The Chicago Cubs (71-41) seem to be winning games every possible way lately; close games, blowouts, extra innings, you name it. They just keep on winning. They’ve now won nine straight games and look poised to run away with the NL Central, as if they haven’t already.
Jason Hammel (12-5, 2.90 ERA) threw 101 pitches through 7 innings and was spot on for most of the game. He only found himself in serious trouble once, in the fourth inning, when he gave up two singles and a walk but he ended up getting out of the jam without giving up a run.
Meanwhile, the Cubs offense chipped away.
Kris Bryant hit a two-out double in the bottom of the third inning and was driven in by Anthony Rizzo when he singled past the Angels’ diving second baseman.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jason Hammel would strike on the offensive side. He hit a single with one out and scored when Dexter Fowler slapped an opposite field double down the third base line.
After an Albert Pujols fielder’s choice scored a run, tightening the score to 2-1 Cubs, Addison Russell deposited a deep drive into the left center field bleachers. That made the score 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Enter Aroldis Chapman.
The energy that emanates from Chapman is incredible. You can feel it like a wave of electricity through the stands. And when he comes in, in contrast to many other years….just think Carlos Marmol and you get the picture, it’s exciting. You actually want the game to be close just so you can see him pitch.
And pitch he did, coming in for the ninth inning to strike out the side. Game over.
Cubs win 3-1 (Box Score).
Stats that mattered
- 2016 2nd half Hammel is looking a lot better than 2015 2nd half Hammel – 7.0IP, 0R, 2H, 4BB, 6Ks
- The Cubs were 2-for-6 with RISP, not great but good enough on a night when runs were hard to come by.
The Cubs grinded out the win tonight. It wasn’t pretty but they got key hits when then needed them and Jason Hammel was very good too. It’s not how you’d draw it up but, at the end of the day, it’s win.
The only negative to the night came in the eighth inning, when Pedro Strop strained his left leg trying to make a defensive play on a softly hit ball on the infield. He ended up leaving the game and, as of now, there’s been no update on his status.
The Cubs will clash with the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night at 7:05 PM CDT in the first game of a four-game series. The Cubs will send lefty Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93 ERA) to the mound seeking their 10th straight win.