Cubs Get A Strike Away From Victory

Kris Bryant Chicago Tribune

They were one strike away. One strike! The Cubs succumbed to the Cardinals after their heated rivals squawked their way back to a 6-5 victory.

There are a few things that someone can take away from the series. There’s the high road and say that the Cubs pushed the mighty St. Louis Cardinals to the edge making a statement that they’re contending for the Division lead. Some may say that the Cubs still have a long way to go or some folks might add that was a hard fought series proving that this division rivalry is one of the best in professional sports.

I like the last one.

“We did so many good things,” Joe Maddon said. “I can’t walk away and be all upset. Of course, Strop would have liked to made a better pitch there and he didn’t. Peralta’s pretty good and he hit a home run. It happens. Regardless of who it happened against, I’ll keep repeating the refrain that we can play with anybody. We proved it the last four days and we’ll continue to move forward.”

He’s right. The Cubs shouldn’t feel mad or frustrated going toe to toe with the division champs before finally losing a heartbreaker.

One strike!

Both teams played like the playoffs and the thing I loved about this series was that the Cardinals were shaking in their stirrups.

“We should’ve won tonight,” Chicago starter Jason Hammel said. “They stole one at the end. We’re very confident in what we can do. It’s not that we’re surprised — we know we’re a good team and we’ve been playing good ball all year. We’ve played close ballgames and won a lot of them, too.”

To add insult to injury, the Cardinals are playing the Pirates today so the Cubs won’t have a chance to gain any ground. On Friday, the Crosstown Classic is set to begin and with the Pirates/Cardinals series continuing, there’s some ample opportunity for the Cubs to defeat the wishy washy White Sox and hopefully move up in the standings.

Hey, what do you think of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the Home Run Derby? Geez, I don’t know who to cheer for?

Believe it!

7 comments

  1. rlincolnharris · July 9, 2015

    putting Strop in the game was a huge mistake. He’s simply not a closer. protecting Motte by not sending him out in the ninth is one thing, but leaving him in the game after a four-pitch walk was a terrible decision by Maddon. The loss last night is squarely on his shoulders.

    Like

    • rlincolnharris · July 9, 2015

      Leaving Strop in the game is what I was trying to say. the walk, and the fact that Peralta is a .417 lifetime hitter against Strop before that home run make the decision to not go with someone else completely inexplicable to me.

      Like

    • Mark Gauthier · July 9, 2015

      You got a point. Specifically when Maddon spun it around by saying “We can’t walk away being all that upset” So you’re right. Cubs have a closing problem that needs to be addressed soon.

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      • rlincolnharris · July 11, 2015

        Motte’s not a closer if he can’t work on consecutive days. And Strop must never close again,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Gauthier · July 11, 2015

        I think that’s the hole they need to fill come the trade deadline

        Liked by 1 person

  2. rlincolnharris · July 11, 2015

    I’m going to write all this up if I have the time, but Maddon had 5 options available to him after the walk to Carpenter in the 9th, including Strop. Here are the lifetime OPS numbers for the five options against Peralta as a hitter (with batting average in parens, because I like that too):

    Strop: 1.181 (.417 average)
    Grimm: 1.462 (.538 average)
    Motte: 1.000 (.500 average)
    Jackson: .708 (.282 average)
    Russell: .600 (.200 average)

    Motte’s numbers are based on 2 PAs against Peralta, and Grimm’s are based on 5 PAs, so they aren’t large enough to say very much. And as bad as Strop was against Peralta, Grimm would have been even worse. But why not turn to Jackson in that spot? I never thought I’d say such a thing, but he’s faced Peralta 43 times, more than all but a handful of pitchers in the majors. Peralta has 11 hits, but only 1 extra base hit against Jackson. So there’s a pretty solid case that can be made for letting Jackson pitch to Peralta in the 9th on Wednesday night.

    The press would have crucified Maddon for making this move, and I can’t guarantee it would have worked out for the best. But for all of the “think outside the box” vibe that Maddon gives off, and his wonkiness when it comes to playing matchups, he really missed this one by a mile. He’s already absolved himself, and nobody else will dig any deeper about it. And if it happened against anybody but the Cardinals, I might let it go, too. But that’s a two-game swing, against the one team we can’t afford that to happen with.

    Hope you have a great day.

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  3. Mark Gauthier · July 13, 2015

    You know, I never thought about but you’re absolutely right. I think Edwin has been underused this season. Good call!

    Like

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