Saturday, July 13, 2024

Everyone is to Blame For Another Brutal 1-Run Loss

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The 2023 Chicago Cubs are getting pretty good at two really fucking annoying things, a bad bullpen and one of the worst offenses with runners in scoring position in the history of the sport. Yeah, the manager doesn’t make good decisions either and at the end fans are left feeling shitty even after seeing the Cubs win 2 of 3 against the best team in baseball.

I’m not sure where you rank this one for worst one-run losses this year because there’s been a ton, but it’s definitely up there. We got it all on Wednesday. Questionable manager decisions, terrible hitting in clutch situations and even the good reliever shit the bed.

The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but starting pitcher Justin Steele was taken out after he pitched three innings. The Cubs said it’s because of forearm tightness, so that’s already one crappy takeaway from the game. Anyway, Hayden Wesneski came in and he was brilliant, going 3.2 innings, only giving up one infield single (should have been ruled an error) and two walks. David Ross decided to pull Wesneski in the seventh after a two-out walk that brought up left-handed hitting infielder Brandon Lowe up to the plate.

This was the right move. Mark Leiter Jr. has been amazing against left-handed hitters this year and he was great against them since last summer. Unfortunately, Leiter just did not have it today and he left a splitter hanging that Lowe did not miss.

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This tied the game.

I mean hey, the other team is getting paid to do their job, too. Fine, you get beat sometimes. However, it was pretty obvious that Leiter wasn’t sharp and it became more evident in the eighth inning when he came back out and immediately walked the first batter he faced on four straight balls.

By the way, this was after the Cubs had taken the lead again on a Trey Mancini pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh inning. So, Leiter looks bad, he’s still in and after falling behind again, Jose Siri unloaded on a 3-1 pitch right down the middle for a two-run home run that gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead.

Cool. Adbert Alzolay came in after that and it’s not like he was shutting down the Rays either, getting the first out on a hard-hit ground ball and then giving up back-to-back hits before he was able to induce a double play to end the inning.

Leiter and Alzolay both pitched on Tuesday and it just goes to show you that Ross does not trust anyone else in the bullpen right now. Honestly, he shouldn’t. So, I get why he’s going to Leiter and sticking with him, but then that goes back to the front office for whiffing on the relievers they brought in this past offseason who have not panned out so far.

And now the offense. Oh yeah, this was hell to watch.

Christopher Morel has cooled off after his record-setting start in May, but he was used as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning after Miles Mastrobuoni walked to begin the inning. Mastrobuoni stole second base, but Morel couldn’t move him over, striking out on a 3-2 pitch. Nico Hoerner was up next and hit singled hard to left field. Even this was bad luck because the ball was hit too hard that it forced Mastrobuoni to only move up to third base.

So, with runners at the corners with only one out and down 4-3, Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ struck out. Swanson struck out swinging, while Happ was called out on strikes on a bad call.

Borderline at best and sure, swing, protect with two strikes, but it was still the wrong call. I’m not the biggest proponent of a manager needing to show fire, but I’m not sure when Ross is going to come out of the dugout and fight for his guys. There have been several bad calls in big spots and Ross can’t be bothered to go out there and at least have a word with the home plate ump.

Whatever.

Believe it or not, it gets a lot more painful. The Cubs, still down 4-3, loaded the bases with only one out in the bottom of the ninth inning after a throwing error on a Patrick Wisdom ground ball to third base that should have been a double play.

I think I’m done with Miles Mastrobuoni. You can’t be the backup infielder who is supposed to be a solid contact guy striking out 30 percent of the time while putting up a .149 batting average. He struck out against left-handed reliever Jalen Beeks, who got Mastrobuoni to chase ball four on the strikeout.

Beeks was trying to walk Yan Gomes, too, falling behind 3-0. Gomes took a strike and then swung at ball four on the next pitch. After a foul ball, Gomes hit a line drive to left, but Randy Arozarena ran it down and the Cubs lost 4-3.

What pisses you off is that the Cubs do actually put up good games, but they find ways to lose. Sure, blame Ross for his decisions, but the front office failed at getting reliable relievers, while the veteran role players and bench guys have been brutal as well. And that’s why we keep seeing one-run losses. It’s why they can get swept by the Reds and then be a hit away from sweeping the Rays.

I’m not saying this is a great team, but this year it’s looking like you just have to be OK to win the NL Central. The Cubs can get to OK, but some of this shit has to change and change ASAP.

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Les Tivers
Les Tivers
Jun 1, 2023 9:33 am

Your graphic looks as though strike 3 to Happ was tangent to the zone. But no clutch anything or anybody. Good takeaway: We played toe-to-toe with the Rays.

Hehateme30
May 31, 2023 7:42 pm

Theyre all dumb.!

David
David
May 31, 2023 5:02 pm

Miles Mastrobuoni should have been gone a long time ago! Can’t they find someone, anyone else for that role?

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