Cubs Record: 51-28 (1st Place NL Central)
W: Jacob deGrom (4-4, 2.62)
L: Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.45)
MVP: James Loney: 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
Well that game was not fun. After a disappointing loss in game one of the series against the Mets, the Cubs looked to rebound in game two Friday night. Starter Jason Hammel was on the mound trying to avoid an early start to the second-half issues that have plagued his career. Jacob deGrom matched up against Hammel.
It became clear early on that the Cubs right-hander did not have it. James Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera went back-to-back in the bottom of the 2nd. Then the skies opened up and the game was delayed over an hour by rain.
Hammel returned after the delay, but the rest didn’t seem to do him any good. Loney doubled home two more in the 3rd to make it 4-0 Mets. Kris Bryant eased the pain for a moment, taking deGrom deep for a solo shot in the 4th to cut the lead.
That relief was short lived, as the assault on Hammel resumed in short order. Rookie Brandon Nimmo destroyed his first career homer in the 4th, a three-run shot, to make it 7-1. The Mets weren’t done abusing Hammel, adding two more homers (Yoenis Cespedes and Cabrera again) to make it 10-1. After yet another rain delay, the Cubs tallied one more run late to make the final 10-2 Mets.
Not much went well for the Cubs during this turkey of a game. Kris Bryant’s long home run, which made the second-deck in left, was a rare bright spot. So maybe that shut up the Boston sportswriter who said Kris couldn’t hit elite pitching. Willson Contreras’s double meant he has reached base safely in all but one of his starts this year.
Jacob deGrom had Cubs hitters totally shut down from the first batter. Other than Bryant’s moonshot the Mets ace barely broke a sweat tonight. If weather and score would have allowed, deGrom probably goes 7 or 8 strong innings in the game. His performance won’t help to calm those who are yelling about the Cubs’ inability to handle ace-level pitchers.
Jason Hammel had by far the worst start of the season by a Cubs pitcher. Cubs fans are well aware of Hammel’s first-half/second-half splits. Hammel made a commitment to offseason workouts in an effort to prevent such a fade. His start Friday can’t help but raise the fear that another late season slide is at hand. Here’s hoping a Jason Marquis redux can be avoided.
That game was brutal, and if I didn’t have to recap it I would have changed the channel. Jake Arrieta (12-2, 2.10) will try to get back on track for game three of the series. The ageless wonder Bartolo Colon (6-4, 2.86) goes for New York at 6:15 CDT. The first two games of this series sucked pretty hard, but things can change quickly in baseball. Momentum is the next day’s starter and an Arrieta gem would really hit the spot about now.