Once again Jason Hammel was brilliant in six innings of work for the Cubs as they held on to beat the Marlins 3-2. Hammel thought he could have went longer, which is usually the case as he only threw 80 pitches before being lifted for Miguel Montero in the bottom of the 6th (Montero failed). The strike zone was getting worn out by Hammel who finished the night throwing 52 strikes, and just 28 balls. Joe Maddon felt it necessary to pull Hammel in favor of Montero to try and capitalize on a scoring chance against Jose Fernandez, it didn’t work out.
Pedro Strop was ineffective but his stuff was pretty darn good to this uneducated baseball watcher. Strop gave up two runs, only one of them was earned as he was charged with an error on a botched double play ball. It looked like there was a lack of communication between Zobrist and Russell on the play, shortly after that a ball ricocheted off of Strop and into right field for single to score the second run, just odd. Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman shut the door in the eighth and the ninth to secure the victory. Dexter Fowler was in the middle of it all as usual at the plate, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored. Willson Contreras also had a stellar night against one of the best in Fernandez, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI. The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow behind John Lackey, and the Cardinals lost so the NL Central lead swells to nine games.
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.
The young Cubs provided the fireworks early against the Giants before the bullpen couldn’t find away to get outs, and blew a 5-0 lead en route to an 8-6 loss. It was a lineup that had Cubs fans buzzing, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber, oh my. It was Schwarber who did the heavy lifting as he jacked a grand slam in his first at bat, giving the Cubs an early 4-0 lead. The Cubs pitching made that hold up early on as Jacob Turner, and Pierce Johnson were on top of their game, Johnson was particularly impressive.
At the plate:
- Kyle Schwarber was the star at the plate going 1-for-3 with said grand slam.
- Jorge Soler hit a number of balls hard, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a run scored.
- Billy McKinney came on late and went deep, he finished the day 1-for-1 with an RBI.
- Kris Bryant went 0-for-2 with a walk, and a run scored.
- Addison Russell was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
- Albert Almora didn’t start but finished the day 2-for-2, good to see.
On the mound:
- Jacob Turner got the start, and battled command early, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
- Pierce Johnson was outstanding, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Corey Black struggled, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking two, and hitting Hunter Pence, breaking his forearm, ouch.
- Hunter Cervenka was worse, he was only able to register one out, he gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two.
A tie. The Cubs and A’s tied today. Mike Olt got the offense off and running early as he blasted a two-out, two-run bomb. Unfortunately that was all the Cubs could muster as they went scoreless the rest of the way while scratching out only five hits. The pitching was outstanding as Travis Wood, Neil Ramirez, and Drake Britton, among others, shut down the Athletics offense.
At the plate:
- MIKE OLT! Olt finished theday 1-for-2 with a home run, and two RBI.
- Chris Coghlan was 1-for-1 with a run scored.
- Newcomer Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 in the tie.
On the mound:
- Travis Wood got the start, and was flawless. Wood worked two scoreless innings giving up no hits, walking none while striking out two.
- Neil Ramirez was stupid good per usual. Ramirez worked one scoreless inning while striking out two.
- Drake Britton was pretty good in his first audition for a bullpen spot. Britton worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
- Gonzalez Germen had the plate jump around a bit, but he was fairly effective. Germen worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out two.
The Cubs are positioned to win their second series in a row after beating the Phillies this afternoon 5-1 behind a dominant Matt Garza. Garza was nasty, going 7 innings, only allowing 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 10. Garza, the victim of some poor run support and tough luck finally got some help to record the victory. Tony Campana was once again the spark plug for the Cubs offense, this time leading off, as he went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and another stolen base. Bryan LaHair and Jeff Baker also had productive days at the plate. LaHair went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, while Baker went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Joe Mather chipped in with a solo home run which is the only home run hit by a Cubs outfielder on the season, yikes. Full box score, and highlights after the jump.
Okay, I’m sure the Cardinals will live, they walk away from today’s game with a loss but they also got a rather shiny ring to commemorate their World Championship last year that the Cubs had a huge hand in. Today, the Cubs got a small piece of revenge beating the Cardinals 9-5 at a soggy Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Adam Wainwright, who is returning from Tommy John this season was beat for the second time this year, while Jeff Samardzija earned his second win in as many starts for the Cubs. While the Cubs won by four runs it really could have been much more as it was a tale of two games.
These games are a lot more fun then all those stupid late inning losses that the Cubs have been experiencing. Today’s game was rarely in doubt thanks to a ginormous third inning for the Cubs as they put up six runs and seven hits to break the game wide open. Matt Garza made that hold up and then some as he was lights out all day. Garza went 8 and 2/3rds innings surrendering only three hits, and two walks while striking out nine on the day. Garza was one out away from a complete game when he got what seemingly was the final out on a ground ball right back to him, instead he launched the throw about 20 rows deep over LaHair’s head which also ended his day. Shawn Camp came in and got the final out to secure the victory, and send the Cubs to St. Louis feeling a little better about themselves.
Another day, another solid start from Ryan Dempster, and another loss. Such is life at this point with the Cubs, do everything but win. Once again the Cubs entered the late innings hanging on to a one run lead. By now, everyone should know that odds are the outcome is not going to be a favorable one for Cubs fans and players alike.