It’s been a while since Ivy had time to sit down and do series recaps, but the Cubs had a pretty good stretch of games at good old Wrigley Field. Let’s take a look at the long home stand the Cubs just had vs. the Nats, Padres and Pirates:
5/5: W 5/6: W
Cubs 5, Nationals 2 Cubs 8, Nationals 6
W: Hendricks (2-2) L: Ross (3-1) W: Lackey (4-1) L: Scherzer (3-2) SV: Rondon (5)
5/7: W 5/8: W
Cubs 8, Nationals 5 Cubs 4, Nationals 3
W: Warren (3-0) L: Solis (0-1) SV: Rondon (6) W: Wood (1-0) L: Treinen (2-1)
Ben Zobrist helped the Cubs win Game 1 of their 4-game showdown with the Nationals. He hit a two-run single in the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the eighth in the 5-2 victory on Thursday night. Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks, who was pitching on 10 days rest, held the Nationals to two hits, two walks and struck out four over six scoreless frames for the win. Nationals’ starter Joe Ross took the loss, giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He’d given up two runs over 22 2/3 innings in his four previous starts combined. It wasn’t a poor outing to say the least but his team didn’t back him up offensively. The Nationals scored thanks to Jayson Werth, who launched a two-run homer off Travis Wood in the ninth inning to break up the shutout. Closer Hector Rondon came on and got Wilson Ramos to line out to end the game.
With the wind blowing out in Game 2, both the Cubs and Nationals took advantage of the conditions hitting 6 homers; four for the Cubs and two for the Nationals. Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist smacked back-to-back home runs in the third inning, and Zobrist added a three-run shot in the fifth. Tommy La Stella also hit a two-run homer in the second, and all four Cubs blasts came off the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, who has been plagued by the long-ball since the end of last season. John Lackey gave up Anthony Rendon‘s solo home run in the first, but held the Nationals to two runs on six hits over seven innings. Lackey also struck out a total of 11 batters, including Werth in the fourth inning for his 2,000th career strikeout. The Cubs starter became the fifth active pitcher with at least 2,000 strikeouts, joining C.C. Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Felix Hernandez and Jake Peavy.
On Friday, the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field, favoring the hitters and resulting in six home runs. On Saturday the wind was blowing in, but that didn’t stop Kris Bryant as he launched an 0-2 pitch from Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez for his fifth home run. It was Bryant’s first homer since April 21st. Addison Russell has been heating up and coming through in clutch moments. This game was no different. He drove in three runs, including two on a tie-breaking double with two outs in the seventh inning to lift the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the Nationals and secure the series win.
Jake Arrieta didn’t get the win in the series finale, but the Cubs did, and they did it in dramatic fashion. Javier Baez, who is a personal favorite of mine, hit a walk-off home run with one out in the 13th inning to beat the Nationals, 4-3 and complete the sweep in front of a crowd dressed in pink for Mother’s Day. The game was tied from the seventh on when Kris Bryant tied it at 3 with a two-run single. The Cubs had a chance to win it in the 11th. inning when Jason Heyward tried to score from first on Bryant’s one-out double, but he was thrown out at home. Bryce Harper tied a Major League record with six walks in the game and set a record for walks in a four-game series with 13 total. The Cubs weren’t going to give Harper the ability to do damage against them, they stuck to their plan, and it worked. In seven plate appearances Sunday afternoon, Harper was hit by a pitch and walked six times, matching the record for most in a single game. I’m sure you’ve heard the comments coming from the Nationals that the Cubs were playing “scared” I think of it as the Cubs were showing Harper respect.
Cubs 8, Padres 7
W: Lester (4-1) L: Vargas (0-2) SV: Rondon (7)
5/11 (Makeup of 5/9): L 5/11: L
Padres 7, Cubs 4 Padres 1, Cubs 0
W: Villanueva (1-0) L: Strop (1-1) SV: Rodney (9) W: Pomeranz (4-3) L: Lackey (4-2) SV: Rod
In the opener, Cubs’ starter Jon Lester allowed a season-high-tying three runs on four hits over six innings in his seventh start. Lester struck out four and walked one in a 105-pitch effort. He admitted that he didn’t have his best stuff and the pen struggled as well. Even when this team doesn’t have their best, they still find a way to win as the bats picked up Lester and bullpen. The Cubs pounded out 10 hits for the win. Kris Bryant hit a two-run double, Addison Russell drove in three runs and Ben Zobrist continued his tear as he went 4-for-4 and scored three times in the series opener. Padres starter Cesar Vargas lasted just four innings. He gave up six runs on 10 hits, walked three and struck out one. The Padres pulled within one run in the eighth on pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson‘s first career home run, a grand slam off Adam Warren. He Dickerson became the first in franchise history to hit a pinch-hit grand slam for his first homer. Cubs closer Hector Rondon was able to preserve the lead and get the win on a one-two-three ninth, including two strikeouts, to earn his seventh save.
Brett Wallace hit a three-run homer in a four-run seventh-inning rally to lift the Padres to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field, snapping their winning streak at eight games. In the night portion of the doubleheader, the Padres got all the offense they needed with one swing. Christian Bethancourt smacked a solo homer to back his starter, Drew Pomeranz and lift them to a 1-0 victory and handing the Cubs consecutive losses for the first time all season. This was the deepest the Cubs had gone into a season without losing back-to-back games since 1907. Cubs’ starter John Lackey retired the first 14 batters he faced but he wasn’t able to retire Bethancourt. Pomeranz tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, didn’t allow a run and only gave up three hits in his six innings of work. Padres closer Fernando Rodney recorded saves in both games of Wednesday’s doubleheader, marking the first time in his 14-year career that he’s done so. This was the first time the Cubs were swept in a doubleheader at home since June 28, 2014, when the Nationals did so.
Cubs 9, Pirates 4
W: Hammel (5-0) L: Liriano (3-2)
Unfortunately, I ran out of time to recap the weekend series win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, if you click the scores above, Cubs Den was able to do single game recaps for each contest, and Rice was at the series finale with his son (lost, boo, but fun, yay!). The Cubs ended up with a 7-3 record for this home stand, which is excellent no matter how you cut it.
Next up for the Cubs:
*The Cubs open up on a long road trip just north of the border at Wrigley North, aka Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Brewers fans thank you for your interest in their team, and while it looks like an easy series on paper, note that the Cubs lost their only series of the year to two projected bad teams in the Padres and the Colorado Rockies, so a bit of humility may be in order. Thanks to Joe Maddon and the players’ own relentless dedication to excellence, I think they’ll be okay.
Chicago Cubs @ Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
Tuesday, May 17, 7:10 PM Central
Kyle Hendricks vs. Chase Anderson
TV = CSN, Radio = AM 670 The Score
Wednesday, May 18, 7:10 PM Central
John Lackey vs. Jimmy Nelson
TV = WGN, Radio = AM 670 The Score
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!