I don’t understand the thought process, but the Cubs decided to let Kris Bryant only play in one game today, so obviously they only won that one. That’s right, the dream of an undefeated season came to an end today as the Cubs could only take care of the Padres while losing to the Dodgers.
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This one was an uphill battle from the jump as the Dodgers blitzed the Cubs for three quick runs in the bottom of the first off Christian Bergman. It didn’t get much better from there as Cubs’ pitchers combined to give up fourteen hits, and eleven runs over eight innings of work. To make things worse, the combo of Bergman, Kyle Ryan, Ian Clarkin, and Manuel Rondon walked six guys in six innings.
Not much better at the plate for the Cubs as they could only manage two runs on four hits in the loss. The lone bright spot at the plate was second baseman Trent Giambrone who went 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the spring.
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A much better result at “home” against the Padres, as this Cubs team was led by the big lefty Jon Lester who made his spring debut. Lester was sharp, he walked the first guy he faced, allowed him to steal 2nd and 3rd then got out of trouble per usual. Lester worked two innings, allowing only one base-runner and striking out three. Working out of trouble was all the rage in this one as Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing, and Randy Rosario all worked scoreless innings despite heavy traffic on the bases.
A couple of loud noises from the Cubs hitters today. Willson Contreras, and Jared Young launched long home runs, a three run shot for Contreras and a two run dinger for Young. Kris Bryant was picked off first in this one which is the only time that he has made an out this spring, he finished the day with no official AB’s and two walks.
The 3-1 Cubs are back at it again tomorrow afternoon against the D-Backs when Yu Darvish will make his much anticipated 2019 debut.
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Two spring games, and two victories for the Cubs as they wiped the floor with the Giants today. Now I’m sure the Cubs will lose at some point this year (maybe?), and spring doesn’t mean much of anything but it’s nice to see two wins on the board early.
The second inning told the story in this one as the Cubs exploded for eight runs, six of those runs off postseason world beater Madison Bumgarner. The Cubs implemented the death by a thousand cuts attack as only two of their thirteen hits were of the extra base variety. Albert Almora had a good day out of the lead-off spot going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber also made their 2019 debut today and were effective at the plate. Schwarber looked particularly good going 1-for-1 with two walks, and an RBI double off Bumgarner.
Tyler Chatwood got the start today, and only managed to walk one batter. That number is a bit deceiving as Chatwood worked behind in the count repeatedly, hit a batter, and gave up a two run shot to Brandon Belt. At this point the results mean little for Chatwood, it’s more about finding the strike zone, and today would have to be summed up as… meh. Two intriguing arms that could factor into the Cubs 2019 bullpen tossed scoreless innings today. James Norwood worked his way out of some trouble after giving up two hits, and walking one in his inning of work. Meanwhile, Dillon Maples was spitting hot fire, he struck out two without allowing a base-runner in the victory.
Next up for the Cubs, split squad action in the desert. Christian Bergman will get the start against the Dodgers while Jon Lester gets his first crack at spring action against Manny Machado’s Padres.
One pitch, one loud noise, welcome to the 2018 championship season. Ian Happ decided to send that special first pitch of the season baseball into the right field stands to set the tone today. The Cubs’ bats were in midseason form as they cranked out three dingers en route to an 8-4 opening day victory. Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber supplied the rest of the power in this one as both launched solo shots.
Jon Lester didn’t have it, period. It looked like the velocity wasn’t there, and he found himself nibbling the zone way too often, looking a lot like Jon Lester circa 2017. I wouldn’t read too much into it, Lester typically starts slow and as Maddon said after the game the little extra finish on Lester’s pitches just wasn’t there today.
Aside from the power surge the strong work of the bullpen grabbed the rest of the headlines. Newcomer Steve Cishek was tremendous as he was forced into early duty when Lester couldn’t get out of the 4th (my Dad shakes his head in disgust). Cishek worked and inning and two-thirds giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out two. The bullpen combined to go five and two-third scoreless innings while giving up just one hit.
Good start. Welcome back, baseball.
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.
The Cubs flashed some power last night to go along with yet another solid performance from one of their starters. This time it was Jon Lester benefiting from three Cubs dingers as he breezed through the Angels lineup en route to picking up his first win of the season. Dexter Fowler, Matt Szczur, and Anthony Rizzo all found the seats as the Cubs torched the Angels 6-1 to move their record to 2-0 for the first time since 1995.
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It’s only May 6th, feeling okay? This series has been a roller coaster of emotions, and tonight we can all breathe a little easier as the Cubs just barely hung on to beat the Cardinals 6-5. Both teams scored in alternating innings until the eighth when they both pushed across a run. Jon Lester didn’t do himself any favors as he made an error which led to an unearned run, which was not the only unearned run of the night. The Cardinals got two more after a two out error by Addison Russell, but Lester battled all night. The newest ace of the Cubs was able to work through seven strong innings before watching the bullpen shut the door, I wouldn’t say they slammed it, they shut it quietly. Nice to be out from under that losing streak, and the Cubs can now go for the split tomorrow afternoon.
At the Plate:
- Chris Coghlan was plugged into the two hole tonight, he did his job by getting on base, he didn’t have any hits but he walked twice.
- Anthony Rizzo is hunting down the MVP, he was 2-for-4 with his fifth dinger of the year, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant continues to produce, he was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.
- Jorge Soler seems to be coming out of his slump, he was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the win.
- Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro, David Ross, and Addison Russell all chipped in with a hit.
On the Mound:
- Jon Lester was gritty tonight, he worked seven innings, giving up four runs, one earned, on seven hits while walking two, and striking out six.
- Pedro Strop had another shaky outing, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking one.
- Hector Rondon walked the tightrope as well, he worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the year. He surrendered one hit while walking one, and getting one huge strikeout.
First pitch: 7:15 PM CST
Television: CSN Chicago
Radio: WBBM Newsradio 780
Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees
1. Fowler – CF
2. Coghlan – LF
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Bryant – 3B
5. Soler – RF
6. Castro – SS
7. Ross – C
8. Lester – SP
9. Russell – 2B