Cubs Record: 82-45 (1st in NL Central; 14 games ahead of St. Louis)
W: Travis Wood (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
L: Adam Liberatore (1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)
S: Aroldis Chapman (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
MVP: Kris Bryant (2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI)
I was hoping to be able to write about how eager the Cubs were to exact their revenge on Bud Norris for shutting them down when he was in Atlanta. Instead, they were shut down by Bud yet again and 3 of the Dodger runs were scored off of groundouts. The Cubs appeared to make it interesting in the 9th with what I first assumed was yet another #fakerally, but it turned out to be a #realrally.
Jason Heyward, who doubled to lead off the inning, scored on a Kenley Jansen wild pitch, which was a high fastball that Carlos Ruiz could not snag with 1 out. Travis Wood came in and pitched a clean bottom of the 9th. In the top of the 10th, Dexter Fowler led of the inning with a single, and Kris Bryant hit a monster 2-run bomb to right center.
Miguel Montero had a day at the plate. That’s right, he got on base more than once! Snarkiness aside, he had a good day at the plate, walking twice in 4 plate appearances. His on base percentage hasn’t been the problem, though. It’s his ability to make contact with the ball and then have it fall for a hit that has been the problem for Miggy at the plate this year. Hopefully he can get it together next season and have a productive year in his last go-round with Chicago.
Kris Bryant continues to tear up the league. He reached base twice in 4 plate appearances, scoring 3 runs and driving in 3 on a towering homer to left center in the 8th inning and the long bomb to right center in the 10th. He now leads the National League in home runs and all of MLB in fWAR.
Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, and Arolodis Chapman came in to shut down the Dodgers, allowing only 4 baserunners and 1 run in 5 innings of work. Anybody who says the bullpen sucks is wrong.
Jason Heyward came up with a big leadoff double off of Kenley Jansen and went on to score the tying run on that wild pitch. He also singled in the top of the 10th. Maybe I missed it or am simply forgetting, but he did not pull a ball on the ground Friday night. He also worked counts and forced the pitcher to throw a good pitch to get him out. I’m both intrigued and excited to see how he performs at the plate the rest of the way this season.
Mike Montgomery was really inconsistent today. He had difficulty locating his fastball, which led to deep counts and walks. He also walked the leadoff batter 3 times, each instance resulting in a run scored off of a groundout to Addison Russell. The good news is that Montgomery limited the damage to only those 3 runs. I’d say he was serviceable and would not be disappointed to see him start another game for the Cubs. That being said, he can perform better than he did today.
The defense was a bit off. On the TV broadcast, JD quoted Joe Maddon saying that “they all can’t be oil paintings.” What that means is that not every baseball game will be played beautifully by even the most talented team. There will be off days. Today was one of those days. Jorge Soler misplayed a ball in left which allowed Corey Seager to advance to second. As of now it’s been ruled a double, but it should probably be changed to a single and an error. Kris Bryant misplayed a bouncing grounder to his right, allowing Enrique Hernandez to reach base.
The third defensive gaffe isn’t considered an error, but it probably should be. Bud Norris was trying to bunt (which I hate) to move Chase Utley to third. He got it down and Mike Montgomery and Kris Bryant both went for the ball, but both pulled back thinking the other was going to field the ball, which allowed Norris to get on first base with a hit and Utley to reach third.
Jason Hammel (13-6, 3.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) will take the bump for the Cubs as they face the young lefty Julio Urias (4-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.53 WHIP). Hopefully Hammel can get back on track after a horrible last outing in Colorado, where he only lasted 3 and 1/3 innings, giving up 10 runs (6 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks. First pitch is at 1:05 pm local time (3:05 CT).