Going into extra innings in both halves of a doubleheader means some pitchers are going to have to double up. The incorporation of second-place Manfred Man and the Cubs’ inability to tag that free runner make late relief work a dangerous proposition. After failing to score in either the 10th or 11th innings on Saturday afternoon, the Cubs hadn’t recorded a run in 13 of their last 14 overtime innings.
That left the door open for the Mets, who landed an unearned run against Mychal Givens when a sack fly tagged Luis Guillorme from third. Forgive me for not breaking down the sequence of events that put Guillorme in this place, but suffice it to say that the Mets leveraged their edge for a minimal advantage that turned out to be the deciding factor.
Neither team was unable to do much in Game 2, so the teams entered the 10th inning all tied at two runs apiece. The Cubs again turned to Givens, who allowed a single to Starling Marte before intentionally stepping on Francisco Lindor to load the bases and set up the possibility of a double play.
With the count 0-2 over Pete Alonso, Givens came in with a fastball that barely ticked the first baseman’s elbow pad that extended well beyond his actual elbow. If Alonso hadn’t been wearing this EvoShield product, the terrain would have just sailed safe and things could have taken a decidedly different path. Or maybe Givens threw one that Alonso destroyed for a grand slam. Either way, I hate the idea of protective gear serving this purpose.
The scoring run was unearned because it was the free runner, as was the tally the Mets added when Daniel Norris, in relief to face a southpaw, missed a pick pitch at second. So while the Cubs were finally able to push a run in their half, it wasn’t enough to save Givens from suffering his second loss of the night. Two losses with no earned runs allowed, yuck.
According to Elias Sports, it’s the first time — or since both leagues began tracking earned runs in 1913 — that a pitcher has lost two games in one day without allowing an earned run. Although Givens was far from dominant in his two outings, giving up a hit in the first and both a hit and a walk in the second, it serves as an all-too-perfect footnote to a team that found new ways to lose at every turn.
It’s not the worst Cubs team we’ve ever seen and, despite what some may choose to believe or interpret, Jed Hoyer didn’t have that in mind when he put together the roster. While it was always flawed, it quickly turned into a long, live-action portrayal of Murphy’s Law that doesn’t seem like it’s going to end anytime soon.