It was a fun series in St. Louis and the Cubs were able to leave with a series win. Let’s hope the Blackhawks have the same luck tonight against the Blues. Let’s look at the recap vs. the Cardinals:
Cubs @ Cardinals
Cubs 5, Cardinals 0
W: Lackey (3-0) L: Leake (0-2)
It’s amazing how much can change in a year. Last year, the Cubs were trying to beat John Lackey and this year they are relying on him to beat their Division rival. John Lackey dominated his former team to give the Cubs a 5-0 win on Monday night. Lackey struck out 11 batters and allowed four hits over seven shutout innings. This kind of outing was no surprise to the Cardinals or their fans; he pitched quality starts in each of his 17 home outings last season. Lackey not only outpitch Mike Leake but he also reached a few milestones in this outing. This was the 20th. time in his career, in which he had double-digit strikeouts and he also became the 245th. pitcher in Major League history with 2,500 or more innings; he’s third among active pitchers. For the first time in his career, Lackey has won his first three starts of the season and has become the 16th. player to beat all 30 Major League teams. The closest the Cardinals came to scoring was an unsuccessful squeeze attempt in the fifth inning. Mike Leake seemed to be having a good game until the sixth inning came along. Dexter Fowler put the Cubs ahead with a leadoff homer and then a three-run seventh gave the Cubs a comfortable lead. Three of those runs were charged to Leake. The Cubs didn’t allow the Cardinals’ mind games to get to them and they took full advantage of their defensive miscues to snatch up the first game of the series.
Cubs 2, Cardinals 1
W: Hammel (2-0) L: García (1-1) SV: Rondon (3)
Jason Hammel is 2-for-6 with a double, which gives him a .333 AVG to go along with his 1.00 ERA this season. He has three RBIs compared to the two runs that he has allowed through his first three starts. Hammel looked sharp once again as he pitched six innings giving up one run on five hits, walking none and striking out six. With Hammel’s outing, the Cubs starters have gone at least six innings in each of the first 14 games. It’s the first time the Cubs have done that since 1910. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the fourth with a Jorge Soler walk and singles by Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. Garcia struck out Addison Russell, but Hammel delivered a two-run single to left, which snapped Garcia’s 15 2/3 scoreless-innings streak. Even though Jason Heyward isn’t getting hits, he’s definitely helping out the team defensively. The Cardinals had runners at second and third with one out, and Yadier Molina flied out to right. Matt Holliday tried to score on the play, but Heyward had a perfect throw home and Montero laid an amazing tag on Holliday for the out. Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia was making his first start since throwing a one-hit shutout against the Brewers but couldn’t come up with a quality start. He pitched five innings and gave up two runs on four hits, while walking four. The Cardinals stranded two runners against the Cubs bullpen in the seventh and eighth and left Yadier Molina, who was the tying run at second base when Hector Rondon struck out pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko to earn his third save in three chances.
Cardinals 5, Cubs 3
W: Martinez (3-0) L: Hendricks (1-2) SV: Rosenthal (4)
Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and Carlos Martinez remained unbeaten against the Cubs as the Cardinals got the 5-3 win in a rain delayed game to avoid the sweep. Martinez struck out five over seven innings and allowed just three hits, including Anthony Rizzo‘s solo homer. Kyle Hendricks took the loss as he went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out five. After scoring one run in the previous 18 innings, the Cardinals jumped on the Cubs early with two runs in both the first and second innings. Matt Holliday got the Cardinals offense started with a two-run home run in the first. Yadier Molina doubled and scored on a wild pitch, and Martinez singled home Kolten Wong in the second to give the Cardinals the 4-0 lead. The Cubs didn’t do much offensively before the rain delay. Anthony Rizzo’s solo homer was the only thing they could muster up against Martinez. They did make it interesting in the eighth as Dexter Fowler leadoff with a single and Jason Heyward then walked against Seung Hwan Oh. One out later, Fowler scored on Rizzo’s single and Kris Bryant then grounded out; Rizzo was forced out at second base and Jason Heyward scored on the play. That is all they would do as Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth to earn career save number 100.
Next up for the Cubs:
I mean, it could have been a sweep, but let’s not kill ourselves over one loss, okay?
It has come to my attention that some in #Cubs Nation are panicking. Please check the standings and put away the sharp objects.
— WorldSeriesDreaming (@WSDreaming_Cubs) April 21, 2016
The Cubs head to Cincinnati to face the Reds for a four-game series, with a three-game lead in the NL Central. Jake Arrieta looks for his fourth win; he has recorded three straight quality starts to begin the season.
Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds
Thursday, April 21, 6:10 PM CDT
Jake Arrieta, RHP v. Brandon Finnegan, LHP
TV: CSN+, Radio: 670 The Score
Saturday, April 23, 6:10 PM CDT
John Lackey, RHP v. Dan Straily, RHP
TV: CSN, Radio: 670 The Score
Sunday, April 24, 12:10 PM CDT
Jason Hammel, RHP v. Alfredo Simon, RHP
TV: WGN, Radio: 670 The Score
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!