Chicago Cubs catcher John Baker has been considered “light hitting” this year. I think the Washington Nationals would disagree. Baker had three hits, driving in four in support of Jason Hammel (7-5, 2.98) in the Cubs 7-2 victory.
While Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro have been in the middle of most of the Cubs (34-44) success this year, today was an example of how the Cubs can win without them if the supporting cast can pitch in on a more regular basis. They went 5-for-14 with runners in scoring positions, and drove in five with two outs. It’s a much different look than the Cubs had early in the season. Jason Hammel continued to do what he has all season for the Cubs.
The Nationals (41-38) struck first on an RBI double from Ryan Zimmerman in the second. But the Cubs answered quickly as John Baker collected the first of his four RBIs on a single up the middle. Darwin Barney followed with an RBI single of his own to put the Cubs up 2-1.
In the top half of the fourth, the Nats tied the game on a solo blast from Adam Laroche, his 10th of the year. But again the Cubs wasted no time getting the lead back from Tanner Roark (7-5, 2.98). A two-run single from Ryan Sweeney put the Cubs up 4-2.
Baker’s three-run double in the seventh off reliever Jerry Blevins blew the game wide open for the Cubs.
The Cubs are now 12-8 against the National League East, but only 15-24 against NL Central foes.
The Cubs and Nationals will play a day/night doubleheader tomorrow. Game one will see the Cubs Dallas Beeler make his major league debut against Gio Gonzalez (4-4, 4.38). The nightcap will have Jeff Samardzija (2-6, 2.53) facing off against Blake Treinen (0-3, 2.08). Game one is scheduled for a 12:05 pm CT start, with the later match-up starting at 6:15 pm CT.