In case you missed it, Anno wrote a blog about the Cubs losing and he also posed the following scenario/question: Pretend you knew nothing about the first 42 games and you see the Cubs are 29-13 with a 5.5 game lead in the Central, would you still be worried? It’s interesting how our answers change when you see it from that perspective. I’m thinking you might change your answer as well when asked that question.
Let’s take a look at three game series recap vs. the Giants:
Cubs @ Giants
Cubs 8, Giants 1
W: Arrieta (8-0) L: Peavy (1-5)
Coming in, the Cubs knew the Giants were hot as they were riding an eight game winning streak but they were no match against Jake Arrieta, as the Cubs right-hander pitched another solid game. Arrieta gave up one run on four hits, one walk while striking out eight in seven innings for his 19th. consecutive decision. The Cubs have won Arrieta’s last 22 starts going back to last season. Despite Jake’s performance, the night was dampened for the Cubs and their fans as right-fielder Jason Heyward left the game in the bottom of the first inning after crashing into the wall on a diving catch. He caught a shot off the bat of Denard Span, robbing the Giants’ leadoff man of extra bases on the third pitch he saw from Arrieta. Heyward was able to leave the field on his own power, which brought a sigh of relief. An MRI performed on him the following day revealed a contusion on the right side of his rib cage. He’s expected to miss three to five days and will not be put on the disabled list. That was only one of the plays that saved some potential runs. The Giants definitely had chances to make the game more interesting. Jorge Soler also had a great catch off the left-field wall to rob Buster Posey of extra bases, with two on and two outs in that frame. Soler had a good game defensively and also went 2-for-4 with a home run. The Cubs also got production from Kris Bryant, who went 2-for-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer to left off Jake Peavy in a five-run second inning. Peavy allowed five runs, seven hits and two walks after 1 2/3 innings and 55 pitches. Ben Zobrist also contributed as he hit a no-doubter into McCovey Cove for his sixth homer of the season, becoming just the 38th. opposing player and the second Cubs player (Corey Patterson) to reach the water.
Giants 5, Cubs 3
W: Cain (1-5) L: Lester (4-3) SV: Casilla (11)
Giants’ starter Matt Cain showed signs of turning things around as he got his first win since July 22, 2015. He had a record of 0-8 and a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts in that span. Cain pitched six strong innings and only allowed one run, six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Cain’s only mistake came in the third, on a 3-2 slider to Kris Bryant, which he hit to straightaway center for his ninth homerun. On the other hand, Cubs’ starter, Jon Lester had his worst start of the season, allowing five runs on six hits, three walks, and one strikeout in only 2 2/3 innings of work. Buster Posey hit a two-run homer to left during a three-run third in which the Giants chased Lester out of the game. Lester gave up all five runs; Cahill, Richard, Grimm and Wood combined to stop the Giants from adding on any more runs. The Cubs rallied with single runs in the eighth and ninth but couldn’t add more. Javy’s run scoring single off Giants reliever Cory Gearrin drove in Jorge Soler to trim the margin to 5-2 with one out in the eighth. Dexter Fowler went 3-for-5 and also led off the ninth with a solo home run to right, his fifth the season off reliever Santiago Casilla to make it 5-3. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late and Casilla picked up his 11th. save.
Giants 1, Cubs 0
W: Bumgarner (6-2) L: Hendricks (2-4) SV: Casilla (12)
The Giants pulled off the 1-0 victory over the Cubs on Sunday night and when you have a pitcher like Madison Bumgarner on the mound, one run is all you really need. The left-hander pitched 7 2/3 innings, where he allowed only three hits, walked two and struck out six. He also contributed with his bat as he doubled in a run in the fifth inning off Kyle Hendricks. The loss was the Cubs fourth in six games in the nine-game road trip. The Giants won for the 11th. time in 12 games and took two of three from the Cubs, who still have the best record in baseball. Hendricks had a solid outing, definitely surprising me and pitching much better than I thought he would. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. Travis Wood and Pedro Strop combined to throw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Cubs in the game. But the bats didn’t get going. And when they did, the Giants executed several defensive plays to back their starter. Ben Zobrist continued his hot streak as he extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Next up for the Cubs:
*Despite there being a lot of baseball to be played, a series with the Cards is always fun to watch because of the level of competitiveness both teams bring. I’m sure the Cardinals need to approach this series with a little more urgency than the Cubs do. John Lackey faces the Cardinals for the second time this year. He made his return to St. Louis in the opener of the previous series and only gave up four hits while striking out 11 batters in his seven innings of a 5-0 victory. He has a 1.86 ERA over his last four outings. The Cubs will face Adam Wainwright, who’s coming off his best outing after giving up six hits in 6 2/3 innings of Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Colorado.
Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals
Monday, May 23, 7:15 PM CDT
John Lackey, RHP v. Adam Wainwright, RHP
TV: CSN+ Radio: 670 The Score
Wednesday, May 25, 12:45 PM CDT
Jake Arrieta, RHP v. Carlos Martinez, RHP
TV: ABC 7 Radio: 670 The Score
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!