April 12, 2015
It’s the end of the Cubs first road trip of the season and it was a successful one for certain. They are 4-0 as we reach “get away day” and after two straight nights of extra inning ballgames, both teams are dragging a bit.
Although both teams have plenty of hitting, I was not expecting a lot today, especially Colorado as Jake Arrieta (A&C XYZ) is on the mound. He is opposed by right hander Christian Bergman, a D X starter.
As expected the Cubs start off in slow motion with both Dexter Fowler and Starlin Castro going down swinging to start the game and Anthony Rizzo hitting a weak grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes (it’s still odd to me not to say Troy Tulowitzki) to end the inning.
The Rockies however seem prepared for the “Jake Arrieta experience” and Charlie Blackmon, who has tormented the Cubs pitching staff this entire series slaps a single into center on the third pitch of the game. Jake makes several throws to first to try and keep the runner close, but despite the effort Blackmon takes off on Arrieta’s first throw to the plate, and Miguel Montero’s throw was a bit high so Addison Russell had no real chance to make the tag.
D.J. LeMahieu draws a tough walk after fouling off some pitches and Jake already is in trouble. Nolan Arenado gets a hanging curve on the second pitch and he drives this one deep into the left center stands for a towering three run homer to give the Rockies the early lead.
Pitching coach Chris Bosio makes a hurried trip to the mound and settles his hurler down and he gets Carlos Gonzales to ground out before striking out Corey Dickerson and Nick Hundley back to back, but it’s 3-0 Rockies at the end of one inning.
Rookie sensation Kris Bryant drills a 2-2 offering into the left field seats to open the inning and Montero singles up the middle on the next pitch. Maddon sends the signal to sacrifice with Chris Coughlin at the plate. It’s a successful sacrifice, but at a great cost. Nobody got hurt, but the roll was a 66-1. OUCH. Sorry Chris.
Austin Jackson picks him up though, as he slams a slider that just clears the fence in right for a 2 run bomb and suddenly this game is tied at 3 each! Bergman calms down and retires the next two hitters to end the inning with no further damage allowed.
Jake appears to be locked in at last as he strikes out Ben Paulsen and Reyes to start the inning, giving him four in a row and Bergman grounds out and the score is still tied at 3 each after two innings.
Bergman clearly does not have his good stuff as he struggles in the third. Fowler hits a single to right and with Dexter running with the pitch Castro hits a grounder right past where LeMahieu was for a single that puts runners on the corners with nobody out. Manager Walt Weiss gets the bullpen started but Rizzo and Bryant strikeout back to back and although Montero draws a walk to load the bases Coughlin fans to end the inning with the score still tied at 3 apiece.
D.J. LeMaheiu draws his second walk of the game with one out in the bottom of the inning and Arrieta throws toward the outside portion of the strike zone as they are anticipating the runner going, but the cutter trails back into the hitting zone, and this one is absolutely powdered.
The ball left the yard so quickly the camera crew could barely keep up with it as it ends in the right field seats just to the side of the hitting background for a two run dinger. Jake gets the next two hitters to end the inning, but the Rockies regain the lead 5-3 and at this rate he won’t be around much longer.
The Cubs seem fired up now as Jackson hits a hard grounder just past LeMaheiu for a single. Russell bunts the runner over, and although Joe should have gone to the bench Arrieta is a good hitter and he leaves him in. He hits a bloop single that scores Jackson and moved to second with two out and Castro rocks a solid single to left center that scores Arrieta. Rizzo flies out to end the inning, but despite the bad outing so far they are only down by a run 5-4 as we enter the bottom of the fourth inning.
Hundley singles to start the inning and Arrieta then strikes out the next three hitters to end the inning and the Cubs still trail by a 5-4 score going to the fifth inning.
Bryant hits a rocket that hits a rock just in front of first base and is headed to the corner for extra bases. No wait! Paulsen made a great diving stab and beats Bryant to the bag for a game changing moment for out number one! Bergman gets the next two hitters and the score is still 5-4 entering the bottom of the 5th.
Jake gets Blackmon swinging for out number one, but LeMahieu, who has been solid this series gets a single to center. Arenado gets handcuffed on the first pitch a bit for a foul ball, so Montero calls for the same pitch again, but Nolan waits on it and launches a Dave Kingman type of shot down the third base line. Is it fair? Is it foul? GONE!!! This one just stayed fair, but it was deep into the upper deck for a two run shot and Mr. Arenado is having one heck of a day.
Unfortunately this ends Arrieta’s day as an unhappy Joe Maddon asks for the ball. Brian Schlitter makes his first appearance of the year and is asked to just stop the bleeding. And he does just that, getting both hitters to end the inning.
Bergman knows he will most likely be done after the inning, having survived beyond all expectations considering the way his day started. He gives his all and strikes out the side, and Schlitter was lifted for a pinch hitter is done for the day too. The Rockies come to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning up 7-5.
Carl Edwards comes in and Hundley greets him with a booming double off the wall in left field for a double. Edwards does not pay much attention and Nick is off with the pitch and because Montero had to shift position to catch the pitch and has to hurry his throw.
Unfortunately this is way over Bryant’s head and rolls into left field and Hundley scores. Paulsen strikes out and Reyes grounds out as Bergman is lifted for pinch hitter Justin Morneau who gets his first hit of the year. Blackmon then gets his second hit of the day and Morneau had been off with the pitch, but Jackson’s throw is a great one and he is out at third to end the inning with the home team on top 8-5.
Boone Logan is in and he looks great. Striking out Fowler he allows a single to left by Castro, which was his third of the day, but he strayed too far off of first and when Rizzo hit a smash that Paulsen had to leap for it was an easy unassisted double play to end the inning and the Rockies are still on top 8-5 at the end of 6 and a half innings.
Edwards is asked to go a second inning and this was not a good idea as he gets two quick outs, but then batting practice ensured as the Rockies ripped 4 straight doubles that scored three runs before Reyes, the only Rockie regular that had no hits today. The inning mercifully ends with the visitors trailing 11-5.
Given the large lead Weiss asks for another inning from Logan and Bryant leads off with a single to left and moves to second on a bunt by Montero to avoid the double play. Coughlin draws a walk. Jackson hits a “Baltimore Chop” that Hundley botches and the error loads the bases with just one out. Javier Baez comes in to pinch hit for Edwards and swings and misses three breaking balls for an easy out. Logan then loses control of the strike zone and walks Fowler and Castro back to back for two quick runs and suddenly the game is on the line and closer Justin Miller comes in for what will have to be a two inning save Rizzo hits a soft single to right that scores a run but Bryant pops up to end the inning and the lead is suddenly cut to 11-9 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning.
Pedro Strop comes in as the Cubs hope to keep this close enough for some heroics in the 9th and unfortunately Pedro didn’t live up to expectations. After striking out Miller, who had to stay in for the save and Blackmon with ease LeMahieu draws his third walk of the day, and is on for the fourth time today. Arenado delivers the final blow with a double that just missed clearing the wall in right field for another run. Carlos Gonzalez walks but is stranded at first as the inning ends with the Rockies on top 12-9.
Miller walks Montero to start the inning, and promptly gets the final three hitters and the game is over. The Cubs head home on a pretty sour note, but it was still a good trip. But kudos to Nolan Arenado who went 4 for 5 with a double, 3 home runs and drove in 8 runs. Logan gets the accidental win and Miller struggled for the save. Jake Arrieta took the loss.
Around the horn
Jared Weaver tossed a two hit shutout as the Mariners beat the A’s 3-0.
John Lackey looked dominant with a two hit shutout of his own as the Cardinals stomped the Reds 7-0.
Francisco Cervelli went 5 for 5 with 5 RBI as the Pirates win a slugfest over the Brewers 12-6.