ST. LOUIS - Friday night was an easy revisionist history moment for Cubs nation.
The result wasn't what they wanted — a 2-1 loss to the rival Cardinals in 10 innings — and it was easy to play back the tape and see where it all went wrong.
For one thing, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and their only run on the evening was a sacrifice fly from starting pitcher Yu Darvish in the second inning.
But there was also a sequence in the decisive bottom of the 10th inning where Cubs reliever Dillon Maples looks to have clearly retired Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader on strikes, only to see Bader trot down to first base with a walk.
This was the final pitch of the at-bat, called a ball by home plate umpire Laz Diaz, even though it clearly looked to be in the zone, both by the naked eye and the NBC Sports Chicago K Zone:
That's a strike. pic.twitter.com/nADQeVWwCK— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) June 1, 2019
It should've been Strike 3 and the second out of the inning. Instead, it put runners at first and second with only one out. Maples walked the next guy to load the bases before Joe Maddon made a pitching change and Steve Cishek gave up the game-ending hit to Matt Carpenter a few pitches later.
After the game, Maddon brought up the missed strike call unprompted while also discussing the lack of offense that has gone hitless in its last 23 plate appearances with runners in scoring position:
"We really need to do a better job of driving in runs," Maddon said. "We wouldn't even be in that position at the end. I guess it's like 0 for the last 23, apparently. I didn't even know it was that bad. We gotta do a better job right there. Had opportunities early, they kinda went away. Our pitching was outstanding.
"And even Dillon Maples was outstanding, too. The fact that he was placed in that situation after he clearly struck Bader out, which would've totally turned into a different moment for him. I totally believe that. That's the kind of thing that bums me out. Of course, listen, we were not good offensively, granted. But to have pitches like that taken away in a crucial moment, now my guy's gotta go home and feel bad about himself tonight, which I don't like whatsoever.
"And it wasn't even a borderline pitch. It was a strike. That's the kinda stuff you wanna see something done about. And I'm still not advocating electronic strike zone. I'm just advocating let's go. Let's go.
"You cannot miss that pitch in that situation. Here's a guy that's ascending to the major leagues as a relief pitcher, doing a wonderful job, does his job and does not get rewarded for it. That's what kind of pisses me off, quite frankly."
Maples wasn't so quick to blame the umpire, even though he clearly was frustrated with the call (you can see his reaction on the video above).
"I just made a close pitch and obviously didn't get the call I wanted, so I was a little upset," he said. "You gotta move on."
This is Maples' second stint in the big leagues this season after making three separate trips to the majors from Triple-A Iowa last year. He's still trying to find his way in "The Show," but Friday should've been a redeeming night for him.
Instead, he has to worry about trying to move on mentally from another tough moment and he might not get too many more opportunities in the majors right now with Pedro Strop nearing a return.
The Cubs, meanwhile, enter June having dropped six of their last eight games.