Cubs Record: 34-14 (1st in NL Central)
W: John Lackey (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 5-2)
L: Vince Velasquez (4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 5-2)
MVP: John Lackey
The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 got off to a fast and clean start today and so did the offense of the Chicago Cubs. Scoring runs in each of the first three innings gave the Cubs a cushion, and the Phillies could not keep pace. Rookie Alexander Rossi may have won the Indianapolis 500, but Vince Velasquez, in his first start at Wrigley Field, was not able to finish his appearance this afternoon with a victory.
The scoring started in the first on a well-placed soft line drive to left from Anthony Rizzo. Miguel Montero continued the scoring with a towering blast that went an estimated 420 feet off the right field scoreboard in the 2nd inning. In the 3rd inning, Ben Zobrist effectively put the game away with a three-run homer into the basket in right field. The early five-run lead allowed John Lackey to fire away at the Philly lineup. Using a strong power slider, Lackey was able to battle slight control issues to limit the Phillies to just one run on a 7th inning home run by Tyler Goeddel. The Cubs added two runs on singles by Kris Bryant and Montero in the 5th. Tommy Joseph of the Phillies added a solo home run in the 9th to complete the scoring.
Several players who have struggled some in the early part of this season had nice days at the plate. Rizzo had two hits and an RBI, Montero also had two hits on the day plus a huge blast on his homer and Jason Hayward was also productive with a hit and a walk.
Ben Zobrist was able to extend his hitting streak to 15 games with his 3rd-inning home run.
Lackey continues to pitch well and, with the wind blowing out, was able to keep the Phillies at bay over seven strong innings. His fastball control was not as sharp as in past starts, but his slider was tough to hit throughout his appearance. Lackey lowered his ERA to 3.16 today.
Baserunning by both teams prevented scoring opportunities. In the top of the 4th with runners on the corners, the Phillies’ Maikel Franco ran out of the baseline from first to second to avoid a tag on a ground ball, which then resulted in a double play on the throw to first. If he had simply stopped, the run would have scored even if he would have been tagged later at 2nd base.
Dexter Fowler took an aggressive turn on a hard ground ball error to shortstop. Fowler was able to stay in a rundown long enough to allow Heyward to reach 2nd base, but the Cubs would have had two runners on with no outs
On the mound, the Phillies walked six batters and gave up 10 hits. The Phillies’ starter, Velasquez, was not able to solve the patient Cubs approach and suffered his worst performance of the year.
The Cubs will take a five-game winning streak into a Memorial Day showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:05 CT on Monday. Jason Hammel (6-1, 2.17) will face off against Alex Wood (1-3, 4.03) in the first of a four game series between the two contenders.