Cubs Complete Sweep of Marlins After Ramos Meltdown

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Aug 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur (right) scores the game winning run off a wild pitch to left fielder Willson Contreras (left) against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Cubs won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur (right) scores the game winning run off a wild pitch to left fielder Willson Contreras (left) against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Cubs won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Well Marlins fans, be glad this series at Wrigley field is over. I know I am.

After going into Wednesday’s game 53-0 when leading after 8 innings, AJ Ramos had a pretty miserable performance for Miami to blow a two-run lead, resulting in a 5-4 loss and a Cubs sweep. I don’t think manager Don Mattingly did Ramos any favors either, but we’ll get to that later.

Before we go to the overarching negative aspects of this series, and game in particular, let’s look at some of the positives.

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It was nice to see Dee Gordon get back to creating havoc in a Dee Gordon-esque way. Gordon was able to compile three hits on Wednesday afternoon, all while not a single ball made it to the outfield. A bunt single and two other infield hits are a perfect example of when Gordon is ticking. Combine this with two stolen bases, and it was a great day for Dee.

If he can continue to get back to his 2015 form, that would be huge for a team that needs some spark on the basepaths in terms of speed and electric plays.

Another Marlin that had a solid day was Christian Yelich.

Yelich, the most consistent, and arguably well-rounded player on Miami, was also his classic self at Wrigley yesterday afternoon. He was able to notch three hits, one leaving the yard, on his way to 2 key RBI for Miami.

Jeff Mathis got a homerun and 2 RBI as well, which is a surprising fact all in itself.

The Jekyll and Hyde performer that is Tom Koehler brought his good stuff yesterday. I’m taking 6 innings and only one run given up to the best team in the NL all day. The 30-year old is the epitome of an average pitcher in the MLB, so any day where he puts up good numbers needs to be taken advantage of by the bullpen.

This was not the case on Wednesday, however.

After a nice 7th inning by Kyle Barraclough – who was a phenomenal return for Steve Cishek last season, by the way – it went downhill.

I was alright with giving up Chris Paddack, a potential future stud, for Fernando Rodney. Since Miami is contending and needs a reliable bullpen, giving up a low minor leaguer with potential is part of the business.

Rodney needs to return to the player he was in San Diego, and quickly. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Rodney needs to return to the player he was in San Diego, and quickly. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

What I am not alright with is how Fernando Rodney has performed since coming to Miami.

After giving up one earned run all year before the trade (yes you read that right), Rodney has struggled as the setup man for the Fish. The disparity in his performances can be seen in his ERA numbers, raising from a 0.31 mark in San Diego to a 4.80 while in South Beach.

His struggles continued in the 8th inning as he gave up one run to cut the Marlins lead to two. After escaping a jam, Rodney proved to keep the game looking like it would be a win for Miami.

Then came the 9th inning. It is no new sight to see AJ Ramos struggle and get himself into trouble with lack of control. What is a new sight, however, is to see him actually blow the game.

Ramos couldn’t find the strikezone and ultimately ended up in a situation with runners on 2nd and 3rd base with a one run lead.

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This is where I think Don Mattingly mishandled the game.

With Ramos reaching a three ball count on his first five batters, Mattingly decided to intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo to load the bases with two outs. I would much prefer to have Ramos attack Rizzo and not have the option to walk in the tying run.

Which is exactly what happened when Ramos walked Ben Zobrist to tie the game.

Here I come, Colorado. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Here I come, Colorado. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

At this point, it seemed inevitable that a Cubs sweep was coming, and it was achieved two pitches later when Ramos continued his wild day with a “walkoff wild pitch”.

Obviously this wasn’t an ideal series for Miami, but no need for overreaction. The team will move onto Colorado, and you should to. We’re still right in the thick of things in the NL playoff picture.

With Colorado coming, expect some big things from Giancarlo this weekend.

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