You know, the Chicago Cubs lost the first game last series, too. That ended up okay. Let’s hear what Joe Maddon had to say:
I didn’t watch the game because I don’t have cable, but I did listen to the radio and followed along on replays afterwards. It seemed from tracking the pitches on Gameday that Matt Harvey was pumping the zone most of the night, and the Cubs hitters couldn’t just wait and find a pitch to drive because Harvey had command of all his pitches. That is rough for even a Hall-of-Fame stacked lineup, much less a young (but overachieving) Cubs lineup. I did like that Kyle Schwarber destroyed a baseball again, but the hope is that next time there are some guys on base when he launches.
One thing that folks were grousing about was Starlin Castro‘s RBI hit:
Anthony Rizzo scored on the play, but it seemed at least one chunk of baseball Twitter was wondering why Castro didn’t get to third base. Here’s a bunch of what I said:
Based on this, he couldn’t have gone to 3B because he couldn’t make a hard cut around 2B due to where cut off was.
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) October 18, 2015
Ball was backed up well, so advancing to 3B was risky. Just my opinion though, only saw this replay twice initially. — Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) October 18, 2015
Joe Sheehan had another take:
With no one out, bad risk to try to go to third. https://t.co/qjsfGqHNh9
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) October 18, 2015
Looking at the video again, and this might be because TBS is just bad, the ball hung up for a bit before we all realized that Juan Lagares wasn’t getting to it. Castro couldn’t run full tilt until Rizzo, who was on first, could turn on the jets once Lagares misjudged the ball. Despite the misjudgment, Lagares got the ball back to the cutoff man right as Castro got to second base, which is why Castro put on the brakes and started clapping. The throw home was high, but backed up well by Harvey, so it’s not like Castro would have gotten to third. He started, but couldn’t advance because he would have been thrown out by a mile. He also read the ball coming in to the cutoff man right away, right in front of him, so trying to go to third would have been dumb in my opinion.
The other play that got a lot of attention was Castro getting gunned down at the plate by Yoenis Cespedes on what many (including myself) considered a poor send by the third base coach:
I couldn’t see the send on the replay, but Joe Maddon addressed it in the first video. There are a couple issues I had with the send, and one had to do with Cespedes’ arm. The other was that Castro isn’t actually that fast. While not exactly directly part of the send, it was weird that Javier Baez didn’t attempt to go to second base on the throw, which was definitely going all the way home and Javy could see it right in front of him. Castro’s cut around third base was too steep and again, he’s not that fast, so that really cost him there. The argument is that with David Ross and Jon Lester up, it made sense to send, but my opinion is that you only really need a ball in play to score Castro from third. Then again, Ross has been striking out a third of the time and Jon Lester isn’t exactly Madison Bumgarner at the plate (and Bumgarner isn’t that good of a hitter anyway, since he’s a pitcher). So I begrudgingly consider that send to be at least justifiable even if I still hated it.
Anyway, the Mets still have to win four, and the Cubs have six more games to win four before the Mets do.