It was deja vu last night, as Starlin Castro came up with a huge game-winning hit for the second game in a row. With the win, the Cubs took three out of four from the Reds and are seven games over .500.
The Cardinals were rained out, so the Cubs are now 6.5 games back (and a half-game behind the Pirates). It doesn’t seem like the Cubs have made up a lot of ground lately, probably because they haven’t, but all they can do is keep piling up wins.
Sunday was yet another type of win we haven’t seen in recent years. Jon Lester rebounded with a great outing, going seven innings and giving up only the one run. And the bullpen (which included appearances from Edwin Jackson and Brian Schlitter) was strong again, tossing four scoreless frames.
The exceptional ‘pen work was highlighted by Jason Motte, who faced bases loaded with nobody out in the top of the 9th but was able to escape unscathed.
It’s so nice to have a fun baseball team back on the north side of Chicago. Keep these walk-off wins coming. Can’t really get enough.
Here’s a cool note on the walk-off win, via Carrie Muskat:
The return of Schlitter (again)
With the Cubs bullpen being used heavily lately, Junior Lake was sent down to Triple-A to make room for another reliever. Returning is the guy who puts all hockey playoff beards to shame: Brian Schlitter.
With Lake gone, the Cubs used Mike Baxter in right field. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts (although a couple of them were on questionable third-strike calls).
Jorge Soler’s presence is definitely missed in this lineup right now. We’re going to have to get used to more Baxter and Chris Denorfia.
Once Soler went on the disabled list earlier this month, it sounded like Lake had a solid hold on the replacement job. But he didn’t play spectacularly, and his antics in Miami didn’t seem to go over well with Joe Maddon. So he’s the guy to go.
The Cubs now have 14 pitchers on the roster, leaving them with a very short bench.
* Jorge Soler started throwing yesterday, but is still wearing his walking boot and is still not hitting. Heal up fast, big guy.
* Jacob Turner had a nice outing yesterday in his second rehab appearance for Double-A Tennessee. The young righty, working his way back from an elbow injury, pitched five scoreless innings and gave up only two hits. More outings like this and we could see Turner up in the Cubs rotation at some point soon.
* Young shortstop Gleyber Torres had a career night for the South Bend Cubs yesterday. Torres went 5-for-5 (Arby’s sky point), with a home run (his first), double, three RBIs and two runs scored. We could see Torres move up to high-A at some point soon.