Games » Chicago CubsJun24
One guy doesn't lose a game
That’s what Ned Yost said in the post-game press conference. Ned’s right, one guy doesn’t lose a ball game, but a lot of people will point a finger at Chris Getz anyway. Let’s get it over with: In the top of the 9th in a tie ball game, Chris had what looked to be an inning-ending double play ball hit right at him. It ended up in right field and allowed the winning run to score. So what happened?
“I missed it.”
Did it have top spin on it? “Yeah, but I’ve caught top-spin grounders before.”
Looked like you might’ve had a double play there.
“Not if you don’t catch the ball.”
That’s how one of these post-game interviews goes when someone’s the goat. We state the obvious and make them repeat what happened six times in hopes of gaining something more interesting to say than, “He missed it.”
The ball did come up on Chris. Groundball’s that are hit with a lot of top-spin will bounce normally a couple times and then suddenly spring up on you. Even though this one came up on Getz, he wasn’t making excuses, it was still catchable. He wasn’t in a rush to turn two, it was a catch he should’ve made, but it came up on him, and he missed it.
Mike Moustakas also felt that he blew a play in the 9th. He caught an attempted bunt in the air, but just barely in the air, and held it up to show the home plate umpire. The umpire, Jeff Kellogg, didn’t give Moustakas the call and when Mike threw to first, the delay in making the throw meant the runner was safe.
Mike seemed pretty upset with himself for not making the throw right away. We then did our duty as reporters and made him say that over and over. “I should’ve made the throw. I’ve got to make that throw. I’ve got to finish the play and make the throw.” (If you think it sounds unpleasant to make an upset kid describe his mistake repeatedly, trust me, it’s far worse in person.)
So if one guy doesn’t lose a ball game, neither do two: so who else do we look at?
Bruce Chen threw well, but threw some fat pitches that got hammered. Billy Butler got thrown out in the 5th when he led off the inning with a single that he tried to turn into a double and was out by quite a bit. Both he and Hosmer struck out with a runner on third in the third. Hosmer also grounded out with a runner in scoring position in the 4th. Francoeur did the same thing in 7th and Gordon did the same thing in the 9th with two runners in scoring position.
On the other hand if they’d won, we’d be talking about Chen throwing pretty well in his return, the three outfield assists, Brayan Pena’s great plate appearance that drove in the first run, his block of a pitch with a runner on third and his block of the plate on a throw from Escobar. We’d also talk about Getz getting a couple more hits and Jeff Francoeur’s booming home run that threated to take out a window in the Hall of Fame.
Every game has a mix of good and bad. It’s a team effort and this team effort came up short. Just remember the last run given up counts for exactly the same amount as the first run given up. Just because we remember it better, doesn’t mean it was more important than what happened in the previous eight innings.
One guy or one play does not lose a ballgame … but a team can.
Before the game Chris Getz talked about the unusual motion Ryan Dempster makes with his glove while delivering a pitch (he waggles it). Getz said Dempster was probably afraid he was tipping pitches and said “screw it, try to read this.”
Billy Butler walked in the 7th with two outs, representing the winning run, but don’t expect to see Jarrod Dyson pinch running in that situation. Ned Yost told me he doesn’t like to make that move until the 8th because he doesn’t want to cost Bill an at-bat. Sure enough, Billy got one more trip to the plate in the 9th, hit a double and then represented the tying run. Dyson looked like he was coming out the dugout before Billy hit second and pinch ran for him.
Butler told me that the reason he only has 32 RBIs is nobody wants him beating them. That also explains all his walks. In the same conversation he said he doesn’t mind the 3-0 green light, but would rather not have it in his first at-bat. He wants to see a pitcher at least once and get a feel for what he has before taking a 3-0 hack.
Greg Holland said the difference between this year and last, is that he’s getting ahead of hitters. Last year he was falling behind and having to come in with a fastball. He worked on his command, now he gets ahead and can then expand the zone and use all his pitches.
Danny Duffy said in Triple A he can get by with a fastball and changeup, but in the big leagues he has to work harder and use everything in his arsenal. That’s the argument for keeping him here: he’ll learn faster in the big leagues.
Felipe Paulino said he decided to work “backwards” to the Diamondbacks the other night. The usual approach is to establish the fastball and then go to your breaking stuff. Pitching backwards is breaking stuff first, then fastballs. Felipe said he was trying to change his approach since the last time they saw him, but the Diamondbacks appeared to be sitting on his breaking stuff this time, not his fastball.
Paulino said you get one pretty good slider whacked and you think it’s luck. Another, maybe it’s coincidence. It keeps happening and you think maybe they’re looking for that pitch. Once he decided that they were, he went back to getting ahead with his fastball and then throwing off-speed.
So when they talk about adjustments, they can mean inning to inning. Recognizing the pattern of what’s happening to you and changing your approach as quickly as possible is key.
The next day
Ned Yost talked about this in the pregame press conference and it seems pretty accurate: the team has the ability to shake off a bad game and come in with a good attitude the next day. I’ve seen it over and over. Let’s hope I see it again tonight.