Cubs Record: 23-6 (1st in NL Central; 7.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh)
W: Warren (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
L: Solis (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
S: Rondon (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
MVP: Cubs batters with 2 outs
The wind was blowing in and it was a cool day, the kind of day at Wrigley where balls don’t normally travel very far and offenses don’t normally score a whole lot. Neither of those happened today. Fun fact: out of the 13 runs scored today, 8 of them were driven in with 2 outs.
Kris Bryant and his home run. He absolutely murdered a ball Saturday. It was an 0-2 fastball that was right down the middle of the plate and as straight as a razor’s edge, which is essentially the pitcher (Gio Gonzales in this instance) asking Kris to mash the ball. There was a 23 mph wind blowing in from left, but Kris Bryant doesn’t care about your puny wind, Mother Nature. The ball ended up traveling 423 feet and was deposited about halfway up the left field bleachers. I can’t fathom how far the ball would have gone if it was a warm day with the wind blowing out.
Dexter Fowler did a great job with the leather and the wood today. He drove in the first run with a long triple to right center and was tracking balls well all day long. There is no stopping him from getting on base right now. He went 2-for-4 with a walk to increase his on base percentage to .455, good for best in the majors. I don’t want to see him get cold, but I realize it will happen eventually. For now we should all just enjoy his ridiculously great play.
Sexter’s RBI triple in the 3rd came with two outs. Ryan Kalish came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 6th and dropped a single just out of Danny Espinoza’s reach in left field that drove in two. Addison Russell also came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 7th and hit a double along the foul line in right field that Bryce Harper couldn’t snag to drive in two more runs. He also singled in the bottom of he 6th with two outs to drive in a run.
Jason Hammel was inconsistent today. He had trouble commanding all of his pitches and began most batters with a 1-0 or 2-0 count. When he got behind hitters he seemed tentative and it rarely felt like he had the Nationals hitters off balance at any point during the game today. He struggled through 5 innings and probably should have been pulled during the fifth rather than after it. Luckily, the Cubs survived his subpar performance.
Cubs pitchers walked six batters in this game, with Hammel allowing three to reach base via the free pass.
Jason Heyward hitting in the two spot and going 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts was not pretty. I would never suggest his removal from the lineup, but he should not so high in the while he struggles to hit. He’s getting on base at a decent rate (.318 OBP), but not enough to warrant his place at the top of the lineup.
Jake Arrieta (6-0, 0.84 ERA, 0.74 WHIP) will take the hill against Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.35 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) tomorrow to hopefully finish the four game series with a sweep. First pitch will be at 1:20 CST.