Javy Báez benched, Adbert Alzolay returns amid eventful evening for the Cubs
There was no shortage of interesting storylines during Monday night’s Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
Javy Báez was pulled from his team’s 4-0 loss after losing track of the outs on the basepaths in the bottom of the 4th inning. He was on first base with 1 out and broke on the crack of the bat as Anthony Rizzo skied a routine fly ball to left field.
Báez continued running and was halfway to third base when the ball was caught, allowing Cleveland to turn an easy double play to end the inning. In the top half of the 5th, Sergio Alcántara was inserted into Báez’s position in the lineup.
Ross spoke to Báez in the dugout after the incident:
“We just gotta make sure we’re focused and locked in during the game,” Ross said of the incident. “Sometimes, our frustrations can distract us a little bit. We had a good conversation and I think that’s behind us.
“Javy’s really important to this team and he’s a leader on this team and sets a good example every time he’s on the field. One of the guys that I rely on to set a good example for all these guys. I think highly of him and his skillset. I think it’s a little bit of lack of concentration — we talked about it and that’s behind us.”
Báez admitted he was surprised to be pulled from the game but took responsibility for the baserunning mistake and stood by his manager.
“I just respect his decision,” Báez said. “I can’t go against him. I blame it on myself. I lost count of the outs. We talked about it and we’re on the same page and I’ll be there tomorrow to help the team.”
Ross felt like it was a rare moment for the star shortstop and affirmed he was not trying to make an example out of Báez or send a message to the rest of the team.
“I think there’s more that led up to that decision that you guys don’t know about,” Ross said. “That guy plays his butt off and brings it 99.9% of the time. It’s not about setting an example for a star player that’s a big part of this team. That’s not it. It’s just, let’s get somebody in there that’s fresh and let him regroup. He’ll be better for it tomorrow — we’ll all be better for it.”
Even though Ross felt like it was the right call in the moment, that didn’t make it any easier to swallow.
“It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That’s a pit that was in my stomach the entire game.”
Meanwhile, Adbert Alzolay made his first start in two weeks after an IL stint due to a blister on his pitching hand. He surrendered only 3 hits in 4.2 innings but 2 of those landed in the Wrigley Field bleachers.
Alzolay struck out 5 batters and walked 1, throwing 69 pitches.
His presence in the rotation will be huge for the Cubs moving forward, even if the team didn’t get the result it wanted Monday night.
Ross and the Cubs have been searching for consistency from their starting staff recently and Alzolay has provided exactly that when he’s been in the rotation. He has a 4.19 ERA and 1.03 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 62.1 innings.
The Cubs offense had no trouble getting on base Monday night (6 hits, 4 walks) but they couldn’t get the big hit to plate a run. The leadoff batter reached base for the Cubs in each inning from the 3rd through the 7th but the lineup was unable to break through.
The Cubs have dropped 6 of their last 8 games against the Mets, Marlins and Indians. As a team, the Cubs are hitting .143 and averaging 1.8 runs per game over that 8-game stretch.