Rockies 4 @ Cubs 3
Brett Jackson – There were certainly some negatives to BJax’s day today, but there were a couple big positives as well. Jackson gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the fourth with a wind-aided, two-run basket shot. Jackson pushed the ball to the opposite field and let the wind do the rest – either a sign that he is starting to get more comfortable on the plate or that he was slow on a fastball and got lucky with the conditions at Wrigley. The homer, his second in as many games, along with his second inning double are encouraging signs of success to come for Jackson. Of course, then there was the strike out to end the game – his 31st in 61 at-bats. We’ll keep this in the good category though be reminding ourselves that it was the second straight day that he only k’d once.
Brooks Raley – This would probably go in the “average” column if there were one, but on a day like today, we’ll label Raley’s performance as “good”. Maybe I’m not being fair – Raley really made one big mistake in his five innings on the mound, allowing a home run by pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge in the fifth. Dale Sveum decided five innings and 80 pitches was enough for Raley though and sent him to the showers after that inning with a 3-2 lead.
Sorry to be pessimistic today, but there was nothing “bad” today. How is that pessimism, you ask? Because I’ve dropped all of the notable negatives from this one all the way to “ugly”.
Double Play Balls – The Cubs entered the seventh inning tied with the Rockies 3-3, and the inning very easily could have (should have?) ended the same way. The Cubs had two opportunities to turn double plays, the first went awry when Castro’s throw pulled Anthony Rizzo off the bag on a DJ LaMahieu grounder. The Rockies scored the game winning run on another would-be twin-killing that saw Castro loft the ball towards first, hoping either Darwin Barney or Alex Hinshaw would get to first in time to receive the ball on an attempted 3-6-1or2 double play.
Caught Stealing – Starlin Castro’s pursuit for the Major League lead in times caught stealing took a step forward when he was gunned down trying to swipe second in the third inning with a runner on third and nobody out. The truly ugly CS happened much later in the game when, the seventh inning the Cubs looked to be in a position to get a couple runs back. Jackson led off with a walk, then Joe Mather singled a couple batters later to put two on with one out. One out later, Jackson and Mather decided to attempt a double steal and the potential rally was killed as Mather was out by a mile at second. I say they decided to attempt a double steal because that’s basically what Dale Sveum said after the game – of course, he followed that up by saying he wouldn’t have sent them because he liked the match-up they had with Josh Vitters at the plate (and since when is that a good match for any one but the opposing pitcher), so who knows what actually happened.
The Cubs have now lost 19 of their last 24 games and need to go 11-26 in their final 37 games to avoid eclipsing 103 wins and going down in history as the single worst team in franchise history. I’m revising my prediction downward to a final record of 57-105…I believe we’ll witness history in the final month of the season.