It’s been a wild second half of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays winning 11 games in a row and our Chicago Cubs completing their second consecutive sweep to extend their own positive streak to seven games with the 9-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday afternoon.
In case you missed it, outfielder Dexter Fowler, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and rookie Kyle Schwarber all launched home run’s in the fifth inning to help Jon Lester pick up yet another victory. Schwarber led the pack with two long balls as he deposited a two-run shot into the left field bleachers in the seventh which made it a 7-2 ball game.
Chicago tied their longest unbeaten homestand since 2008 – the last time this team went to the postseason. It was a year in which the Cubs clinched the N.L. Central at the end of September but were unable to do anything in the postseason as the Los Angeles Dodgers would sweep them 3-0 in the opening round.
With guys like Alfonso Soriano, Rich Harden, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Jim Edmonds, Ted Lilly, Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa and even the LSU connection between Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot helped lift this club to a 97-64 season.
Sorry about all the names, I have to admit I got a little too carried away. Great times that year, just the end result was such a let down after the season they had.
Nonetheless, this new-look Chicago Cubs team is headed in the right direction lead by Theo Epstein’s ‘plan’ that was laid out for all to see. Some doubted the man who helped bring the Boston Red Sox their first World Series title in 86 years back in 2004.
While the Joe Maddon’s club wrapped up a perfect seven-game homestand, Lester became the first lefty in franchise history to record four games with 10 or more strikeouts. His highest this season was 14 in the 3-2 win against the Colorado Rockies on July 29.
Now, back to Schwarber.
Without the young catcher/left fielder in their lineup, the Cubs were 48-40 with 3.7 runs per game, 41.9 at-bats per home run, and an OPS of .680. Remember, he had a brief stint with the club during Father’s Day week but was sent down after the series with Minnesota wrapped.
The numbers with Schwarber are 17-8, 5.1 runs per game, 23.3 at-bats per home run and an OPS of .755 to round things out. Impressive numbers that will surely increase as they head into this weekend’s series with the South Siders.
Time to keep it going, boys – Let’s Go!
Here’s more from around the league: