The Rivalry is Alive
It was a heated game yesterday at Wrigley Field with the Cubs facing the Cardinals. The Cubs got off to a fast start and put 3 runs up on St. Louis starter Lance Lynn in the 1st inning. Anthony Rizzo, Tommy La Stella and Starlin Castro all drove in runs in the 1st. The Cardinals came back to tie the game with 2 runs in the 2nd inning and a run in the 5th inning. Immediately after the game was tied up, Castro hit a 2 run home run in the bottom of the 5th, but he wasn’t done. The next inning Castro hit a 3 run home run to extend the lead to 8-3, which would end up being the final score.
During the game, there we’re some moments of tension between the two teams. In the 5th inning, Matt Holliday was at the plate, who was playing in his first game back from a long DL stint, and he was hit in the back of the helmet on a wild pitch by Dan Haren. He seemed to be fine, and was taken out of the game for a pinch runner. It was later revealed the he was going to be taken out of the game anyway, as he had not yet been cleared to run the bases. Both teams were given a warning because Rizzo had also been hit by a pitch. Then in the 7th inning, Rizzo was hit for the second time, this time in the back of the leg by Cardinals reliever Matt Beslile. Beslile was then ejected along with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning.
Since Castro was removed as the Cubs everyday starting shortstop, he has been terrific in a utility role starting at multiple positions and providing starters with rest. In that time he has hit .356 with a 958 OPS, compared to his numbers starting of .236 batting average and .575 OPS. It has been great to see him embrace his new role and go out to compete and do his job every time he takes the field. This productivity is great from the position he is in and would be great to keep around, but he is also doing a lot to increase his value in trade discussions.
Success Down the Stretch
How about Kris Bryant in these last 2 months? I knew he was playing well but I never realized how well. In August and October, he is slashing .333/.432/.605 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI’s. He has put himself solely at the top of all ROY discussions with his second half play, where other candidates have faltered. He did not start in the game yesterday, but came in later as a substitution. He will look to pick up where he left off in today’s game.
Closing the Gap
With the win for the Cubs yesterday in an early game, added pressure was put on the Pirates to win last night against the Dodgers to keep the Cubs 2 games down. They were not able to overcome the roadblock that is Zach Grienke and fell in the first game of the series. The Cubs are now just 1 game back from the first wildcard spot and a home playoff game. It will not get any easier for the Pirates, as they will have to face Clayton Kershaw. This could be the day that we catch Pittsburgh.
What’s On Tap?
Travis Wood is scheduled to get the start for the Cubs today against Michael Wacha of the Cardinals. The Cubs have found great success against Wacha in previous matchups this season and will look to keep the trend going as they try to win their 5th straight game. Don’t expect to Wood to work deep, as it’s been tabbed as a bullpen game.
THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY
1935 – The Cubs win their 16th consecutive game as they beat Carl Hubbell, completing a four-game sweep of the Giants. The mark is the most since the 1924 Dodgers won 15 straight games.
1955 – Cubs’ infielder Ernie Banks hit his fifth grand slam of the season to establish a new major league mark, but Rip Repulski’s 12th inning homer off of Jim Davis proves to be the difference as the Cardinals beat Chicago, 6-5.
2010 – Standing on third base, Tyler Colvin’s chest is punctured when he is hit by a piece of Welington Castillo’s shattered maple bat. The Cubs’ rookie outfielder, who will not play another game this season, scores on his teammate’s double, but leaves the game in the bottom half of the inning to be taken to a hospital.