Cubs record: 25-7, 1st NL Central, (8 games up)
W: Carlos Villanueva
L: Pedro Strop
S: Fernando Rodney
MVP: Ben Zobrist/Addison Russell
The Cubs were set to win in the first game of a doubleheader before the bullpen ran into trouble for the second day in a row. Kyle Hendricks was pretty great after a shaky first inning and ended up throwing 6.2 with two earned runs (one unearned) and was in line for the win. Pedro Strop relieved The Professor with the Cubs up 4-2, but he wouldn’t get out of the 7th inning unscathed, surrendering the lead on a three-run home run to Brett Wallace on the back of a Javier Baez error.
The Cubs had one last comeback in the 8th when Dexter Fowler singled and Ben Zobrist walked against Brandon Maurer with no outs, but Heyward, Bryant, and Rizzo couldn’t get the clutch hit. Former Cub Fernando Rodney came in and worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, shooting an arrow into the sky and ending the game with a final score of 7-4. The winning streak ends at eight games.
Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell are red-hot and playing at a really high level right now. Entering the game having reached base in his last six appearances, Zobrist reached with two singles and walk before flying out to center for his first out in three days. He would finish the day 2-3 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored. Russell started the game by making a nice defensive play to end the 1st inning and then contributed with his bat as well. Scoring two runs of his own on the day, he went 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. Both were really hard outs today, but sadly, it wasn’t enough.
While Javier Baez is usually stellar in the field, he had two errors today. The first came to start the game and led to an unearned run before the Cubs even had a chance to bat. The second came in the ugly (spoiler alert) 7th inning with two outs and Pedro Strop on the mound, which allowed a run to score and the runners to advance. He needs to lock it up moving forward if he expects more playing time.
Strop was straight-up bad today. Entering the game with two outs, the bases completely empty and a 4-2 lead, the flamethrower exploded and the Padres tagged him for three earned runs (the one unearned coming on the Baez error). He ended up leaving the game without getting a single out and the Cubs wouldn’t be able to recover. Neil Ramirez finished the 7th, but got into a lot of trouble in the 8th by loading the bases with no outs. He managed to get out of it only allowing one run, but it wasn’t a good outing. The bullpen had a game they’d like to forget.
The Cubs had little time to shake this off, as the second half of the doubleheader at Wrigley Field tipped tonight. John Lackey will take the mound looking to build upon his 2-0 record at home with a 2.49 ERA. The Boys in Blue will face Drew Pomeranz who only allowed one run to the Mets in his last start and appears to be one of the Padres better starters this season. It’s time to start a new winning streak — let’s play two!