Improved Box Score: Cubs 5, Rockies 4 – September 11, 2023

Oh my God. That was a rollercoaster. I’m dizzy. Be happy!

where do I start?

Michael Fulmer, fresh off the injured list, with no rehab assignment, is tasked with getting the final two games tonight by one run. His first five pitches were nowhere near the strike zone. His sixth hit was a no-hitter. Link range per second. Winning race at the start.

So, Tommy Hottovy came out to talk to Fulmer, ostensibly to stop time so Mark Leiter Jr. could get hot quickly, but it all happened too quickly. Fulmer had to face at least one more batter. Naturally, this guy hit. Then the next guy? Hit him too to end the matter. I was in happy shock.

I can’t calm myself down.

As for how the Cubs got there with a lead in the ninth in the first place, Yan Gomez – for the second time tonight – was all sorts of clutch:

This in turn came after the Cubs had given up a lead two innings earlier, and it felt like things were about to get really bad.

It wasn’t like it was much of a lead, especially at Coors Field. But going two innings with two outs and nobody out in the seventh inning and down the order…that sucks. Really bad. It can’t happen.

It’s easy to see what the Cubs like about Jose Quaas when you watch him, and it’s not just the unorthodox weapon delivery. Some of the swings he gets are uncomfortable. That’s the kind of discomfort that tells you hitters often don’t see it well. He struck out the first two batters he faced tonight.

And then the wheels came off, because it got too wild. So, pretty wild. If he had been a finished product like that, he wouldn’t have been available to the Cubs. But at the end of a playoff run, I don’t know how you can count on him in those high-leverage spots, especially when he doesn’t have his slider available (which he shouldn’t have tonight, because he kept coming back to the fastball even after they saw it 6 times per racket).

Cuas and the Cubs were lucky that Gomez came on when he did, that Drew Smiley hit really well, and that Michael Fulmer flipped the switch when he did.

You’ll never convince me that “hitting the ball hard” is a bad strategy, but my goodness, it hasn’t worked for the Cubs the last five days! Just some of the worst BABIP luck you can imagine, and it continued tonight, especially through the first four innings, when they turned four batted balls with better than .580xBA into outfield. Glad it didn’t make a difference tonight, but yeah. The Cubs could have easily had 10+ runs tonight.

Hey, we got to see Pete Crow Armstrong make his major league debut, as a runner, though he was thrown out to third on a stolen base attempt. He made a huge jump, but he made the best throw and mark you could ever make. It was a “welcome to the show, kid” moment. No doubt he faced many of these in the Alawite minors. He takes a beating later on as well, something I expect he’s not been tasked with doing often in events.

Random, but here’s how one of the Cubs’ careers ended (Pin the Yan Gomez part of it for now), on the hardest home run all year in baseball, and this is what it took to get Seiya Suzuki to win an eyelash:

The Cubs certainly did themselves a huge disservice tonight, but they also had some really bad luck. I know you’re probably tired of hearing that lately, but if you’re watching it, it’s true.

Anyway, back to the good stuff, especially tonight’s battery…

Full box score.

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