Cubs Record: 53-35 (1st in NL Central; 7.5 games ahead)
W: Pedro Strop (2-2)
L: Tony Watson (1-3)
S: Hector Rondon (14)
MVP: Anthony Rizzo (4-for-5) and Hector Rondon
The Chicago Cubs’ rough stretch of playing 24 consecutive games has finally come to a close. Coming into today’s game, the Cubs were 1-9 in their last 10 (including a five-game losing streak). The game started out promising with a one-out, 2 RBI single by Addison Russell. However, John Lackey gave up the lead in the wretched 2nd inning and the “here we go again” feeling started to creep in.
In the top of the next inning the Cubs tied it up on a groundout by Willson Contreras that scored Kris Bryant. That lead too was short lived as Lackey gave up a solo home run to Andrew McCutchen in the very next inning. The Cubs answered back, this time on an Albert Almora Jr. two-run home run that made the score 5-4. The Pirates tied the game back up in the 7th inning on a McCutchen sacrifice fly.
Yet again, the Cubs battled back in the next inning on an RBI double by Bryant. This made it 6-5 and marked the Cubs’ third lead of the day. Unlike most recent games, the bullpen pulled out this win and Hector Rondon capped it off with a save. The Cubs finally win!
Two words: Anthony Rizzo. He went 4-for-5 with a run scored and at one point had 8 straight hits over the last two games. Kris Bryant came through with a clutch go-ahead RBI in the top of the 8th inning. He also went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Hector Rondon shut down the side in order in a relatively low-stress 9th inning to help break the recent five-game losing streak and send them into the All-Star break on a high note.
As a team, the Cubs went 3-for-12 with RISP, which highlights some of the struggles they have been having lately. Lackey gave up five runs in six innings with two home runs.
The Cubs committed two errors (Baez and Contreras). To point out the obvious, when a team is struggling like the Cubs have been errors like these do not help. Also, John Lackey is ugly.
Quite mercifully, the All-Star break has come for the Cubs. This will provide the team (and fans) with a much needed mental and physical break. The Cubs will be sending seven of their players to the game (including their whole starting infield), which will take place on Tuesday July 12th at 7:00 pm Chicago time on FOX.