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.
First pitch: 1:20 PM CST
TV: WGN TV and MLB Network
Radio: WBBM NEWSRADIO 780
Weather: partly cloudy, 75 degrees, wind blowing out at 18 MPH, there is some rain in the area, looks hit and miss.
1. Fowler – CF
2. Soler – RF
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Bryant – 3B
5. Montero – C
6. Castro – SS
7. Coghlan – LF
8. Hammel – SP
9. Russell – 2B
This series worries me, only because the Brewers have been bad all year, and they are bound to start playing some better baseball. It’s a new test for the Cubs as good teams are immune, usually, from playing down to their competition. Based on how these teams have played so far you would think that the Cubs would have an easy go of it, that’s why they play the games of course. The Cubs are coming into this series winners in six of their last ten, and just two games behind the Cardinals for first place in the Central. Conversely the Brewers have won just three times in their last ten, and are already ten games back of first in the Central.
- Friday, May 1, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – CSN Chicago / MLB Network
- Saturday, May 2, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Sunday, May 3, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – WGN TV
- Game One: Wily Peralta (0-3, 5.79) vs. Jon Lester (0-2, 6.23)
- Game Two: Mike Fiers (0-3, 5.79) vs. Jake Arrieta (3-1, 2.03)
- Game Three: Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 4.03) vs. Jason Hammel (2-1, 3.55)
Who is Hot:
- Brewers: Apparently Adam Lind is making the most of his regular playing time in Milwaukee. The slugging first baseman is hitting .444 (12-for-27) in his last seven games with two doubles, three dingers, and six RBI’s.
- Cubs: It really doesn’t seem like Dexter Fowler has struggled at all this year because of his ability to get on base, but now he is red hot. Fowler is hitting .450 (9-for-20) over his last five games with one double, two RBI’s, and a walk.
Who is Not:
- Brewers: The Brewers have been bitten by the injury bug so they are having to rely on players they normally wouldn’t, one of those guys is Logan Schafer. Schafer is really struggling as he is hitting .200 (4-for-20) over his last seven games with one walk, and six strikeouts.
- Cubs: It seems as though teams have found Jorge Soler‘s swing and miss, it’s the weather. Of course I’m not blaming the weather on his struggles, but he is cold, literally. Over his last six games, Soler is hitting .091 (2-for-22) with twelve strikeouts.
Well, that was fast, under two and a half hours roughly. Jason Hammel was outstanding tonight as he completely shut down the Pirates from the first pitch as the Cubs took the series opener, 4-0. Hammel went eight shutout innings, and was never really in trouble as he only allowed four base runners, all hits, no walks. The Cubs got their runs from likely sources, Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs as did Kris Bryant. All four runs were driven in with two outs, you can’t really measure how important those hits are. With the shutout win the Cubs have now won three straight, and have improved to 11-7 on the year, mighty impressive.
At the Plate:
- Dexter Fowler got things going from the lead-off spot again, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
- Jorge Soler broke out of his recent slump, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.
- Anthony Rizzo continues to be a machine, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant is racking up the RBI’s, he was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s in this one, and he has knocked in nine so far this year.
- Miguel Montero, Starlin Castro, and Addison Russell all had one hit in the win.
On the Mound:
- Hammel Time! Jason Hammel was stellar, he worked eight shutout innings, giving up four hits, he didn’t walk anybody, and struck out seven.
- Pedro Strop shut the door in an uneventful ninth, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.
Both the Cubs and Pirates head into a three game series on the Northside with some momentum. The Cubs are coming off an exciting, rain shortened series in Cincinnati where they took both games, one of which was another come back victory. After taking the last two games of the series against the Cubs, the Pirates swept the Diamondbacks this weekend and have won their last five games. It’s a battle for second place as the Cubs (10-7) and the Pirates (11–8) are both two games back of the Cardinals in the Central.
- Monday, April 27, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Tuesday, April 28, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – WPWR 50
- Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Game One: Jason Hammel (1-1, 5.19) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 4.00)
- Game Two: Travis Wood (1-1, 3.24) vs. Jeff Locke (2-0, 3.32)
- Game Three: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 5.74) vs. Gerrit Cole (3-0, 2.19)
Who is Hot:
- Pirates: Noted Cub killer Neil Walker is apparently not just killing the Cubs lately, he’s scorching hot. Over his last seven games, the Pirates second baseman is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with five doubles, and five RBI’s.
