Bryan’s out traipsing around Europe for a few days, so I’m going to be taking over Rundown duties until he can locate reliable wifi.
As good as sweeping Friday’s double-header felt, dropping both weekend games in Philly felt just as bad. The Phillies are an absolute chemical spill of a team right now, to the point where I thought the Cubs might have to break out their throwback hazmat suits for the series.
There are some games you just know your team is going to win, and this was one of them. In this case, the Cubs were facing Aaron Harang, he of the 5.04 ERA and 1.41 WHIP and playing for his seventh different team in as many seasons. And then there’s that soul patch. How the Cubs weren’t able to just knock this guy all over the yard is beyond me.
With an off-day Monday, Joe Maddon will get the chance to get everyone ready for a four-game set in Pittsburgh. The series will open with another double-header, the Cubs’ second in less than a week. They’re really going to need to get some mileage out of Jason Hammel in the opener, as the bullpen actually handled the whole game Saturday and had to put in 5 innings Sunday.
Maddon has been trying to give Hammel some rest, so he should have plenty of gas in the tank as the Cubs try to gain ground on the Pirates and maybe grab home-field advantage for the coin-flip game. Jon Lester takes the bump in the second game, and he’ll need to be on point as well.
Pittsburgh was able to pull out an extra-innings win over Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, which puts the Cubs 4 games behind them. This series, then, will go a very long way toward determining how the Cubs handle the rest of the season. Win 3 games and they can keep being aggressive in pursuit of the Bucs. A split or worse, and they’re going to have to play defense and just hold onto their spot.
Cogs with a big day
Chris Coghlan ended up with 11 total bases after lashing triples in the 1st and 3rd innings, then blasting a home run in the 5th and capping it off with a single in the 9th. Despite the big effort, Cogs scored only 2 runs and had 1 RBI. Because he really can’t hit lefties (.095 BA this season), he’s only going to face right-handed pitchers, but he’s been almost the perfect platoon player.
Pelicans take first step toward title
Myrtle Beach opened its quest for the Mills Cup in Wilmington against the Blue Rocks and came away 3-2 victors in 10 innings. Jorge Soler was 1-4 with a game-tying RBI double in the 6th and Jen-Ho Tseng went 6 innings, allowing a single run on only 3 hits, to fuel the win.
Game 2 is tonight at 6:35 pm ET and then the teams have a day off before heading back to Myrtle Beach for at least one game — and at most three — in what could possibly be a five-game series. It’s nice to see potential future Cubs getting postseason experience, regardless of the level, and you like to see the organization experience success.
On a more personal level, I’m very happy for the members of the Pelicans staff who have worked so hard to make this a great part of Cubs baseball. I’m lucky to call some of them friends and they’ve made me feel like part of their little family. Classy enough to be Cardinals, these birds are providing a great experience to all the fans who attend their games and follow them on social media. From ownership on down to the ushers, they just get it.