Thursday night’s Chicago Cubs game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was a perfect illustration of why these two teams are where they are.
Some foreshadowing of the type of game it was going to be occurred in the bottom half of the first inning. With Pittsburgh leading 3-0 Rafael Ortega singled and then went to second on a throwing error by the Pirates Wilmer Difo. That alone is not surprising, but the error occurred after the play was over. This guy was routinely throwing the ball to his pitcher.
It took a bad throw by Difo, a lackadaisical effort from his pitcher Mitch Keller, and complete inattention by Pittsburgh’s catcher, Jacob Stallings, to get Ortega to second. Even with three such unlikely occurrences on one play, the bench had to alert Ortega to take the next base.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
You could hear the total disbelief at the remarkable concurrence of miscues in the voice of the Cubs announcers. Difo got the error but it was just a deplorable joint effort from the Bucs.
Unfortunately, the Pirates weren’t done helping the Cubs stumble to a win in this game.
Of the Cubs 12 hits in the game, six of them came in the five run seventh inning when the North Siders caught and passed the Pirates. Pittsburgh would come back to tie the game in the ninth in a series of plays that featured a catcher’s interference.
Two strikeouts and a groundout by the Cubs in the ninth sent the game into extra innings. But fortunately for us, the Pirates were still in a giving mood.
An ill-advised attempt by Cole Tucker to score from third on a ground ball to Frank Schwindel ended the Pirates’ threat in the tenth. In the Cubs half, Jason Heyward got ‘Manfred Man’ Matt Duffy to third on a ground out but two strikeouts need the inning.
Chicago Cubs: Fasten those seatbelts, we’re headed to the eleventh
The Pirates went quietly on a soft line-out, a foul pop and a strikeout in their half of the eleventh inning. Sergio Alcantra opened the Cubs’ half as the manon second. Ortega sacrificed to move him to third. An intentional walk to Schwindel brought the recently scorching hot Ian Happ to the plate.
On the second pitch Happ appears to hit a high pop out to Difo in the infield. Then things got exciting. Difo appears to lose the ball and it drops to the ground allowing Alcantra to streak home with the winning run.
It’s possible that back in Pittsburgh, some distraught, long suffering Pirates fan had seen enough and in response attempted to end it all by throwing himself into one of the three rivers. Inspired by his team’s ineptitude, he probably missed hitting water.