Cubs Record: 77-43 (1st in NL Central)
W: Jake Arrieta (15-5, 2.75)
L: Zach Davies (9-6, 4.18)
S: Aroldis Chapman (7th with Cubs, 27th overall)
MVP: Kris Bryant
The Cubs swept the 4-game series with the Brewers with a 9-6 victory today in a game that looked a little harder than it needed to be, but a win is a win.
This could probably be called the Kris Bryant Game, but I’m pretty sure that would be like the 4th or 5th Kris Bryant Game this year. He had a fantastic afternoon, going 5-for-5 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI and was just a triple shy of the cycle.
The Cubs as a team had 14 hits (7 for extra bases) and every position player either scored a run or drove at least one in. Well, except for Jorge Soler, but that’s okay because his bomb from yesterday still hasn’t landed).
The Cubs scored 5 runs in the first 3 innings; a Ben Zobrist RBI ground out and an Addison Russell RBI single in the first, a 2-run HR by Bryant in the 2nd, and an RBI double by Willson Contreras in the 3rd. That would usually be enough for Jake Arrieta, but today was not the ace we have become accustomed to.
Arrieta was on cruise control through the first 3.2 innings, walking just one (pitcher Kyle Davies) while surrendering no hits. Then things got out of hand quickly. He walked back-to-back Brewers with 2 outs in the 4th and then gave up a 3-run HR to Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the game 5-3.
The Cubs added a couple more runs (RBI doubles by Bryant and Anthony Rizzo) in the bottom half of the 4th to make it 7-3. The Brewers got a pair back in the top of the 6th on a solo HR and a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-5.
Kris Bryant was not done though, adding another home run in the bottom of the 6th to put the Cubs up 8-5.
The Brewers and Cubs each added runs (RBI ground out for the Brewers; Bryant RBI single for the Cubs) in their halves of the 8th inning to make it a 9-6 game, which is where the score settled after Chapman came in to close it out for the Cubs.
Obviously Kris Bryant’s day was outstanding and noteworthy; he became just the 5th Cub to hit 30 HR’s in their 24-year or younger season. He also is the only player ever to have three two-homer, four-hit games in a season before turning 25 years old. After today, Bryant is hitting .296 with 30 HR’s, 29 doubles, 78 RBI, and 96 runs scored.
Matt Szczur got the start in CF and led off for the Cubs today to give Dexter Fowler a breather. He went 2-for-4 with a double (8), 2 runs scored, and a walk. He hitting a robust .309 and has become the 4th OF that we all hoped he would be.
Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-5 with 2 doubles (36) and an RBI (86). It is really hard to determine who should be the leader in the MVP race between Rizzo and Bryant, but it is super fun to have that debate with two Cubs players.
Addison Russell hit 5th today and had himself a nice 2-for-4 game with an RBI, which for a short period of time put him in 2nd place on the team with 74. Bryant made that stay extremely short, but it is quite impressive how much of a run producer Russell has turned into this season.
Javier Baez went 2-for-4 with 2 singles, one to right and one to left. The latter was on a pitch that was about neck high that he absolutely tomahawked. Baez is hitting .282 on the year and his value to this team remains huge.
Like I said earlier, Jake Arrieta had a very unbalanced start today. He was dominant for stretches and then absolutely lost for others. He made it through 5.2 innings and gave up 5 runs (all earned) on 3 hits (2 HR) and 7 (yes, SEVEN) walks with 3 K’s. To put that in perspective, he walked 9 batters last month in 31.2 innings.
The walks were the ugliest part of what should have been an easy win. The Brewers drew 10 free passes as a team Thursday afternoon. I will put this disclaimer out there though: the Brewers are 2nd in BB% behind the Cubs, so it isn’t like they aren’t skilled in drawing walks. Still, 10 is crazy.
The Cubs head out west for for a three-city trip that includes Colorado, San Diego, and then LA. Friday’s game with the Rockies starts at 7:40 PM (CST) and Kyle Hendricks (11-7, 2.19) will get the call for the Cubs against Tyler Anderson (4-4, 3.42) for the Rockies.