Perhaps we'll look back on this 4-3 loss someday and smile. Maybe this is the step the baseball gods had to take to ensure that the Cubs finished a game ahead of the Rockies at season's end and didn't get their paws on a certain draft pick that would have netted them a certain star player we haven't even heard of yet. These beings working in cruel and mysterious ways, and the Cubs are probably the only team they hate more than the Rockies.
But for now, you can only smile upon this game for its absurdity, which is actually a pretty darn good reason too.
John Baker got the win after pitching a scoreless top of the 16th inning, which is noteworthy because he's also the backup catcher who walked and scored the winning run in the bottom half of the frame. Baker couldn't touch 80 MPH on the radar gun; but the Rockies, who went the last 15 straight innings without scoring a run, didn't even come close to pushing a man across the plate.
Of course, the game never should have gotten to that point. In the top of the tenth, the Rockies had men on second and third with just one out following a Charlie Culberson double, which by itself should be added to the vault of crazy things from this game. Unfortunately, they were unable to execute a suicide squeeze play with DJ LeMahieu at the plate and Morneau was caught trying to steal home. On the next pitch, LeMahieu struck out swinging to end the threat and pushed the game towards insanity.
By the time this monstrosity ended, it was past 1:30 a.m. in Chicago, making it the longest game time wise for both Wrigley Field history, and Rockies' franchise history. Innings wise, the 22-inning game from April 17th, 2008 in which Tulo doubled home the winning run in the top of the 22nd against San Diego is still by for the longest.
That game however was much crisper. This took 556 total pitches to finish. Cubs' starter Edwin Jackson took 118 pitches just to get through four innings, but the Rockies really let him off the hook, leaving men in scoring position and failing to score in the second, third, and fourth innings. In all, the offense, which is usually the strong point of this team, racked up a WPA of -1.268. Justin Morneau was the only hitter to post a positive score at .005, and even he just barely made it.
Jorge De La Rosa started this game in what could be his final time on the mound for the Rockies (although that seems unlikely at this point) and he got better as the game went on. Nine of the first 20 batter he faced reached, but he settled down and sent each of his last seven men to the bench to salvage a decent outing. His final line came in at six innings of three run baseball on seven strikeouts, six hits, and just one walk.
In total, the teams combined to use 18 pitchers, who walked 16 batters, hit another four, and only allowed a grand total of 21 hits, which is really low for a 16 inning game between two pitching staffs.
This game had just about everything, including a LaTroy Hawkins plate appearance with no batting gloves and what looked like instructions not to take the bat off his shoulder. It also featured Tyler Matzek, who is supposed to start Thursday's game, in the bottom of the final inning when the Rockies' bullpen ran out of arms.
On the other end of the spectrum, there were two excellent defensive play in this game in center field from Charlie Blackmon.
The madness finally ended in the bottom of the 16th after Blackmon was moved to right field and couldn't make a third spectacular play to gun down John Baker at the plate on Starlin Castro's sacrifice fly.
What a mess!
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