Giants 2 @ Cubs 3 (Box Score / Condensed Game)
Kudos to Jason Heyward for getting three hits and having all three runs batted in. While the hits weren’t necessarily impressive, the timing certainly was, and they got the job done. It had to feel good for the big guy to contribute that way, and I hope this leads to better things.
I don’t like this Cubs lineup with Zobrist hitting 4 and Heyward 6. Those are two fairly soft spots in the middle and I think it’s time for some rearranging. I really think that Rizzo has had no protection with Zobrist behind him and that’s why his power has fallen. Zobrist is good – but he’s not a 4 hitter, he’s not a power guy and no one is afraid to pitch to him.
Speaking of “afraid to pitch to him.” Did you see the Soler at bat? After he hit a foul ball 2.3 miles and took out a small plane, a drone and two birds, the next four pitches, although not “intentional” couldn’t have been further from the plate without intention. That said, for a few games, anyway, I’d like to see 2 – 3 – 4 of Rizzo, Bryant, Soler – in that order.
Russell continues to get better. 3 more hits and some impressive at bats. Interesting statistics noted on the broadcast – since Russell has taken over at shortstop, the Cubs are 109 – 59. In that span, which is roughly a season, he’s hit 29 homers, and (I didn’t write this down, so am going from memory, but I think) 120+ rbi’s. (Might have been 125.) If you recall? He missed the NLCS, which they lost. He’s made a shitload of great plays, and only a baker’s dozen of errors since the position switch. In many ways, he is being overshadowed by Kris Bryant, but I think that Russell will be every bit as good as Bryant over the long haul. Bryant handles the attention so well, that Russell doing his thing in the “shadow,” so to speak, probably hasn’t hurt him a bit. This guy hit 9th all of last year. Now he’s hitting 5 and raking. And he’s 22.
The bullpen, which was a primary source of concern, continues to rock. In the series with San Francisco, the bullpen threw 16 innings and allowed no runs. Yes, you read it right. ZERO. ZIP. NADA. NIL. LOVE. NONE. In fact, yesterday, they threw 8 innings, collectively, and while walking several hitters, only yielded 3 hits. In the previous games (one of which they watched and did not play) they threw 8 innings and gave up…well, nothing. No runs. No hits. No walks. Grimm and Edwards have just been dirty from the right side, and Rob Z and Wood have been very effective from the right. Sure, Z hit Belt in the head, but no harm done. Other than possibly to Belt’s head, but he seemed okay. Joe Smith was again lights out – possibly the hamstring was the issue when he first joined the team, because he’s been great since. Ron Darling said “if he turns into the Joe Smith I saw all those years on the Angels? They’ve got ANOTHER wicked arm down there in that bullpen.”
I’m not against roster expansion, but a thirteen man bullpen is stupid – and it makes for loooooong games, which is exactly what baseball doesn’t need.
The Pirates have completely shit the bed – since being swept by the Cubs, they went on to get swept in Milwaukee, and have lost 6 in a row. The Cubs took the air out of them, and just made the road harder for the Giants, too, since the Dodgers were beating up the pAAAdres this weekend.
Do you care who gets the wild card berths? It looks like the Giants “should” get one, and the Mets and Cardinals are fighting for the other. So, Cubfan, do you have a preference? Mets or Cardinals in the play-in game against the Giants if it stays this way? At this moment, I really don’t care.
It’s a holiday today – so here’s to you, working men and women! Enjoy the day. Have a BBQ. Clean the garage. Watch the game. Have some fun. Get some rest. Walk the dog. Put some Irish Whiskey in your delicious cup of coffee – and enjoy the moment, because it’s a good moment.
Click the scores to bring up full box score
SP – Drew Rucinski – 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K
1B – Bijan Rademacher – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI
SP – Michael Wagner – 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K
RF – Kelly Dugan – 3 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI
SP – James Pugliese – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K
1B – Yasiel Balaguert – 4 for 5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB
SP – Justin Steele – 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K
C – P.J. Higgins – 2 for 4, 2 RBI
SP – Tyson Miller – 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K
3B – Wladimir Galindo – 2 for 5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI