April 11, 2015
The Cubs continue their stay in the mile high city with tonight’s game against the Rockies. This game features Travis Wood a CY against Jorge De La Rosa, a CYW for the home team. Given the hitting on both teams I am expecting a high scoring game.
De La Rosa appears to be struggling right from the start. He walks Starlin Castro on a 39 that converted to a walk courtesy of his W rating. Joe Maddon is smiling in the dugout already as you really have to work hard to walk Starlin.
Anthony Rizzo draws another walk on 5 pitches and the pitching coach has already made a visit to the mound to see what is happening with his starter. Fortunately whatever he said worked as Kris Bryant hits a grounder that second baseman D.J. LeMahieu makes a good stop on and gets Rizzo for the force play and the runners are on the corners with two outs. Miguel Montero pops up to Nolan Arenado at third and the inning is over with no score.
Charlie Blackmon gets a first pitch fastball and rips it past a diving Addison Russell at short and this rolls near the warning track before Chris Coghlan can cut it off and only a strong throw kept Blackmon for taking three bases. Wood hears the wakeup call and gets LeMahieu on a fly to shallow right field before striking out Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez back to back.
Having had time to relax in the dugout De La Rosa seems like a completely different pitcher as he retires the side in order in the second inning, and Wood does likewise and there is still no score after two innings of play.
De La Rosa continues to stay in a groove and he has now retired eight straight batters as the Cubs go down in order in the top of the inning. Unfortunately for them Travis Wood cannot say the same. Shortstop Jose Reyes slips a grounder to the right side between Castro and Rizzo for a single. He moved to second on a ground out by De La Rosa and then Charlie Blackmon strikes again. He laces a hard shot into center field that clears Dexter Fowlers reach in the enormous center field area and bounces off the wall. Blackmon is now two for two with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
LeMahieu continues the rally with a solid single up the middle that scores Blackmon and Montero makes a quick stop to the mound to keep Wood focused. Arenado hits a fly to left for the second out and Gonzalez strikes out for the second time of the evening and the inning ends with the Rockies on top 2-0.
Rizzo flies to shallow right to start the fourth inning, and De La Rosa walks Bryant on six pitches and the Cubs have their first base runner in a while. Recognizing that this may be a lot lower scoring game than anticipated Maddon orders the sacrifice and Montero delivers and Bryant is on second, but now there are two out. Chris Coghlan gets a slider, and he goes with the pitch and slices it into the left field corner for a run scoring triple. Austin Jackson, who has struggled so far pops up to Ben Paulsen near the Cubs dugout to end the inning, but the score is now 2-1 Colorado leading.
It is now Wood in shut down mode as the Rockies go down in order to end the fourth and the score still 2-1. The Cubs threatened in the fifth but came up short as Russell singled to right and Maddon was most displeased with Travis Wood, normally a very good hitter failed to lay down a bunt before striking out. Fowler takes first on a force play but goes nowhere as Castro flies out to left to end the inning.
Wood continues to stymie the home team, and the crowd is pretty quiet as Blackmon is finally retired for the first time of the evening as the Rockies go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning and the score is still just 2-1 Colorado atop.
Once again De La Rosa works out of trouble in the sixth inning as Rizzo draws his second free pass of the inning and Bryant lays down the bunt and puts the runner in scoring position. Montero struck out, but Coghlan drew another walk and runners were on first and second now with two out but Jackson flied out to left and the inning ended with the Cubs still trailing by one at the half way point.
Wood continues to roll in what is expected to be his final inning of the evening so he let it all hang out and pretty much overwhelmed the Colorado hitters and if this truly was his last inning he finished strong by retiring the final 11 hitters he faced as the Rockies lead 2-1 after six innings of play.
Russell grounds out to start the seventh inning and sure enough, Wood is removed and pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber comes to the plate. Kyle hits a booming drive to right center field and Carlos Gonzales makes the running grab just in front of the warning track for a loud out number two. Dexter Fowler also gets hold of a pitch and drills this to right and Gonzalez makes a great diving catch near the foul line. Had he misplayed that Dex would have had three for sure, and possibly gone for the home run.
Pedro Strop (BXY) is now ready to go and the Rockies take the usual Pedro roller coaster ride of an inning. After getting a quick fly out by Corey Dickerson, Nick Hundley hits a floater to left for a single. Ben Paulsen comes up and draws a walk. Reyes hits a hard grounder that bounces off of Castro’s chest and when he can’t get a grip on the ball the bases are loaded with just one out and the pitcher’s spot up.
Walt Weiss has a tough decision here. While his starting pitcher is clearly tiring, there are no higher rated pitchers in the bullpen, and none have Z’s either. So while there are plenty of C’s to go to, none change what happens on the mound, so he chooses to let his pitcher bat, and to nobody’s surprise he strikes out. Blackmon was clearly swinging for the seats as he also struck out and the inning ends still 2-1 Colorado on top and we will see if the gamble pays off.
Unfortunately it didn’t take long for Colorado to regret the move. Castro makes up for his earlier error and mashes the 2-2 off speed pitch for a homer to deep left field and tie the game at two. Rizzo grounds out to Paulsen, who flips to De La Rosa covering for out number one and then promptly walks the bases loaded (2 were conversions from a W). Thankfully for Weiss, Austin Jackson hits a textbook 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Maddon elects to let Strop go another inning and the ups and downs continue. He struck out D.J. LeMahieu, but then allows a single to Arenado. He then strikes out Gonzalez for out number two. Dickerson hits a rocket down the third base line, but Kris Bryant makes a great diving stop, pops up and throws a strike for the final out of the inning.
De La Rosa takes the mound to start the 9th and actually looks great. He gets a perfect inning and the Rockies go to the bottom of the ninth with a chance to try and win this. Justin Grimm (AKW) comes in to try and bring this to extra innings. Justin gets a quick out, but then Bryant’s throw on a grounder by Paulsen pulls Rizzo off the bag and it’s an error to keep the rally going.
Jose Reyes hits a grounder that moves Paulsen to second with two outs, and with the game possibly on the line, De La Rosa’s night is finally over. He did a great job and pinch hitter Justin Morneau comes in and comes right back after striking out to end the inning. We are going to extra innings.
As we go to the top of the 10th inning Boone Logan (CXW) is on in relief. He makes quick work of the Cubs and the top of the lineup comes to bat for the Rockies. Blackmon is swinging for the seats again as he strikes out and the hitting instructor comes over as he returns to the dugout. LeMahieu gets his second hit of the night with a soft single to center. Unfortunately Arenado hits a rocket right at Castro who is able to catch D.J. just far enough away from the bag for the inning ending double play!
Logan comes out for his second inning of work and walks Montero on 6 pitches. Chris Coghlan hits a single to center and Montero tries to make it to third, but Charlie Blackmon’s throw is on the mark and he is gunned down at third base. The next two hitters go down quickly and the Rockies come to bat in the bottom of the 11th in a 2-2 ballgame.
Since Grimm is due to bat first next inning Maddon leaves him in the game and he strikes out Carlos Gonzalez on three straight heaters and congratulations Carlos, here’s your golden sombrero for whiff number 4 on the evening. Dickerson fares no better and he strikes out too. Nick Hundley draws the two out walk to keep the inning alive, and Ben Paulsen hits a bloop single over second to put runners on first and second but Reyes flies to right and the inning is over.
So as the Cubs come to bat in the top of the twelfth inning Logan will pitch his third and final inning should he finish it as he is due to lead off the bottom half of the inning. He is absolutely throwing bb’s as he strikes out the side and Grimm’s night is over as he was lifted for pinch hitter Mark Denorfia.
Not wanting to use his closer just yet Joe Maddon takes a huge risk by bringing in Jason Motte (CZ) for this inning. He gets pinch hitter Tom Murphy on a fly to left, but Charlie Blackmon has made the adjustment the hitting instructor mentioned earlier and rips a double off the wall in right field for his third two bagger of the night. LeMahieu grounds out and Arenado flies out to Rizzo in foul territory near the wall to end the inning still tied at two.
So Tommy Kahnle (CXW) comes in for the 13th inning and Rizzo, who has done his best Frank Chance imitation this game by getting a couple of walks then hurting the pitcher with the game on the line hits a home run just inside the right field foul pole for the go ahead homer. Montero whiffs, then Coghlan rips a double to center. Jackson strikes out and Russell grounds out and the Cubs have the lead for the first time all night as we go to the bottom of the inning.
And now Maddon has everything just as he hoped for. Their closer on the mound, and the part of the lineup least likely to hurt him. Gonzalez, the main worry flies out to Russell in shallow left field for out number one. Hundley was completely overpowered with fastballs for out number two via the strikeout. Ben Paulsen, whom I have never heard of has had a good couple of at bats tonight and gets his second hit of the evening. Jose Reyes hits a weak grounder to Bryant and the third baseman fires to first to end the game and finally the long evening comes to an end with the Cubs victorious 3-2 in their second consecutive extra inning ballgame.
Surprise of the evening goes to tonight’s winning pitcher Jason Motte, who made his first appearance of the season. Rondon got his first save of the year and appears to finally be settling in. Tough luck loser for the evening was not the official loser of tonight’s game Tommy Kahnle, but Jorge De La Rosa, who pitched his heart out only to get a no decision.
Around the horn:
The Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 4-2 on Mitch Moreland’s game winning, pinch hit home run with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning.
The New York Mets pounded the Atlanta Braves 8-0. Lucas Duda went 4-4 with 2 homers and 5 RBI.
Garrett Cole loses his no hit bid with two out in the bottom of the ninth as Ryan Braun of the Brewers hits a solo home run. The Pirates still win 5-1.