Maybe I just forget every season, or I truly didn’t realize how torturous series in Denver are. Or maybe it was not wanting to lose the buzz from that homestand so quickly, and maybe losing just two of three doesn’t do that. I leave that to you. But good god, you’re never comfortable, sure something will go wrong, and the more you watch them you’re sure the Rockies are some gimmick team that are helpless outside their own environs. It feels cheap in a way.
Anyway, each team got a blowout and the Rockies got the coin-flip. While the massive bullpen meltdowns are no more damaging, though harder to watch, it’s the slow leaks that feel worse. Sure, Montgomery just hung one pitch that got hit to goddamn Telluride, and then Cishek was the victim of some fiendish BABIP Kung Fu Treachery with Murphy’s ball hitting the motherfucking bag. Maybe Rizzo doesn’t get there anyway, but I’m willing to bet he would have. Even McMahon’s game-winning hit was a product of Coors. You can say all that.
But that’s the problem. Even when the pen isn’t actively lighting itself on fire it still leaks a run here or there, and in close games that’s all it takes when the other team has a decent pen. Montgomery might not be as dependable as he was, and his 5.17 ERA and 1.7 WHIP suggest he’s not. Perhaps the yo-yoing of his role has finally taken its toll.
The Cubs still have a few weeks to survive until Craig Kimbrel arrives, and even then the pen won’t be sorted unless Carl Edwards Jr. finally finds the fountain of control, Cishek proves he’s not still dragging from last year, and either Maples finds that same fountain or they acquire someone or Brandon Morrow actually comes up for air. It’s the only thing holding this team back.
The Two Obs
-Schwarber now tickling a .900 OPS out of the leadoff spot. Everyone can kiss my ass and call it a love story.
-It’s funny how we feel differently about Yu Darvish‘s start than we do about Jon Lester‘s on Sunday, even though they were both four runs over six innings. Obviously, one held the opponent down to give his team a chance to come back while the other coughed up a lead. But that’s mitigated by this being Coors Field. Darvish didn’t walk anyone, which is a big step. Of late, Yu is losing his slider less, and his straight fastball more, which is probably a little easier to control. It’s getting there, and while he might be the highest-paid starter which makes his #5 status feel wrong, it’s still a hell of a fifth starter to have if that’s how things are right now.
–Cole Hamels got half-whiffs on any change-up the Rockies swung at today, which is probably the only way to get out of that dungeon alive. Your curve is going to be affected, but your change won’t. Hamels has been nails his last three starts, which makes it unfortunate he’s the only one the Cubs won’t get to use against the Gashouse Gorillas this weekend.
-Boy, Victor Caratini is putting to rest those overcooked fears from Spring Training that Willson would get too tired come the end of the year, huh? Caratini has also been a plus-framer so far this year, whereas Contreras has been just about even.
-Heyward is a good weekend from getting up over an .800 OPS again, which would be more than acceptable.
-Quintana has shied away from using his change the past two starts, both against the Rockies. Both starts saw him give up three runs but one was in over seven innings where he didn’t get out of the fifth last night. When he doesn’t use that change, he becomes a two-pitch pitcher which is a real problem when he can’t locate the fastball.
-Boy the Rockies get red-assed, huh? To be fair the whole thing was dumb. They weren’t trying to hit Kris Bryant twice in a game, and I don’t know how hitting Arenado makes Bryant un-hit or will prevent anyone from hitting Bryant again. We really think a pitcher on another team is even going to know about this, much less think, “I’m not going to throw inside to one of the best hitters in the game because they might plunk my guy?” Awfully complicated. Baez putting one 450 feet away is how you do it. Do it more often.