The Cubs welcomed the Rangers to Wrigley Field for the first game of a weekend set Friday afternoon. Chicago got another outstanding pitching performance and scored just enough to take home a win.
Marcus Stroman and Nathan Eovaldi were very sharp early on and neither side scored a run the first three innings. The Cubs moved ahead in the bottom of the 4th inning when Dansby Swanson, on first base after a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on a Cody Bellinger single.
Stroman pitched two more innings and escaped a 6th inning jam to leave with a one-run lead. Ian Happ rocketed a double just off the glove of center fielder Adolis Garcia to score Tucker Barnhart and double Chicago’s advantage in the bottom of the frame.
Texas loaded the bases against Stroman with a hit-by-pitch and two walks in the 6th inning, but Josh Jung softly grounded out to second base to end the threat.
Why the Cubs Won
The pitching shut down a very talented Rangers lineup and the offense manufactured a pair of runs to seal the victory.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman has not allowed a run in two starts the season: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K, and 3 BB. He had his sinker really working with eight ground ball outs Friday.
- Nico Hoerner had a pair of singles and looks locked in at the plate.
- Fulmer displayed nasty stuff in his two innings and collected four strikeouts.
The Cubs once again demonstrated what will be their winning formula in 2023: quality pitching bolstered by outstanding defense. Hitting for power will be a challenge for Chicago, so the other aspects of the game will be huge. An effort like Friday is very encouraging and shows this club is capable of hanging around this season.
Game two of the series at the Friendly Confines is on Saturday at 3:05pm CT. It’s a pair of lefties on the mound as Justin Steele faces Martīn Pérez with the broadcast carried on FS1, Marquee, and 670 The Score.