to promote Matt Szczur back up to the big-league club. Denorfia tweaked his leg while running the bases after singling in the 3rd inning and was replaced by Junior Lake.
Rizzo with a wrister
A collective gasp could be heard when Miguel Montero’s errant throw caused Anthony Rizzo to put his glove right in the path of an oncoming Kolten Wong. As Rizzo’s glove flew off, he immediately grimaced and held his hand to his chest, though he would stay in the game.
The fact that he played on is a good sign, though it’s not as if baseball players are above pushing themselves beyond what’s smart. Mike Olt admitted to doing as much with his own wrist injury when I spoke to him a couple weeks ago. Different situations, sure, but something to be wary of in the near future here.
Stay classy, St. Louis
Mark Reynolds got a curtain call tonight in the first inning. Yes, he had hit a grand slam. But it was IN THE FIRST INNING! Stop. Two fans ran onto the field at one point as the frothing masses drank in the shenanigans, which I’m now convinced actually fueled the victory.
I wasn’t able to watch, though I heard that the second fan to rush the field actually did a somersault at home plate. Not something I think I’d be willing to spend a night in jail — in St. Louis, mind you — over, but if you’re gonna do it I guess you might as well have fun.
The fans were absolutely eating it up, and that includes Selfie Stick Guy. Good times.
Russell homers again
I wrote earlier about Kris Bryant’s approach (he walked 4 more times on Monday night) in the face of a home run drought, but he might feel a little more pressure now that Addison Russell has hit his second dinger.
This only reinforces my belief that Bryant is going to bust out, and soon. And now that I’ve got this feeling I just can’t shake, this sense that there’s some really bad juju about this game, I really hope KB goes off soon. The Cubs may need someone to just put the team on his back for a few games here.
*Eric Jokisch had a quality start for the I-Cubs Monday going 6 strong innings and giving up only one run on four hits and a walk, striking out 5
*James Russell notched the save in Jokisch’s game, giving up a leadoff hit and then inducing a line-out and a double play to end the game. He has yet to allow a run in 9 and 2/3 innings this season and is sure to be getting a ticket to Chicago in the very near future.
*The Myrtle Beach Pelicans hung 14 runs on the Lynchburg Hillcats and did it all on the strength of only one HR, a two-run shot from Jacob Rogers.