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Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2 – July 28, 2023 – Bleacher Nation

I was on my feet for that 9th inning like it was dang October, man. And even then, I had no idea it was going to end LIKE THAT.

You know what? Let’s watch it again:

My lord. How do I even type out thoughts now?

Just gonna scattershot … hope this all makes sense …

That’s seven wins in a row, and the Cubs are now a game OVER .500. Freaking awesome. That win MAY have just locked things in as buyers, but let’s just say I’d like to see another one this weekend juuuuuust in case. Because boy do I want this team to buy/stay together.

The Hayden Wesneski start turned out to be a true opener situation, with him going just the first two innings. He gave up a leadoff homer to Lars Nootbaar – a lefty, and we know that’s his specific issue – but then he cruised from there, looking really dang good. Obviously it was a pre-planned two-inning outing, but I really would’ve liked to have seen him get a chance to go longer.

Drew Smyly came in for the piggyback, and he ALSO gave up a first batter home run to Lars Nootbaar. Get outta here guy. And then Smyly was very good the rest of the way. Need to see that bounce-back from him. Huge.

Also huge: Julian Merryweather. He’s been good all year, but he has been especially critical lately.

Patrick Wisdom, sans mustache, hit a homer. I guess that wasn’t the source of his power after all.

The Cubs had two very big chances to add insurance runs, and since all is well that ends well, we can just say that the failure made the ending all the more enjoyably dramatic.

The Cubs tied the game on a Dansby Swanson sac fly in the 6th, and then took the lead when Trey Mancini followed later in the inning with a bases-loaded single. With two outs, Cody Bellinger was sent from second, but it was a rocket right to Tyler O’Neill in left field, who got a Sunday hop, made a perfect throw, and Bellinger was easily out at the plate. I was 50/50 on the send, especially with two outs. I almost always err on the side of aggressiveness (need, what, a 40% chance of success for it to be worth sending versus holding and hoping for more?). That was a really close one, though.

Cubs had another chance to add on in the top of the 9th, with the first two reaching and Miguel Amaya up. David Ross asked for the sac bunt, which I do *understand* in that spot in a one-run game, but I still hate it – Amaya got down a bad, but not atrocious, bunt and it still turned into a double-play (didn’t help that Amaya didn’t bust it out of the box and it was a bang-bang play on both ends). Even if it hadn’t been a double play, the chance at a force at third is always so easy when there are two on.

I want to give big ups to the defense in this one, because it wasn’t just Tauchman’s catch that saved runs. There was this play from Swanson that kept the tying run off the board in the 6th:

And then there was the double-play in the 9th that set up Tauchman’s catch. Adbert Alzolay had allowed the first two to reach on singles, and Brendan Donovan pulled a groundball into the hole between second and first. Nico Hoerner went far back to his left to get the ball – a play where I’m convinced 99% of second basemen don’t even TRY to go to second with the subsequent throw – made a perfect and fast turn and throw, Swanson turned it quickly, and they got the double-play. It was the kind of play you shout very excitedly about, and I don’t want it to get ENTIRELY drowned out by Tauchman’s catch.

Full box score.

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