There’s a saying in baseball that gives hope with the ultimate sense of reality, “Anything can happen, but it probably won’t.” It’s the third week of May and the Cubs have surprisingly won their second series of the season – surprising in that it’s only happened twice in 14 series, and also that the Cubs’ two series wins are against the two best teams in the Central division – St. Louis and Milwaukee.
Travis Wood held the Brewers hitless into the fifth inning and the Cubs rode an early lead to victory for a second straight day, beating Milwaukee 4-2 to win the weekend series. On a day when the wind was blowing out, the Cubs (15-27) took advantage to take an early 4-0 lead on home runs by Welington Castillo and Mike Olt. Castillo’s moon shot in the second inning needed the wind’s aid – Olt’s certainly did not. Olt’s ninth round-tripper of the season was a line drive shot into the field seats on a 2-0 pitch from losing Brewer’s starter Marcos Estrada (3-2, 3.64).
Wood (4-4, 4.61) was engaged after an early bout of wildness – he walked three Brewers in the first inning to load the bases, but was able to get out of the jam. Wood retired 14 in a row before giving up his first hit – a double by Logan Schafer. Rickie Weeks followed with a two-run bomb that cut the Cubs’ lead in half at 4-2. Brian Schlitter relieved Wood with a perfect eighth. Hector Rondon gave up a lead-off double to Ryan Braun in the ninth, but slammed the door thereafter to gain his fifth save of the year.
It was a perilous day weather-wise for two starting pitchers who normally get more fly ball outs than anything else. Wood was able to keep it down just a bit more and was hitting his spots better than Estrada, whose day was short, going only five innings in his first career loss to the Cubs. Wood was working the corners well and ended up with seven strikeouts in his seven innings of work. In fact, Cubs pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts – nine of them the backwards “k” kind.
The 1930’s celebration continues this week when the Cubs welcome the Bronx Bombers to Wrigley Field on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. The Yankees played each other in the World Series twice during that decade, 1932 and 1938. The Yankees, of course, won both series. The Cubs will get Monday off and will try to keep it rolling on Tuesday night against the first-place Yankees. Jason Hammel (4-2, 3.06) will take the mound for the Cubs against Masahiro Tanaka (6-0, 2.17) who has been the real deal since coming over from Japan in the winter. First pitch 7:05 CST and the game will be televised on WGN as well as broadcast on radio on WGN AM 720.