Pujols and Weaver too much for the Cubs today as Angels win, 8-4
For Albert Pujols, it was a different uniform but the same results against the Chicago Cubs. Pujols, known as being a “Cub killer” in his days with the St. Louis Cardinals did it to the Cubs on Thursday, just in an Angels uniform. His three-run homer was the difference maker to get the win for the Angels over the Cubs today by a score of 8-4.
It wasn’t just Pujols that brought his A-game- starting Jered Weaver also put on a good show. In the first inning after giving up the first run of the game to the Cubs on a sac-fly that brought Javier Baez in – Weaver settled in and worked the corners with precision.
As for the Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Eric Jokisch, it was a different story. Going into the top of the third inning with a 1-0 lead the Angels bats came to life. First giving up a double to the first batter Matt Joyce – manager Mike Scioscia would play his small-ball strategy, moving Joyce over on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Featherston. The next batter Johnny Giavotella would single in Joyce to tie the game up at 1-1.
With two outs in the inning Jokisch would face American League MVP Mike Trout – he’d hit a line drive single. Two runners on for Pujols coming to bat – never good news for the Cubs – the future Hall of Famer nailed a fly ball to right for a ground rule double to score another run giving the Angels a 2-1 lead.
Still in the top of the third – C.J. Cron at the plate drilled a line drive triple scoring Trout and Pujols, making the lead now 4-1 Angels.
The Cubs would rally back in the bottom of the fourth. Weaver still pitching – strikes out Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler to start the inning. The next batter Anthony Rizzo wouldn’t suffer the same fate. He would take the first pitch for a ground rule double into right field.
Mike Olt up next would work Weaver into a full count – Olt tagged a 3-2 pitch to deep left-center for a two-run shot making the score now 4-3.
In the top of the fifth – Jason Motte replaced Jokisch but would find similar results. He’d give up a first-pitch single to Giavotella – a strike out the next batter then a walk to Trout. Again the Cubs would have two runners on for Pujols – this time the ball wouldn’t bounce out of the park.
A site Cubs fans know all too well – “King Albert” turned on a one-one pitch, putting it into the crowd for a three-run home run – firmly putting the Angels in front now by the score of 7-3.
The bottom of the fifth would be the last bit of scoring of the game and it would be a good one at least. Pinch-hitting for Negrin, Travis Wood drove a Weaver pitch into left-center field – cutting the lead in half to 8-4.
Weaver picked up the win giving him a 3-0 record to go with his 2.53 ERA , and would exit the game after 5 1/3 innings, giving up six hits, four runs with three of those being earned, while striking out eight Cubs.
Jokisch was given the loss, making him 1-1 on the year and taking his ERA to 6.00 this spring.
What Stood Out:
The talk going into the game was at Kris Bryant and his start in left field. He didn’t play that bad in left – he would have an outfield assist throwing out a runner at second for an inning-ending double play.
During the broadcast of the game, there was a lot of talk about Bryant and his current contract situation.
Theo Epstein would join the commentary booth and comment on the situation after being questioned by analysts Curt Schilling about what agent Scott Boras said. Epstein simply said that he, as a rule, has never had a player make his major league debut on Opening Day – while not saying this would happen to Bryant you can read into it as you wish.
Anthony Rizzo went 2-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Rizzo hasn’t done much this spring, batting only .158, but there isn’t anything to worry about there. Just as long as he stays healthy he will be fine.
Mike Olt hitting his third home run of the day and a triple was the offensive bright spot for the Cubs.
Javier Baez did very well with the glove making some nice plays and saving some throws from becoming errors.
The back-end of the bullpen did well for themselves – not surrendering a run and only giving up four hits.
The next game will be another battle of the cross-town rivals as the White Sox (8-12) come in with former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 7.15) taking the mound for the Sox.
The Chicago Cubs (9-14) will send Jason Hammel (1-1, 3.86) to the mound hoping he can continue off his last performance where he pitched a shutout four innings of work.
Hopefully, the Cubs can shake this loss off and come back tomorrow and be ready to get back in the win column against their old teammate.
The game time is scheduled for 3:05 central time.