Cubs Record: 76-43 (1st in NL Central)
W: Jon Lester (13-4, 2.86)
L: Jimmy Nelson (6-13, 4.31)
MVP: Jon Lester
Following a day-night doubleheader sweep of the Brewers on Tuesday, the Cubs went up against Jimmy Nelson Wednesday night in game three of a four-game set. While Nelson had historically pitched well against Chicago, he has struggled of late and the Cubs wasted little time in extending his recent stretch of misery.
Dexter Fowler led off the Cubs’ half of the 1st with a walk and advanced to second after Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch. Ben Zobrist would drive in Fowler one out later with a single to right, and Addison Russell followed that up with a soft single to right to drive in Bryant, giving the Cubs an early 2-0 lead.
With runners at the corners, Jorge Soler stepped up and absolutely crushed a 2-2 fastball deep to left-center field, staking Chicago to a 5-0 advantage after one inning. And when I say Soler crushed one, I mean it. The ball went 450 feet, falling just short of hitting the video board in left, and had an exit velocity of 107 mph. Not too shabby.
In the bottom of the 3rd, David Ross decided to get in on the act and hit a no-doubter into the left field bleachers, pushing the lead up to 6-0.
The Brewers finally got on the board against Chicago starter Jon Lester in the top of the 6th. Keon Broxton led off the inning with a single and proceeded to steal second and third base. Orlando Arcia hit a slow comebacker to Lester to drive in Broxton, trimming the Cubs’ lead to 6-1.
That was as close as Milwaukee would get, as the teams traded zeros the rest of the way, giving the Cubs a 6-1 victory.
Lester wasn’t terribly sharp Wednesday night, but he certainly pitched well enough in this one. His command was off at times and he racked up a pretty high pitch count (118 pitches), but it’s tough to complain when your starter goes 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven. The outing against the Brewers extended Lester’s string of dominance at Wrigley Field this season. In 12 home starts in 2016, the veteran left-hander is 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
Speaking of impressive, since coming off of the disabled list on Aug. 5, Soler has gone on an absolute tear. In his first 10 games back from the DL (seven starts), the Cubs’ young outfielder has a slash line of .379/.438/.862 with four home runs and 10 RBI. It looks like Soler has unleashed full-on playoff mode, which is a scary thought for the opposition.
As mentioned above, Nelson has typically pitched well against the Cubs. It was pretty clear early on that that was not going to be the case Wednesday night. His command was way off and Chicago made him pay with five 1st-inning runs. By the time he settled down, the Cubs had tagged him for six runs on six hits and two walks over 5 innings.
There really wasn’t anything ugly in this one, unless you want to include the probable bruise Travis Wood will now have on his right leg after he was hit by a foul ball while playing chicken in the bullpen.
Still can't figure this one out: https://t.co/POUGyVtRRg
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 18, 2016
The Cubs will go for the series sweep Thursday afternoon when they send righty Jake Arrieta (14-5, 2.55) to the mound. The Brewers will counter with young right-hander Zach Davies (9-5, 3.80). First pitch is set for 1:20 p.m. (CST).