Cubs show scrappiness we haven't seen in years in 14-inning marathon loss
By Jake Misener
Boy, I can't even tell you the last time I watched a game that went 14 innings. Major League Baseball's rules overhaul in recent years have made contests like the one we saw Sunday between the Cubs and Marlins a largely forgotten spectacle - and even though Chicago came up short, it was a contest worth taking note of for several reasons.
Before we dig into some specifics, another tip of the cap to rookie Hayden Wesneski, who allowed just one run over six frames - doing more than enough to keep the hopes of a sweep alive before giving way to the bullpen. He's settled into a nice groove lately and that's been great to see.
New-look Cubs are gelling, taking things one at-bat, one inning, one game at a time early in 2023
One day after rallying for a come-from-behind win in the eighth, the Cubs clawed their way back from a 2-0 deficit, this time in the ninth, capped by a first-pitch single off the bat of oft-maligned first baseman Eric Hosmer. In extras, Chicago and Miami traded blows back-and-forth, starting right away in the tenth.
After Joey Wendle gave the Marlins the lead with an RBI triple that plated Jean Segura, of course, Nico Hoerner singled to center to score Matt Mervis to tie things up and keep the game going. Then, in the 13th, after Miami took the lead on a sac fly, Ian Happ laced an RBI single to tie things at 4-4. Unfortunately the end came in a frustrating, anti-climactic manner: a balk by Adbert Alzolay that allowed Garrett Hampson to score what proved to be the winning tally in the top of the 14th.
Sure, that wasn't the way we wanted things to end - but the Cubs, despite their inabiity to get that big hit, despite several chances in extras, fought right down to the bitter end. They showed a scrappy mentality that we haven't seen in some time, even prior to the mid-2021 sell-off that kicked off the rebuild that lasted until this year.
It was very much a 'next man up' mentality, both at the dish and in the bullpen. Matt Mervis made several great picks at first, not to mention picking up a pair of knocks, Nick Madrigal contributed on both sides of the ball and it just felt like everyone in the dugout was on the top step for every pitch in those extra innings.
A sweep would have felt good - especially because it would have meant returning the favor to Miami after the Fish swept the Cubs last weekend in South Florida. But taking two of three is a nice way to start the homestand and, given how weak the division is, this scrappy, one-day-at-a-time approach could keep this team in the race right down to the end.