- Cubs: There are a lot of good first basemen in the National League, Anthony Rizzo might be the best. Over his last seven games, Rizzo is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with two doubles, a dinger, two RBI’s, four walks, and one strikeout.
Who is Not:
- Pirates: I’m not sure I want to mention this, because you know it won’t last. Andrew McCutchen is hitting .143 (3-for-21) over his last seven games with one double, and seven strikeouts.
- Cubs: It’s probably not easy to be a 21 year old in the Majors, Addison Russell is proving that. In his first five games he’s hitting .136 (3-for-22) with two doubles, four RBI’s, and twelve strikeouts.
After having eight of their first eleven games at home the time has come for the Cubs to hit the road, and face some stiff NL Central competition. Tonight’s game in Pittsburgh starts a seven game road trip that will see the Cubs battle the Pirates for four, then head to Cincinnati for three. The Pirates are playing solid baseball right now as they have won three straight games, and sit a half game behind the Cubs for second place in the Central. The Cubs are coming off a tough series loss to the Padres, their first of the season. All three games could have went the Cubs way, but a burnt out bullpen, short starts, and lack of clutch hitting came back to bite them.
- Monday, April 20, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago Plus (Channel Finder)
- Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – WGN 9 Chicago
- Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN
- Thursday, April 23, 2015 – 11:35 AM CST – CSN, MLB Network
- Game One: Jake Arrieta (1-1, 1.98) vs. A.J. Burnett (0-1, 2.25)
- Game Two: Travis Wood (1-1, 2.31) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-1, 2.08)
- Game Three: Jason Hammel (1-0, 5.11) vs. Vance Worley (1-1, 5.84)
- Game Four: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.10) vs. Jeff Locke (2-0, 1.93)
Who is Hot:
- Pirates: After a slow start, and a big new contract, Josh Harrison is starting to heat up at the plate. He is hitting .292 (7-for-24) over his last seven with a double, homer, and two RBI’s.
- Cubs: Anthony Rizzo was getting on base earlier in the year but wasn’t seeing too many hits dropping, that is changing. Rizzo is hitting .318 (7-for-22) over his last six games with a home run, three RBI’s, a double, and SIX walks.
Who is Not:
- Pirates: After a productive 2014, Jordy Mercer has come out of the gate struggling. Mercer is hitting just .118 (2-for-17) over his last seven games with only one walk, two strikeouts, and no runs scored.
- Cubs: Second base is an issue for the Cubs right now, as both Jonathan Herrera, and Arismendy Alcantara are scuffling. Herrera is hitting just .158 (3-for-19) over his last six games, while Alcantara comes in at a .143 (2-for-14) clip, with six strikeouts.
The Padres come to town for a three game set this weekend, and look who will great them…. KRIS BRYANT!! That’s right, it’s Bryant time on the Northside as the phenom will make hi major league debut today. Both teams come into this series playing solid baseball as the Padres sit at 6-4 on the season and just took two out of three from the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have played one of the toughest schedules in baseball, and have yet to lose a series, the Padres are another great test.
- Friday, April 17, 2015 – 1:20 PM – ABC 7 Chicago
- Saturday, April 18, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Sunday, April 19, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – WGN 9 Chicago
- Game One: Jason Hammel (1-0, 4.50) vs. James Shields (1-0, 2.08)
- Game Two: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 10.38) vs. Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.75)
- Game Three: Jon Lester (0-1, 7.84) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-2, 4.09)
Who is Hot:
- Padres: Newcomer Justin Upton is paying dividends right away for the Padres. Over the last seven games Upton has been unreal, he’s hitting .450 (9-for-20) with a double, two dingers, and four RBI’s.
- Cubs: The Cubs are starting to swing the bats much better, and it’s Jorge Soler leading the charge. Soler has been pounding the ball as of late, he’s hitting .360 (8-for-22) over his last seven games, during that span he has two dingers, and seven RBI’s with an OPS of 1.081, loud noises!
Who is Not:
- Padres: Jedd Gyorko is still terrible, sorry. Gyorko has been really bad again this year, and he’s only hitting .091 (1-for-11) over his last seven games with zero walks, and four strikeouts.
- Cubs: Miguel Montero is still looking for some solid footing on his new club as he has struggled out of the gate. Montero is hitting .143 (2-for-14) over his last seven games with just two RBI’s.