Cubs Record: 45-20 (1st in NL Central)
W: Jake Arrieta (11-1, 1.74 ERA)
L: Francisco Liriano (4-7, 5.03 ERA)
MVP: Jake Arrieta (6 IP, 0 ER, 3BB, 11K)
The Cubs wrapped up game one of a three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 6-0 victory. It was a game with many potential turning points upon which the Cubs were able to capitalize while the Pirates could not.
There were a lot of feel-good moments in the game and one of them came in the bottom of the 1st when Matt Szczur hit a two-run bomb scoring Dexter Fowler.
With Kris Bryant under the weather, Matt Szczur took advantage of the chance to start. This is the same guy that got ping-ponged between Chicago and Iowa last season, but he’s really made a case for himself and we know he is here to stay.
The other Cub runs came in the 6th on RBI by Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora, and Addison Russell.
It seems as if Jake Arrieta is part of the good every time he is on the mound. Despite running into big trouble in the 3rd and 6th innings, Arrieta utilized the strikeout to work his way out of jams. With his 11K performance today, Arrieta notched his 11th win of the season.
After an impressive performance on the Cubs latest road trip, Albert Almora had a two-RBI day at Wrigley. He was part of a three-run rally in the Cubs 6th as he doubled in the 4th run of the game.
Addison Russell had arguably his best at-bat all year when he battled Pirates reliever Cory Luebke for 13 pitches before eventually drawing a walk to force in a run. A bases-loaded walk can sometimes be seen as a “free” RBI, but Russell worked hard for this one.
It was a game of missed opportunities, as both the Cubs and Pirates squandered big scoring chances. If you examine the play-by-play, you’d think this was a high-scoring game.
The Cubs had the bases loaded in the 4th and 5th innings but were unable to do anything. The Pirates had men on first and third with only one out in the top of the 3rd inning but suffered the wrath of the Jake Arrieta strikeout.
They had yet another chance in the top of the 6th when Arrieta uncharacteristically walked three consecutive men with only one out. The next two Pirate batters struck out and they failed to score yet again.
Anthony Rizzo and Josh Harrison collided in the bottom of the 7th and it looked bad as both men were slow to get up. However, they both eventually got up and walked off the field on their own power.
Rizzo was hit by a pitch twice in the game. The second one hit him on his forearm and he was visibly bothered by it as he kept rubbing his arm.
These teams meet again tomorrow and the Cubs will try to improve to 7-1 on the season against their division rivals. Jon Lester (8-3, 1.89 ERA) takes the mound and he will be opposed by his namesake Jon Niese (6-3, 4.60 ERA). Game two begins at 7:15 CT, so be sure to tune in!