In a season that has not had much to excite for Cubs fans, some of you may not be getting enough of the Cubs 17-5 blowout of the Cardinals Monday night. The offensive down pour comes after getting swept out of Atlanta over the weekend, a series which saw the North Siders only scratch across four runs. If you did not watch the game but have the highlights on repeat after hearing the score, here are some things you may have missed.
Staked to a seven run lead after just two frames, how fitting is it to complain about the umpiring. After watching Travis Wood‘s last start against the White Sox, here I was getting angry after the Cubs lefty got squeezed on the strike zone again. With two outs and two on, Wood was ahead 0-2 on St. Louis hitter Mark Ellis. The Cubs starter threw a cutter on the black of the plate but umpire Sean Barber missed the call. Two pitches later Ellis would single into left field and with the help of an error by Junior Lake, the Cardinals would pick up two runs (one earned). This comes after Wood was squeezed the start prior on the South Side, a game which saw manager Rick Renteria tossed after the border line calls also went against Anthony Rizzo on offense. I am usually not one to argue about balls and strikes, but definitely noticeable over this two game stretch for Wood despite the big lead.
Speaking of Lake, the Cubs sophomore had a packed box score line featuring a career high six RBI. The final two of those runs driven in came on a bloop double in the top of the ninth. After already having hit a homer and a previous double, that third hit of Lake’s easily looks like a line drive rope in the box score. The Cubs left fielder certainly made up for his miscue in the second inning, where his production alone would have been enough to beat St. Louis on this night.
Circling back to Wood, the Cubs lefty was far from his 2013 All Star form. This was partially evidenced by two hit batters in the bottom of the fifth. But what was more interesting was Cardinals pitcher Eric Fornataro’s response. The righty plunked Wood in the upper back on the first pitch of the top of the sixth inning. The veteran Wood took it in stride and trotted to first base, but the Cubs broadcast duo of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies took exception to what they deemed was Fornataro intentionally throwing at Wood. Plate umpire Barber issued no warnings, however, and the Cubs chose to respond with two more runs, resulting in an 11-5 lead. As a credit to both teams, there were no further bean ball attempts the rest of the ballgame, even with the game ending at 17-5.
The Cubs pounding of the Cardinals had Deshaies wondering out loud how Jeff Samardzija must be feeling watching this game. It is well-known by now how much tough luck Shark has run into in terms of run support, leaving the Cubs ace without a win despite a 1.45 ERA half way through May. Deshaies continued with a “what if” scenario of had the Cubs been able to spread Monday nights over flow of runs over the past week, the North Siders could be looking at a confidence building winning streak instead of having dropped seven of their last eight. The good news is that Samardzija was one of the Cubs players near the steps of the dugout to congratulate the runners coming in from the six run top of the ninth.
The highlight for the home fans that actually stuck around until the end of the game may have been witnessing position player Daniel Descalso come in to get the final out of the top of the ninth. The infielder by trade came in without having tossed around in the pen, simply using the six practice pitches allowed pitchers between innings or upon entering games as his warm up. The Cubs broadcast chose not to break to commercial and their on-screen graphic radar gun was clocking Descalso’s warm up tosses. The infielder hung around the high 70s to low 80s before hitting 85 miles per hour on his first pitch to Mike Olt. The Cubs third baseman let Descalso off the hook, hitting a fly ball to left off the end of the bat to end the Cubs offensive beat down of the Cardinals for the night.