As you are no doubt aware by now, the Chicago Cubs swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in their first series since the NL Wild Card game. The box score has some very silly-looking slash lines and ERAs, and while the ERA isn’t the end-all/tell-all of Cubs pitching, it’s safe to say that if you look at just about any metric, they’re flat out dominating right now.
I don’t think the Pirates are treating the Cubs like Voldemort like the St. Louis Cardinals were earlier this spring, but I think the Cubs are getting into their heads. Check this play out, for instance…it led to a very critical first strike by the Cubs as Ben Zobrist let loose with an ambush home run. After the game, Andrew McCutchen, who was the victim of that Anthony Rizzo lineout-that-wasn’t, suggested that the official scorer made the wrong call.
In all likelihood McCutchen was just upset about the loss and getting swept by the Cubs, and he took it out on the official scorer. That was play was hardly routine, and yeah, being charged with an error is pretty harsh. So is saying the official scorer should be fired because of it.
My point of view is that the ball was hit right at him, and McCutchen probably misread it due to some weird knuckling action since Rizzo hit it so hard. But I don’t think McCutchen ever had to leave his feet, although I’m not that good at reading line drives from that large a distance either. The official scoring rules from MLB do give the scorer plenty of leeway to call that an error, so that call can be justified.
Another incident happened later on as a blogger documented Sean Rodriguez‘s at-bat against Pedro Strop. I missed this as I was teaching and on GameDay at the time (I know, bad teacher), so you’ll just have to read it for yourself.
I guess after getting thoroughly beaten down, being outscored 20-5 over the series, even the most hardy of Pirates will lose their composure. At the end of the day, the Cubs got the win and more breathing room up on top of the division, and that’s okay with me.