The Cubs have all of a sudden found some clutch hitting, and that is leading to some exciting baseball, and wins on the Northside. One night after scoring four times with two outs, the Cubs pushed six across after two outs for good measure. Going back to Sunday the Cubs have had thirteen two out RBI’s, THIRTEEN. So it really is not a surprise that the Cubs have won four straight games, clutch is good, clutch is productive. Travis Wood didn’t need much help in this one as he picked up his second win of the season, he was stellar over seven innings. The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow night against Pittsburgh’s ace, Gerrit Cole.
At the Plate:
- Dexter Fowler is scorching hot right now, he went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s, and a stolen base.
- Kris Bryant came up with another big hit tonight, he was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI.
- Starlin Castro, have a night, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
- Junior Lake made a splash (heh) in his return, he was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
- Welington Castillo, Chris Coghlan, and Addison Russell all had one hit in the win. Russell added an RBI, a walk, and a run scored.
On the Mound:
- Travis Wood got the start, and picked up his second win of the year. Wood worked seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking none, and striking out nine.
- Zac Rosscup and Jason Motte each worked a scoreless inning to secure the win.
Fun fact, the Cubs had five stolen bases on the night, they now have twenty-five on the year, that leads all of baseball.
It’s noticeable, the Cubs don’t quit. After blowing a 4-2 lead in the sixth, and falling behind 8-5 in the 7th, the Cubs charged back, scoring four times over the final two innings to win 9-8. Trailing 8-6 in the ninth, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and Starlin Castro came through with his third hit of the evening to tie things up. Kris Bryant scored on a Welington Castillo ground out, and Hector Rondon shut the door, what an absolutely outstanding victory. With the win the Cubs have now won two games after trailing heading into the ninth, you know how many times that happened last year? Zero. Welcome to Chicago Cubs baseball, you should probably start watching.
At the Plate:
- Anthony Rizzo is an on base machine, he was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and he was hit by another pitch.
- Jorge Soler finished strong in this 0ne, he was 2-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
- Kris Bryant, just wow, he was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBI’s, and one run scored.
- Starlin Castro is shutting a lot of people up, he was 3-for-5 with a dinger, four RBI’s, and a run scored. He’s hitting .352 on the season.
- Welington Castillo got a start tonight, and he made it count, he was 2-for-5 with a homer, double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
On the Mound:
- Travis Wood got the start tonight, and was decent, he worked five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking two, and striking out five.
- Brian Schlitter continued his rough 2015, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one.
- Phil Coke got out of Schlitter’s trouble, he retired the last batter of the sixth.
- Jason Motte struggled tonight, he worked one inning, giving up three runs on two hits while walking one.
- Edwin Jackson was perfect tonight, and he picked up the win, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.
- Hector Rondon was just disgusting tonight, he worked a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
Kris Bryant with an RBI double.
Jake Arrieta had his typical no hit stuff against the Reds once again, at least until the fourth inning. The Reds scored three times on five singles in the fourth inning en route to a 3-2 victory to even up the three game series. The Cubs didn’t exactly go quietly, that seems to be their thing this year. Welington Castillo smacked a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to bring the Cubs to within one, but they couldn’t get any closer. The Cubs had two more guys on base in the eighth and the ninth, but couldn’t come up with a big hit, this time. Being able to come back in games is a nice thing to be able to do, you just don’t want to be doing it every night.
At the Plate:
- Welington Castillo didn’t start but probably had the best game, he was 1-for-1 with a pinch hit dinger, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Matt Szczur, also coming off the bench, had two plate appearances, and walked each time.
- Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Starlin Castro had the other hits, one each.
On the Mound:
- Jake Arrieta got the start, and was just fine except for that fateful fourth inning, he worked 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
- Zac Rosscup made his 2015 debut, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out two.
- Pedro Strop worked a scoreless inning to give the Cubs a chance in the ninth, he struck out one in the process.
Through three games the Cubs have a total of seven hits, that’s not so good, the numbers with runners in scoring position are even worse. I guess the good news is that the Cubs continue to get opportunities with guys in scoring position, but they are less than clutch right now. The struggles were front and center this afternoon against the Rockies as the Cubs were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. In a park where walks are more dangerous than usual, the Cubs earned four of them, and Rizzo was hit by a pitch twice, that’s six free passes, but not one guy could come up with a big hit. Not so for the Rockies as they managed to push five runs across the plate on eleven hits en route to a 5-1 victory, Travis Wood picked up the loss.
It was still exciting, it was cool to get the national exposure on opening night, it sucked getting shut out, it is what it is. Jon Lester struggled with his command early and often, and the Cubs couldn’t find a clutch hit all night in a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals. A little more about not being clutch, the Cubs were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position tonight, no bueno. Conversely the Cardinals went 3-got-14 and that was the difference. Wainwright was his usual self, but had trouble with his breaking pitches early on which drove up his pitch count. Waino was able to work his way through six innings to get the win. Lester took the loss in this one as he wasn’t able to escape the 5th inning, he gave up three runs on eight hits, while walking two, and striking out five.
One of the bright spots of the evening was the Cubs bullpen, Phil Coke, Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to work 4.2 scoreless inning, giving up two hits while waking two, and striking out five. I was happy with the at bats the Cubs players had tonight, not many of them were thrown away, they battled. You’re not going to face a pitcher the caliber of Wainwright every night , tip you cap and go take your frustrations out on Lance Lynn on Tuesday Night. One down, one hundred and sixty one to go, I still think there will be more good than bad, but can someone kidnap Heyward and send him to the Indians or something? All in all I think the new look/unfinished Wrigley held up well, I’m sure we will hear some horror stories from fans tomorrow, but on the surface it looked good.
Two games into his Cubs career, Jason Hammel is 2-0, both wins coming against the NL Central rival Pirates. Hammel was brilliant once again, as he worked seven strong innings, giving up three runs on three hits (all solo HR’s, more on that later), while walking one, and striking out six. Pedro Strop made things interesting in the ninth as he gave up two more solo home runs to make things closer than they needed to be. The Pirates had six hits tonight, five of which left the ballpark, and the Cubs still won, baseball.
More good signs from the Cubs offense in this one as well, the Cubs scored seven times on fourteen hits in the win. (Insert Emilio Bonifacio had two hits sentence). Anthony Rizzo is scorching hot right now, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .375 on the season. Mike Olt, finally getting a start, responded in a big way, he went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored. Same goes for Junior Lake, as he went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
** PHOTO CREDIT: BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES
Such a tough evening, on one hand you have to be thrilled with the Cubs coming back two different times in this one, on the other, throw strikes!!! The Cubs offense was up to the task tonight, but the pitching was dreadful, it started with Edwin Jackson, and ended with Pedro Strop, and James Russell.
Edwin Jackson “walked” away with a no decision in this one, and probably deserved worse. Jackson worked 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, while walking four (yuck), and striking out four. Pedro Strop, who got the loss, worked a third of an inning, giving up one run, while walking two, and striking out one. The issue in this one was James Russell coming on and failing to do his job against Pedro Alvarez, he walked Alvarez to load the bases and Russel Martin delivered a game winning sac-fly.
Starlin Castro! What a night from Castro, he was 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored. It was Castro’s first time hitting two home runs in a major league game, it was awesome to see, Castro is now hitting .310 on the season, look at that. Emilio Bonifacio continues to get hits, almost every time up to the plate, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo is also going well at the plate right now, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
I’ll leave you with this… STOP BUNTING! Goodnight.
** PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW NELLES/AP