Ivy is feeling under the weather today so I’m doing this series recap for her while she battles the bug. Honestly I didn’t actually watch most of this weekend’s games and only followed along off-and-on over a couple innings, but I do know what happened (and so, probably, do you, but I figure you’re reading anyway). I’d almost rather turn this into a big spoiler-filled thread about the new Avengers movie, but I figure that should wait a couple more weeks for everyone to get a chance to see the movie like 20 times and geek out in style. Anyway…
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
Friday, May 1st: Cubs 1, Brewers 0
I had to bug out early from school that afternoon to pick up my kid from home and prepare for my own baseball game (still coaching!), but during down time, I got to tune in and did get to hear that Jon Lester earned his first official victory as a member of the Chicago Cubs. Lester threw seven strong innings, and while he didn’t mow down the opposition with strikeouts galore, he did make sure Addison Russell‘s first career home run in the third inning held up. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined for the shutout. The Cubs had plenty of chances to add on against Milwaukee Brewers starter Wily Peralta, but them’s the breaks. A win is a win.
Saturday, May 2: Brewers 6, Cubs 1
This weekend was supposed to be a cakewalk with a should-be powerful Cubs offense feasting on struggling Brewers pitching, but this is why they play games on the field, not on paper. Ryan Braun jumped all over Jake Arrieta early, launching a two-run bomb in the first inning. The BABIP gods did not receive their ritual sacrifice as a few balls found holes and tacked on again in the second inning. Arrieta still pitched well, but left after five innings of work as Joe Maddon elected to pinch-hit early. The Cubs did get a solo homer from Anthony Rizzo to avoid the shutout, but couldn’t tack on. Along with the sputtering offense, the defense also took a dump in the ninth inning, spoiling an otherwise decent relief effort by Edwin Jackson.
Sunday, May 3: Brewers 5, Cubs 3
And then the Cubs couldn’t secure the series win. I wrote about most of it here. Aramis Ramirez had come back and reminded us why he was such an important part of the best Cubs teams of our recent memory, and there was an errant pitch by Pedro Strop that almost knocked out Jean Segura. Anyway, long story short…Cubs offense battled in at-bats but couldn’t string together key hits, and Aramis got enough of the ball to dump it just into the outfield to plate the winning runs. The Cubs had their fair share of BABIP in this game as well, so we can’t even blame that too much. Just wasn’t meant to be this weekend.
Unfortunately for Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, the first two-game winning streak of the season for Milwaukee wasn’t enough to save his job:
Roenicke relieved of managerial duties: pic.twitter.com/MKPngn9ykO
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 4, 2015
#Brewers had finally won two in a row for first time this season. The club response was to fire manager Ron Roenicke.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) May 4, 2015
This seems like a weird time to fire Roenicke, no? Two game winning streak? Late on a Sunday night?
— Brew Crew Ball (@BrewCrewBall) May 4, 2015
So I guess after the Cubs visit St. Louis, they’ll have to take on a Milwaukee team that brought back some key players and will have a new guy in charge. That’s always fun, right?
The Cubs travel south to face the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game set. Currently the Cubs hold the first National League wild card spot and are 4.5 games back of the NL Central leader Cards. The Cards have already lost Adam Wainwright for the season (prompting some NL DH talk) and had recently scuffled a bit against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have a decent pitching staff, though they did eke out walkoff wins in every game in the series. With both the Cubs and the Cards offenses having trouble scoring runs, I’m not sure if this is something that will continue or if one (or both) of the teams will bust out. STL has some good pitching depth even with Wainwright out of commission, and the Cubs aren’t exactly terrible either. And again, that’s why they play the games on the field. The Cubs will obviously need at least a split to keep pace, and a sweep will move them to within half a game of first and maintain control of the wild card race in this early going as it seems like the entire National League is just treading water at the moment.
Here are the pitching matchups as we hope for some major Cubs offense and a series sweep against our biggest rivals…
Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium
Wednesday, May 6
7:15 PM CDT
Jon Lester vs. Lance Lynn
TV = CSN
Thursday, May 7
12:45 PM CDT
Jake Arrieta vs. John Lackey
TV = CSN