It really is becoming quite ridiculous, the Cubs refuse to give any at bats away and that has been the catalyst for one of the best starts in team History. On this night the Cubs walked a total of ten times, process that for a second, ten base runners without swinging the bat. Usually the Cubs reserve the panic inning until the mid innings but tonight they had it on full display in the first. Reds’ starter Alfredo Simon couldn’t make it out of the first as the Cubs manufactured their way to five runs after John Lackey struggled in the top half of the innings.
Speaking of Lackey, he was sharp after the rough first as he worked 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out seven. The performance pushed Lackey to 2-0 on the season despite a 5.68 ERA. When the Cubs weren’t talking walks they were spraying the ball all over the field as they registered eight hits, none longer than a Kris Bryant home run, his first of the season.
There was a buzz all day around Wrigley, the renovations on display, the excitement of a team favored by many to win a World Series, celebrating an NLCS appearance from last year, there was no possible way the Cubs could match that buzz right? Wrong. For the majority of the night it seemed like the Cubs were destined to fall flat, in fact they were getting no-hit deep into the seventh inning before a David Ross single gave them some life. Brandon Finnegan kept the Cubs off balance all night but ran out of gas after 7 and 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball; it was a brilliant performance, but ultimately a no decision. After the David Ross single in the 7th, Matt Szczur followed with a walk, and two batters later Jayson Heyward had his first big moment in a Cubs uniform. Tony Cingrani left an 0-2 fastball out over the plate and Heyward laced it into right for a two-run single and the once flat Cubs seemed to have grabbed all the momentum heading to the 8th.
Ben Zobrist walked with one out in the 8th, and Jorge Soler was then hit by a pitch to set the stage for the youngest player of the group, Addison Russell. Russell wasted no time as he launched the first pitch he saw deep into the night to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead, and that’s how this one would end. A season that has exceeded even the highest of expectations so far just added another chapter. Lost in the late game heroics was the work of Jon Lester, he clearly didn’t have it last night, but was able to keep the Cubs within three through six innings as he picked up another quality start. No baseball today as we all recover from what was a long day of excitement yesterday; the Cubs are 6-1.
Jake Arrieta does plenty to help the Cubs win every day that he takes the ball, now he’s helping them win by launching 440’ bombs with his bat. It seems that the reigning CY Young award winner can do no wrong as he tossed seven strong innings in Arizona, and smacked a two-run dinger to propel the Cubs to a 7-3 victory on Sunday. Thanks in part to the Arrieta bomb the Cubs built an early 3-0 lead before seeing the Diamondbacks square up a few balls, something that is definitely rare against Jake. A home run from Paul Goldschmidt started a two run third inning, and a solo shot from Socrates Brito evened things at three.
Jorge Soler owns Shelby Miller, and he got him again yesterday as hit a sky scraping solo shot to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead in the sixth en route to a 7-3 win. Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez were fantastic out of the pen to allow the Cubs to push their record to a sterling 5-1 on the young season as they head back to Chicago for the home opener tonight.
This one had a familiar feel to it, it felt a lot like the game last night, you know, the one that ended poorly. The result was different tonight, mainly because of the job Adam Warren, and Hector Rondon did out of the bullpen. Kyle Hendricks was so very good tonight, and he was one out away from getting his team into the eighth inning. The final line on Hendricks; 6.2 innings worked, giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out five,
His counterpart Zack Greinke didn’t fare so well as the Cubs jumped on him early, scoring three times in the first, and never looking back. Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant each had an RBI in the first, a single for Rizzo and a double for Bryant. Miguel Montero pushed the Cubs lead to three with a sacrifice fly, and Zobrist smacked an RBI double in the fourth to close out the scoring.
Great chance for the Cubs to move to 5-1 on the season, and this road trip tomorrow as Jake Arrieta gets the ball.
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.
There was a few best’s at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon, when it was all said and done the Cubs had won their third game in a row, a season best, and a big reason for that was their best effort yet in the patience department. All year-long we as fans have been hearing about this new “Cubs Way” but we really haven’t seen much of it, until today. The Cubs saw 180 pitches today, for comparison this same Cubs team saw 93 pitches in a game against the White Sox earlier this year, it was a loss, not a coincidence. Patience is so important, the longer the pitcher has to work on you the more likely they are to make a mistake and that’s exactly what happened in the bottom of the ninth. Darwin Barney got a hanging curve ball with two strikes from Kenny Powers, I mean Dale Thayer, and deposited it in the left field bleachers for an 8-6 win. Ryan Dempster was not at his best this afternoon but he battled through four and a-third and got some help from his offense, finally, to get off the hook and finish with a no decision after giving up six earned runs. Darwin Barney was the hero today, not just for his ninth inning efforts, he had a great day start to finish. Barney was 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, three RBI’s, TWO WALKS, and three runs scored, now that’s more like it. Steve Clevenger returned to action behind the plate and was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s in the win. The Cubs take their three game winning streak across the Country to San Francisco where they kick off a four game set against the Giants on Friday. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
The Cubs continue to show a fight that seems to have been missing for years. Trailing 3-2 for most of the day, and into the ninth, the Cubs finally broke through. With runners at 1st and 2nd and one out, Tony Campana roped a double to right center field to tie the game at three. For a moment it looked like Campana’s double would also be a game winner, but two perfect throws from the Dodgers resulted in DeJesus being cut down at the plate. If a 2 hour and 41 minute rain delay wasn’t long enough, the Cubs and Dodgers were headed into extra innings. Darwin Barney led the 11th off with what looked like a ground out, but Adam Kennedy played it into a lead off double. Two batters later, with the bases loaded and nobody out, David DeJesus walked off, literally, drawing a free pass to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory. Travis Wood, pitching in place of a sick Matt Garza, turned in a tremendous effort going six innings and only allowing three runs in a no decision. The Cubs bullpen continued their stellar work going 5 scoreless innings. At the plate Bryan LaHair continued his unreal start to the season going 3-for-4 to raise his average to .390. Full recap and highlights after the jump.