I confess now, as I have several times of late, that I was one of the people
clamoring feverishly excited looking forward to the return of Mike Dunn. I felt like his presence would allow everyone below the now established late inning trio of Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos to move down a notch in the pecking order, and we wouldn't have to be subjected to holding our breath while the likes of Craig Breslow, Jose Urena and Dustin McGowan tried to sporadically hold down the seventh and eighth innings.
Thus far it hasn't really worked out that way, though. In the seventh with the game tied up 4-4, Mike Dunn stepped in to relieve Tom Koehler and got Jason Heyward to fly out...and that would be the end of his effectiveness. Kris Bryant would walk, Ben Zobrist would be hit by a pitch, and Willson Contreras would single to drive in Bryant and put the Cubs up for good. Chris Coghlan would then load the bases before Don Mattingly pulled the plug and inserted Nick Wittgren, who struck out Javier Baez and got Addison Russell to pop out to end the threat. Dunn after tonight holds a 3.52 ERA but a 6.38 FIP, suggesting what your eyes have been telling you is probably true.
Given the result, there are probably more then a few people wondering why Wittgren wasn't inserted in the game in the first place. Clearly, Mattingly wants Dunn to be that bridge arm when the likes of Phelps and Barraclough aren't necessarily available. Perhaps after tonight, he will turn to Wittgren first instead.
So, the Marlins lost. But there were still a few other interesting occurrences in the game. Let's enumerate them!
- Tom Koehler gave up four runs in the first on six hits, including a couple of longballs, some singles and a triple thrown in there by the former Marlin Coghlan. He was getting utterly smashed and didn't look long for the game, but a funny thing happened after that inning was concluded. First, the Marlins immediately tied the game up (more on that in a bit), and second, Koehler settled down nicely and went five more innings giving up only a single hit, two walks, and striking out five before handing the game over to Dunn. Give the man credit; after a horrendous start, he kept the Marlins in the game and gave them a chance to win.
- In the Marlins half of the first, Derek Dietrich reached on an error. Martin Prado and Christian Yelich would get themselves out in short order, but then Marcell Ozuna walked and Giancarlo Stanton walked to load the bases for Justin "Babe" Bour. You know what happened next...or maybe you don't? I'll just show you:
- Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch in the 2nd, because of course he was.
- Javier Baez had a couple of phenomenal plays, I'd suggest going out of your way to look them up. I only mention it because typically players only have one a game, but Baez earned himself a gold star today.
- Ichiro! pinch-hit in the seventh for Nick Wittgren and struck out in his lone appearance.
- Brian Ellington pitched the final two innings in relief and was effective, striking out four and not allowing a single Cub to reach.
Hero of the game: Willson Contreras (.359)
Flounder of the game: Mike Dunn (-.301)
Play of the game: Justin Bour first inning grandslam (.305)