The Cubs and Mariners battled at a warm and windy Wrigley Field on Tuesday night in a game that many thought was over early. After falling behind big, Chicago made a historic comeback thanks to a new addition to the lineup.
Hayden Wesneski had absolutely no control and paid for it big time against Seattle’s difficult lineup. Eugenio Suárez hit a two-run homer off of him in the top of the 1st inning to put Seattle ahead. Things got even worse in the 2nd when the M’s batted around and knocked Wesneski out of the game, burying the Cubs in a 7-0 hole.
The home team roared back to life, but the rally started with a rather innocuous Yan Gomes RBI infield single in the bottom of the 2nd. Just after Jed Hoyer said on Marquee that his team wasn’t built to blast out of big deficits with power, the wheels came off for Seattle starter Chris Flexen. The first big blow came when Trey Mancini hit his first Cubs home run to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Three singles and a walk scored another and loaded the bases with one out for the recently promoted Nelson Velázquez. The right fielder jumped all over a 3-1 fastball and crushed a go-ahead grand slam to provide a huge highlight in a game full of them. Dansby Swanson added an RBI single of his own and it was 9-7 after three innings.
First career grand slam for Nelson Velázquez! 💪 pic.twitter.com/qOJ5IDCoUr
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 12, 2023
Jarred Kelenic hit a solo shot in the 4th inning, but Chicago would answer right back as Swanson and Mancini each singled home runs in the 5th. It was not all good news for the home team, however, as Swanson had to exit the game with discomfort on his right side.
Nico Hoerner doubled in a pair of runs as part of a three-run rally in the 6th and the Cubs would go on to coast to a 14-9 win. Hoyer had promised Boog Sciambi a comeback for his birthday, so consider this an unlikely gift. (Box score)
The Cubs wasted absolutely no time getting back into the game in the 3rd inning. They worked the count and got into good position to succeed which they did.
Why the Cubs Won
The bats came through in a big way, but don’t forget about the bullpen only allowing two runs after Wesneski blew up early.
Stats That Matter
- Wesneski’s teammates got him off the hook Tuesday. He needs much better control if he wants to be successful at the MLB level: 1.1 IP, 7 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 K, and 4 BB.
- Velázquez walked, singled, and doubled in addition to his grand slam. He was absolutely destroying Triple-A Iowa, so he could be a major boost to the lineup.
- Swanson had four hits before he came out of the game. David Ross said after the game the initial diagnosis was cramps, so let’s hope that’s all it is because he is critical to the team.
- Michael Rucker, Adbert Alzolay, Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather all pitched well out of the bullpen.
The Cubs proved Tuesday that they are able to mount a rally if they get behind early. It’s unclear if this was a fluke or something they can do consistently. Velázquez definitely deserves some more playing time after his eye-popping performance in this game.