Game 60 Recap: Rockies 5, Cubs 3

What You Need To Know: The Cubs offense once again sputtered, wheezed, coughed, stumbled, gagged, choked its way into high-leverage situations. But much like a high school boy trying to ask his dream girl to the prom, when the moment of truth came they emitted barely a squeak, got a silly look on their face, and ran away screaming for the shelter of the bathroom to breathe into a paper bag (I’m sure that was your high school experience as well). A combination of spot-starter Mike Montgomery, Seth Frankoff (or Frank Sethoff, I’m not sure which), and Carl’s Jr. could only keep the Rockies to five runs. Thanks to the offense with several “check engine” lights on, that was far too much.

Next Level: So here’s the thing. I’ve been mostly even-keel this season so far, though obviously it’s been frustrating at times. And while I’m usually on-board with Joe Maddon’s “Trust The Process” ethos, my ears perk up and my eyes widen when the process itself is flawed. There are three instances I’d like to go through today.

The first is the bottom of the third inning. It’s only a tie game at this point. German Marquez walks Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. He gets to 3-1 on Zobrist, who unfortunately hits the ball hard but sees Rizzo cut down on second on a nice play by Mark Reynolds. Heyward gets on with a catcher’s interference. Marquez is at 75 pitches in the third, and you’d get pretty high odds that he can throw three strikes before he throws three balls.

And Javy Baez swings at every pitch.

Trust the process?

Let’s move to the top of the 7th. First off, I’m not convinced Edwards’s pitch came anywhere near Raimel Tapia’s foot or leg, but whatevs. Edwards gets the second out of the inning via strikeout, with Tapia running. Contreras double-clutches, but throws from his knees anyway. It’s nowhere near, and somehow neither Baez or Zobrist can knock it down. With two outs, and Edwards on the mound, there’s no reason to make that throw. Tapia would score on Arenado’s single.

Trust the process?

So let’s move to the 9th. Greg Holland walks Happ, Bryant, and Rizzo, and was really wild. Now, I can understand Zobrist’s thinking, that Holland would be desperate to get ahead after three straight walks and might just groove one. But that’s gotta be one-pitch one-spot and everything else you spit on. Zobrist popped up a chest high fastball which most certainly isn’t his murder-zone.

Trust the process?

Some of this is a team pressing. Some of this looks like a team not completely locked in all the time. And that’s where Maddon comes in. I’m not looking for him to air out his team in the media or anything like that. Or to pile on more pressure on hitters that are already feeling uncomfortable in their spikes. But that’s bad process today, and you can’t pull out of whatever this is with bad process.

That doesn’t mean the Cubs weren’t a victim of some of the Rockies’ good luck this year. Arenado got said single off a pitch that was ankle-level. Blackmon’s homer wasn’t much better located either, just everything he touches seems to go in a gap or out of the park right now. But it’s already hard enough to face a team playing as well as Colorado right now when you’re not coughing up a hairball yourself.

Top WPA Play: Heyward’s single in the first that put the Cubs up 2-0. That lead lasted maybe 19 seconds. (+.184)

Bottom WPA Play: Blackmon’s homer in the 5th that put the Rocks up for good. (-.209)


Lead photo courtesy David Banks—USA Today Sports

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