The Cubs offense has been non-existent of late, perhaps inspiring a trade for Daniel Murphy. Trades aside, the Chicago offense was due to finally break out and break out it did. By the end of Wednesday’s game, the Northsiders had a lopsided victory over Detroit.
The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Ronny Rodriguez singled home Victor Martinez. Jon Lester settled down after that and didn’t allow anything the rest of his outing. The Cubs bats finally broke through in the top of the 5th inning. Albert Almora singled and came home when David Bote took Francisco Liriano deep to left for a two-run homer. That, of course, represented the first runs scored by the Cubs NOT via the solo-HR since last Wednesday against the Brewers.
Chicago’s new addition added to the lead later in the inning, Murphy singled home Ian Happ to make it 3-1. Willson Contreras hit an infield single in the 6th to score Almora for the Cubs fourth run. Lester put two men on in the bottom of the inning, but Steve Cishek retired Mikie Mahtook to end the threat.
The Tigers best threat came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Carl Edwards Jr. allowed a walk and a single with one out. Justin Wilson came on and got a grounder from Niko Goodrum that Anthony Rizzo misplayed for an error. Pedro Strop then got the call with the bases loaded and one out. Strop got a fly out and a grounder to exit the inning, but not before walking Jim Adduci to force in a run.
The Cubs put the game to bed in the top of the 9th inning. Victor Alcantara was the victim of a week of pent up offense. Javy Baez jacked a three-run bomb to left after fouling a ball hard off his leg earlier in the at bat. Rizzo followed with a solo-shot to left to complete the scoring. Brandon Kintzler tossed a 1-2-3 inning to close the game with a much needed Chicago win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Whether it was Murphy or more likely the law of averages, the bats came to life for the Cubs Wednesday night. Lester was good enough to hold a weak Detroit attack at bay.
Bote’s homer was the first time the Cubs had scored more than one run in a game in a week. It also snapped a long cold streak for Chicago’s young third baseman.
Stats That Matter
- Lester struggled a bit early before locking in: 5.2 IP, 1 R, 7 H, 3 K, and 1 BB. That makes it just one run allowed in his last two starts. Whatever mechanical changes Jon made appear to be working so far.
- Murphy provided what you would expect from him, two singles and long at bats. The best way to think of his offensive approach is a much, much better version of Tommy La Stella.
- Bote walked twice in addition to his home run. It would be nice to see him heat back up until Kris Bryant can return.
With the Cardinals and Brewers surging, this was a very important win. Lester and Kyle Hendricks looked very good against the Tigers. If the offense can get hot, things start to look up the next few weeks.
The Cubs head back to Wrigley for four games with the Cincinnati Reds starting Thursday at 7:05 pm CT. Cole Hamels faces off against Anthony DeSclafani in a game televised by MLB Network (out of market) and NBC Sports Chicago.