Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Enhanced Box Score: Brewers 5, Cubs 2

How quickly a thrilling Cubs game can become a disappointing one.

Another extra-inning game for the Cubs, and another frustrating loss. The Cubs got the thrilling inside-the-park, game-untying homer from Seiya Suzuki against Josh Hader in the 9th, but it didn’t stick.

First, David Robertson couldn’t lock it down in the 9th. I think it is important to note – for possible trade partners! – that the first hit of the inning was a nothingburger bloop into no man’s land. The rest, well, we’ll just hope those teams weren’t watching. He did strike out the side, though?

Things only got more disappointing in the 10th, as the Cubs got the leadoff single from Rafael Ortega, but free-runner Andrelton Simmons was held at third. I don’t necessarily disagree, because it was a very hard, clean single and it could’ve been way too close at the plate to risk it. Then again, we saw what happened – the Cubs failed to score – so there is a risk in that direction, too.

Maybe none of that would’ve matter anyway, if Victor Caratini was gonna hit a three-run homer. Might’ve been a walk-off in any case.

Justin Steele was brilliant today, with his stuff really baffling the Brewers, and generally avoiding any kind of real drama until the 7th inning. There, he was already approaching 100 pitches and had gotten the first two outs. I really do understand trying to get him through the inning from there – you want him to know he can do it, even as he’s fading – but what I don’t get is why he was permitted to face another batter after he walked Keston Hiura . It was very clear halfway through that plate appearance that Steele was gassed. You could see it in his pitches, you could see it in his body language. But David Ross let him face TWO more batters from there, a rocket double to tie the game, and then another walk. Fortunately, Brandon Hughes got Christian Yelich to ground out to end the inning.

I do get the countervailing interests in working on player development and pushing guys like Steele and Keegan Thompson, but I feel like David Ross consistently is letting them go just a bit too long. (I’m open to being corrected by the organization when it comes to the developmental importance of letting them go “too long” this year.)

Nelson Velazquez gave the Cubs the early 1-0 lead on his first big league homer, which was also a nice moment in this one.

Full box score.

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