It’s noticeable, the Cubs don’t quit. After blowing a 4-2 lead in the sixth, and falling behind 8-5 in the 7th, the Cubs charged back, scoring four times over the final two innings to win 9-8. Trailing 8-6 in the ninth, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and Starlin Castro came through with his third hit of the evening to tie things up. Kris Bryant scored on a Welington Castillo ground out, and Hector Rondon shut the door, what an absolutely outstanding victory. With the win the Cubs have now won two games after trailing heading into the ninth, you know how many times that happened last year? Zero. Welcome to Chicago Cubs baseball, you should probably start watching.
At the Plate:
- Anthony Rizzo is an on base machine, he was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and he was hit by another pitch.
- Jorge Soler finished strong in this 0ne, he was 2-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
- Kris Bryant, just wow, he was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBI’s, and one run scored.
- Starlin Castro is shutting a lot of people up, he was 3-for-5 with a dinger, four RBI’s, and a run scored. He’s hitting .352 on the season.
- Welington Castillo got a start tonight, and he made it count, he was 2-for-5 with a homer, double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
On the Mound:
- Travis Wood got the start tonight, and was decent, he worked five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking two, and striking out five.
- Brian Schlitter continued his rough 2015, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one.
- Phil Coke got out of Schlitter’s trouble, he retired the last batter of the sixth.
- Jason Motte struggled tonight, he worked one inning, giving up three runs on two hits while walking one.
- Edwin Jackson was perfect tonight, and he picked up the win, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.
- Hector Rondon was just disgusting tonight, he worked a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
Kris Bryant with an RBI double.
It was a rough start for the Cubs tonight as Jake Arrieta got knocked around in the first, but escaped only giving up one run, then he shut it down. Arrieta retired the next sixteen hitters on his way to a stellar seven inning performance to pick up his second win of the season. He doesn’t get that win without the exploits of the Cubs future, and well, present, in the middle of the order. After a double by Soler, and a walk by Rizzo, Kris Bryant crushed a two-run double, and ended up scoring on the same play to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-2 victory.
Note: A fan was hit in the back of the head by a Starlin Castro‘s line drive foul ball. She was behind the protective screen, but was resting on the screen and the ball really smoked her. The result was a 23 minute on field delay, the update is that she was conscious and thanking the people helping here into the ambulance. Hopefully she’s okay.
Kris Bryant‘s Little League Homer.
Kris Bryant RBI single.
At the Plate:
- Hip hip, Jorge! Soler was a beast in this one, he went 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
- Anthony Rizzo was all over the bases, per usual. Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant had a rough debut, he’s been everything advertised since, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Starlin Castro is getting lost in the hype train, but he is having an outstanding 2015, he was 2-for-4 in this one, and his now hitting .327 on the season.
On the Mound:
- Jake Arrieta with some more hot fire tonight, he worked seven strong innings, he gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven.
- Pedro Strop was spotless as usual, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out two.
- Rosscup came on to protect a four run lead, something the Cubs couldn’t do on Saturday, and he did just fine. He worked an inning, giving up one run on one hit while striking out one.
Things started out well enough today as the Cubs jumped on the listless Padres with two runs in the bottom of the first. I say listless because the Padres were sleepwalking in the first, they made two errors and looked generally disinterested. From that point on it was all Padres, as they scored five unanswered runs en route to a 5-2 win. Jon Lester was just okay again today, he worked into the sixth inning but made far too many mistakes up in the zone, he needs a road start or two to settle in. The Cubs threatened a few times as they left the bases-loaded twice, and were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
At the Plate:
- Dexter Fowler has been swinging it well as of late, he went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
- Jorge Soler remains productive while hitting second in the order, he was 1-for-5 with an RBI, his ninth of the season.
- Kris Bryant had another solid game, he was 1-for-3 with his first double of the season, he was also hit by a pitch.
On the Mound:
- Jon Lester got the start in this one, and also the loss, he worked 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while walking two, and striking out four.
- Brian Schlitter couldn’t get out of Lester’s trouble, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit while striking out one.
- Jason Motte couldn’t keep things close, he tossed one inning, giving up two runs on two hits.
- Edwin Jackson had a solid outing out of the pen today, he worked two scoreless innings, he surrendered one hit.
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.
A popular narrative the last couple of years has the been the Cubs ability, or inability to take walks, or make contact. It was absolutely true, the Cubs were a team that would belt a dinger, but no one would be on base. When someone was on base, the Cubs just couldn’t make contact, it wasn’t hard to see why they were 26th in the Majors in runs scored last year. For the past few years the organization preached a “Cubs Way” that would see the team grind out at bats, make more contact, and be a general pain in the you know what for opposing pitchers. While it’s early, we are starting to see glimpses of what an offense built around the “Cubs Way” will look like.
The Cubs organization was definitely targeting guys this off-season that could help push the club in this new direction. What impresses me are the guys that were here last year have been so much better in their approach this year. Arismendy Alcantara is only hitting .091 on the season, but he has an OBP of .259, he’s walked five times already this year. We haven’t seen OBP numbers like this in what seems like forever, Chris Coghlan (.385), Jorge Soler (.382), Anthony Rizzo (.429), even Starlin Castro has contributed in this way (.364). These are the kind of numbers that turn solo home runs into two run shots to tie the game in the eighth, kind of like Soler on Monday Night. The importance of getting on base really can’t be understated, it really doesn’t matter how, just do it.
Let’s look at a comparison between 2014 and 2015, I know it’s a super small sample size, but the improvement in the numbers is striking.
Let’s extrapolate that out for a full 2015 season, the Cubs are on pace to walk 607 times, and strikeout 1,316 times. That would mean that the Cubs would have 165 more guys on base via the walk over the course of the season compared to last year. In regards to the strikeouts, the Cubs are on pace to strikeout 161 fewer times, that means those K’s turn into walks, or balls in play that the other team has to account for. You couple this kind of turnaround at the plate with a lineup that has some additional power in it (Kris Bryant), and the Cubs aren’t going to be 26th in the Majors in scoring for very long, and that should mean more victories on the Northside.
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.
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.