The Cubs barely hung on tonight in Milwaukee, and they did it with the long ball. FOUR DINGERS!! Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro, and Jorge Soler all left the yard with authority tonight, loud noises for sure. I’ll add them as they become available from MLB.
Another night, and another close game, what else is new. Jon Lester turned in his best start of 2015, his only issue was Billy Hamilton who reached base twice, stole three bases, and scored twice. Other than that, Lester was brilliant as he struck out ten in his six innings of work. The Cubs were paced offensively by an Anthony Rizzo two run dinger, and a huge game tying solo shot by Chris Coghlan in the seventh. After watching Jason Motte get out of bases loaded trouble in the bottom of the tenth, Jonathan Herrera came up with a big hit in the eleventh. Herrera lined a base hit to right which scored Rizzo, got Bryant to third, and Herrera took second on the throw. Both of those guys scored on a bases loaded David Ross double which put this one out of reach.
Rizzo’s two run blast.
Travis Wood was dominant all night long as the lefty shut down the Reds, and led the Cubs to a 5-0 victory to take the series. It didn’t take long for the Cubs to grab a lead as Anthony Rizzo blasted his first home run of the season in the first, a majestic two-run shot to right. The Cubs flashed the leather all night behind Wood, Starlin Castro in particular, he made two outstanding plays to help preserve the shut out, and the lead. The only bad news in this one was an injury to Neil Ramirez, the right-hander left after just three pitches in the ninth inning. Ramirez will go for an MRI tomorrow, the initial diagnosis is right shoulder discomfort, that doesn’t sound great. First place!
At the Plate:
- Dexter Fowler is proving to be a solid lead-off hitter for the Cubs, he was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and two runs scored.
- Anthony Rizzo finally got on the board with a dinger, he was 1-for-4 with said homer, a walk, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Jorge Soler continued his production, he was 1-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI.
- Starlin Castro had an outstanding game, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored.
Rizzo goes way back!
On the Mound:
- All Travis Wood tonight, stellar. He worked seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits while walking two and striking out seven.
- Phil Coke worked a solid scoreless inning in relief.
- Neil Ramirez got hurt in the ninth, so Brian Schlitter had to close it out, he worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit while striking out one.
Solid pitching? Check. Just enough hitting? Check.
It seems simple, but the Cubs have played some solid baseball over the past 90 games (45-45 before tonight), and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down with their latest win in Cincinnati tonight, their fourth straight. Travis Wood found his 2013 magic against his former employer, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, while walking one, and striking out five. The Cubs pen shut, no, slammed the door once again, as Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon were lights out. Wood picked up his eighth win of the season, and Rondon registered his 22nd save of the year.
Offensively the Cubs got started in the first, and that was all they needed. Anthony Rizzo hit an absolute bomb off of Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto in the first, it was his 30th home run of the season, that’s impressive. Starlin Castro returned from the bereavement list tonight, and picked up right where he left off, he went 2-for-4 in the win. Arismendy Alcantara joined the fun late, as he blasted a two-run shot to give the Cubs some insurance in the seventh.
Get ready for Jorge Soler, he debuts tomorrow!
Note: Anthony Rizzo left the game late with some back tightness, he should be fine.
Those are fun games to watch, and this was the first game all year where everyone could sit back and enjoy the ride instead of worrying about how the Cubs would close it out. Scott Feldman got plenty of run support in this one as the Cubs exploded for nine runs, their largest output of the season. Feldman will gladly take the run support but really didn’t need it, he was brilliant for the second straight outing, and has really been a pleasant surprise all year-long. Tonight was a preview of what the Cubs want to be every night, solid at bats, deep counts, using the whole field, and solid starting pitching. The trick is doing this consistently, it’s not there yet, but I think it’s heading in the right direction. The Cubs were holding a tenuous 1-0 lead into the fourth inning when they exploded for five runs en route to a 9-2 victory, and a delayed series win over the Rangers..
At The Plate – So many good things tonight as the Cubs pounded out eleven hits and scored nine runs. Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a walk, for reals, two RBI’s and three runs scored. Anthony Rizzo is dialed in at the plate right now, and it’s fun to watch. Rizzo was 3-for-4 with a walk, his ninth home run of the season, a double, four RBI’s, and a run scored, he is now hitting .262 on the season. Luis Valbuena continues to defy logic as he went 3-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .271 on the season.
On The Mound – What else can be said about Scott Feldman, he was awesome against his former team tonight. Feldman went seven plus scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out three. The only bad news was that Feldman had to leave the game in the eighth with a cramp in his throwing hand, after the game Sveum said that Feldman would be fine. James Russell worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit and no runs. Rafael Dolis, who was called up today, got some work in as well, he worked 1.1 innings giving up two runs, both unearned on two hits.
Up Next – The Cubs welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to Wrigley for a brief two game series starting tomorrow. Travis Wood will get the ball and he will be opposed by Lance Lynn who already has five wins this season. First pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM CST.
Thanks for reading,
Now these are the games that I think a lot of Cubs fans can get used to. Thirteen hits, and six runs, not just thirteen hits but nine extra base hits and many of them very loud. Maybe they just sounded loud because there were only 217 people at today’s game, but they were squared up for sure. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning amid the rain drops and this time they were able to keep their opponent at bay behind some solid pitching and defense. I’m not sure what was the bigger victory today, the Cubs win, or the fact that the game was actually played. Most of Chicago and the suburbs are under water, me included, so great job by the Wrigley grounds crew to get the field in the best shape possible.
At The Plate – Maybe the best day at the plate all year for the Cubs, big days all around. David DeJesus went 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a triple, a double, a walk and a run scored. Starlin Castro was solid as well as he went 1-for-3 with two walks, his first two of the year, a double, and a stolen base. Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, and the longest in the Majors this year, a 475 foot blast. His day could have been better two as it included two line outs, good to see solid contact from Rizzo. Alfonso Soriano also found some production, he went 1-for-5 with his first home run and first RBI of the season. Welington Castillo continued his red-hot start to the season going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s.
On The Mound – The Cubs pitching was just as good as the hitting in this one. Carlos Villanueva was finally rewarded for a solid outing, he earned his first win of the season going seven innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six. James Russell and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning to close this one out. Carlos Marmol was particularly good in this one as he didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
Up Next – The Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a three game series with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will get things going for the Cubs against Marco Estrada at 7:10 PM CST. I guarantee there will be no rain outs this weekend.
Thanks for reading,