Kyle Schwarber’s reaction, bullpen’s struggles mark Cubs’ loss
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The final pitch of the Cubs’ 6-5 loss Saturday to the Angels was a viral moment. After all, footage of a furious Kyle Schwarber being restrained by Javy Baez after being called out on a checked swing to end the game is made for Twitter.
Whether Schwarber had a case as he was held back from third-base umpire Gabe Morales, the call on a 3-2 count stranded the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position.
‘‘I took a look at it, and I didn’t go the first time; I didn’t go the second time,’’ Schwarber said. ‘‘If you’re not 100 percent sure, you can’t call it. . . . Obviously, I was frustrated. Who’s not going to be frustrated when they end the game like that, and you’re that close to sniffing out a run? It was just frustrating. I just don’t think that it was a good call.’’
But the Cubs needed to rally because of walks, something much less entertaining to watch but an issue that has been around all season. Cubs pitchers issued seven unintentional walks, including six by the bullpen. In 51 innings, Cubs relievers have walked 38 hitters.
‘‘It’s hard when you’re giving up runs, too many runners,’’ manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘Just the walk. The walk has hurt us before today. The walk hurt us again today, if you play the tape back. I’d much rather the other team would just bludgeon you with hits, as opposed to them just receiving walks.’’
Five innings from a laboring Kyle Hendricks didn’t help, though he only walked one.
‘‘Kyle was not that good today, and our bullpen in general, we just walked too many guys,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘We just walked too many folks, and that put too many guys up to the plate for them. But the battle was good.’’
The battle came out most in the ninth. Trailing 6-4 and facing Angels closer Cody Allen, the Cubs rallied. Anthony Rizzo drew a one-out walk, and Baez poked a hit to center and stretched it into his third double of the day, putting the tying run in scoring position. Jason Heyward then hit a fly near the foul line in short left. The Angels’ Brian Goodwin slid for it but saw the ball glance off his glove, pulling the Cubs to 6-5.
The Angels wanted to challenge for interference because a fan appeared to reach out for the ball, but manager Brad Ausmus said he didn’t ask for a review because their phone went out.
‘‘Unfortunately, our replay phone went down right then,’’ Ausmus said. ‘‘They couldn’t get a hold of us. I don’t know if it would have been overturned for fan interference, but it was certainly something we would have challenged.’’
Willson Contreras then struck out to set up Schwarber’s at-bat.
Baez, meanwhile, briefly had to act like a football player and hold back Schwarber.
‘‘It could have gone either way, I think,’’ Baez said. ‘‘I think it was the emotion of the game. Everybody was hyper. I think the umpire called it a little too early. That’s what got Schwarber fired up. It happens.’’
Maddon, as is his way, used the moment to advocate for an electronic method to decide checked swings.
‘‘That would be much more interesting, and I would prefer that,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘Let the umpires call the game like they always do. Let’s figure out a way to control checked swings.’’
Schwarber wasn’t so sure that would happen, but he still wasn’t thrilled with how things ended.
‘‘I was a little hot,’’ he said. ‘‘Able to calm down now. Wasn’t the happiest person in the world.’’