After coming from behind to win a nail-bitter of a game on Thursday night, the Cubs hoped to replicate their success with another win on Friday in Milwaukee. Although, I don’t think they actually wanted to go into extra innings once again to get it done. And while John Lackey was largely ineffective tonight, lasting only four innings while allowing three runs, the offense and bullpen stepped up to lead the Cubs to another big win (box score).
Why the Cubs Won
The bullpen was key in this game. In their six innings of work they allowed a run on two hits and a walk, while striking out eight. They did a very good job at keeping this potent Brewers lineup under control.
Similar to last night, the offense came up big when they needed to most.
After digging themselves into an early 3-0 deficit, the Cubs slowly worked their way back into the game. Jon Jay and Kris Bryant both drove in runs in the top of the 3rd inning, and Ben Zobrist had a big two-run single in the top of the 5th. The Cubs showed exceptional patience at the place to load the bases against Corey Knebel in the top of the 10th. The winning run was scored on a Tommy La Stella walk.
Leading off the top of the 5th inning, Jon Jay made Brewers starter Brandon Woodrow work hard. He fouled of 11 pitches en route to a 15-pitch plate appearance, which resulted in a single. After Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch and Anthony Rizzo grounded out to move the runners over, Ben Zobrist came to the plate and bounced a single to center to drive in both Jay and Bryant. Without Jay’s great at-bat, I don’t think that inning results in runs for the Cubs.
With Corey Knebel having issues locating his pitches, Joe Maddon turned to Tommy La Stella with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 10th. That turned out to be a good decision, as La Stella was able to take advantage of Knebel’s control issues and work a walk that drove in the eventual game winning run. It was a great at-bat, especially for a guy coming in cold off the bench.
In the bottom of the 10th inning and the Cubs up by a run, Carl Edwards Jr. was pitching with a runner on first base and one out. Willson Contreras blocked a pitch that bounced out in front of the plate. The runner at first, Eric Sogard, sprinted for second as Contreras scooped up the ball and threw to Addison Russell. Russell kept the tag on as Sogard slid into the base and was called out as he came slightly off the bag. That play helped seal the win for the Cubs.
Stats that Matter
- John Lackey was not good tonight – 4 IP, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR allowed
- Jon Jay had a great game and his 15 pitch at-bat was as big as a late season at-bat gets – 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2B
- Kris Bryant was at it again and while he may not win the NL MVP, he sure has been playing like one for the Cubs down the stretch – 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1BB
The Cubs did it again. The win wasn’t quite as dramatic as last night’s victory, but they still won a close game against the team in second place. The Brewers have now been knocked to third place in the NL Central and the Cardinals, who won in the final frame against the Pirates tonight, are in second place. The Cubs magic number to clinch the division currently stands at five. We’re getting closer to the postseason, folks!
Tomorrow at 12:05 pm CT, Kyle Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs while Brent Suter takes the bump for the Brewers. The game will be broadcast Nationally on Fox.