Cubs Record: 75-43 (1st Place NL Central)
W: Jason Hammel (13-5, 2.75)
L: Jhan Marinez (0-1, 3.76)
S: Aroldis Chapman (6)
MVP: Javy Baez: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R
After winning the first half of the day-night doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday afternoon, the Cubs looked for the sweep Tuesday night. Jason Hammel aimed to extend his recent string of good starts against righty Chase Anderson.
Anderson’s night at Wrigley would not be a long one. Kris Bryant, batting second for the Cubs, hit a liner off the right knee of the Brewers hurler. Anderson was able to throw to first to complete the out but had to leave the game. Jhan Marinez came on out of the pen to take over.
The Cubs struck first in the bottom of the 3rd after David Ross walked and advanced to second on a Jason Hammel single. Bryant then singled to left, allowing Ross to score the first run of the game. Hammel took it from there, going 7 shutout innings. He got a lot of help from his defense too (more on that in a bit).
Chicago staged another rally in the bottom of the 6th against right-hander Rob Scahill. Ben Zobrist doubled to left, Willson Contreras singled him home, and Javy Baez inflicted maximum damage on a pitch for a long homer to left to make it 4-0.
Birthday boy Justin Grimm pitched a clean 8th inning and Travis Wood came in the 9th inning and allowed a solo homer to Hernan Perez. After he gave up a single to Chris Carter, Wood was removed for Aroldis Chapman, who created a bit of a mess by walking Jake Elmore and allowing an infield single to Keon Broxton. Finally, the lefty fireballer struck out Martin Maldonado. Cubs win 4-1.
Jason Hammel continued his dominant stretch on Tuesday night. The potato chip connoisseur put up a line of 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 7 K, and 3 BB. In his last 7 starts, Hammel has given up a grand total of 6 runs. Not only that, he even had a single and a double at the plate.
The Cubs made two insane plays on defense to back their starter. With two men on in the top of the 4th, David Ross attempted to pick-off Hernan Perez at second. Ross’s throw skipped into the outfield and both runners attempted to advance. Second baseman Zobrist scurried out and flipped the ball to shortstop Baez, who ran headlong and tagged out Chris Carter right before he made it to second.
Not to be outdone, Anthony Rizzo made an even more amazing play in the top of the 5th. Broxton popped up in foul territory down the right field line and Rizzo sprinted up to the tarp under the ball. Everyone had flashbacks of his tarp catch last year against Milwaukee. The big bear did one better this time, he climbed on the concrete wall and made an amazing backhanded stab above the crowd. He then jumped down and stuck the landing to get a perfect ten from the judges.
Zobrist had a very good game at the plate today, but it was his double-play partner who was the MVP. Javy made an incredible play in the field and destroyed the homer that put the Cubs up big.
It’s time for some real talk about the major league replay review system. It’s not working right now for anyone. The replays are taking way too long and aren’t even always right. In the bottom of the 5th, Rizzo singled to left and Matt Szczur tried to score. Szczur looked safe despite being called out at the plate and Joe Maddon challenged it. After a very long review the call stood as out. In the future there has to be a time limit for reviews. If it can’t be determined in one minute, the call should stand. Enough is enough.
In addition to losing Chase Anderson, the Brewers lost another starter Tuesday night. Ryan Braun slid into the bricks along the left field line chasing a foul ball. Braun was in immediate pain after hitting the wall and had to leave. The Cubs fans showed a little class and didn’t boo or jeer Braun as he left the field.
The Cubs look to continue their success against the Brewers on Wednesday night as Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93 ERA) does battle against Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.09 ERA) at 7:05 pm CT. After all the panic following the Cubs mini-slump against St. Louis, it was good to get a doubleheader sweep. Everyone can take some deep knee-bends and relax.