ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Seiya Suzuki #27 of the Chicago Cubs makes a fielding error as he fails to catch this fly ball by Sean Murphy #12 of the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Truist Park on September 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Matt Olson #28 and Forrest Wall #73 score on the error.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Seiya Suzuki’s Fly Ball Whiff Could Ruin Cubs' Season

Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki missed a routine fly ball that could have major playoff implications in the National League.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki could ultimately have cost his team a shot at the playoffs.

It's rare to see a routine fly ball not caught in an MLB game. It's even more rare for that missed fly ball to potentially cost a team their season. Yet, that's exactly what we witnessed Tuesday night. 

In the eighth inning of Tuesday's game between the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, the Cubs were holding on to a 6-5 lead two outs and two Braves runners on base. After a seemingly easy fly ball was hit to right field — which should have ended the inning and quelled the Braves' rally — Cubs' right fielder Seiya Suzuki whiffed on the ball completely; allowing both Braves baserunners to score, giving them a 7-6 lead. Atlanta won the game 7-6. 

While Suzuki's error was dreadful enough for Cubs fans, its dread was magnified because of its implications. The Cubs are (desperately) trying to make the playoffs, and before Suzuki's whiff, they still had a chance to win the NL Central over the Milwaukee Brewers. Yet, Suzuki's miss and the Cubs resulting loss to Atlanta made it so the Brewers clinched the NL Central division; ending the Cubs' hopes to win the Central for the first time to win 2020.

Thankfully for Suzuki and Cubs nation, not all hope is lost. Chicago still has a chance — a 41.8% chance, according to FanGraphs — to secure an NL Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, that percentage was 58% before the Cubs loss on Tuesday. 

Regardless of his season-altering miscue, one must give props to Seiya Suzuki, who didn't shy away from addressing media after the miss. In an ESPN article posted postgame, Suzuki is quoted saying through his interpreter, "I was seeing [the ball] pretty well until the very last second. I honestly thought it went into my glove. So it was just that split second where I blurred my vision."

While this won't console Cubs fans, at least Suzuki didn't make some unbelievable excuse for the whiff.

All Chicago can do from here is move on their next game — which is on Wednesday, against Atlanta. They still have five more games left this season, and they'll almost certainly make the playoffs if they win more than three of them. Perhaps that makes Cubs fans feel better?

Yet, if Chicago ends up missing the playoffs, the Seiya Suzuki miss will probably go down as another Chicago Cubs curse, alongside the world-famous Curse of the Billy Goat  and the Steve Bartman Incident.

Let's hope the Cubs make the playoffs for Suzuki's sake.

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