Morning Marquee: Chicago Cubs claim important series from Pirates
By David Miniel
With only a handful of games remaining and several key match-ups still on the board, the Chicago Cubs were able to leave Pittsburgh with a crucial series in their back pockets.
They opened up the four-game set by dropping the afternoon game of Tuesday’s doubleheader to the Bucs, but southpaw Jon Lester was really able to set the tone but working his first complete game as a member of the Cubs.
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Right-handed ace, Jake Arrieta started off strong in Game 3 only to experience a little bit of turbulence during the later innings of the game. He found himself overthrowing first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a routine play that could have resulted in the third out of the inning.
Despite giving up one earned run, Arrieta was issued a no-decision after the Pirates were able to tie it in the eighth. Thankfully, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were able to keep their club in the mix of things by tossing two scoreless frames of their own.
Finally, it was up to Kyle Hendricks to lock it down even though he hasn’t been very consistent. Still, you’d like to stand behind your young starter who displayed a ton of potential just a year ago.
Things got out of control soon after the Cubs took a 3-0 on a pair of base knocks by Addison Russell and Tommy La Stella. Hendricks gave up three home runs and was unable to make it through four innings, so it was up to the bullpen to drop the hammer.
Rizzo came through with his 30th home run of the season shortly after the Pirates grabbed themselves a 4-3 lead. The 26-year-old veteran became the second left-handed hitter in franchise history to record multiple 30 home run seasons.
Hall of Famer Billy Williams was the last Cub to accomplish this rare feat. There’s still plenty of time for the potential N.L. MVP candidate to pad his stats including 100 RBI on the season.
Both Kris Bryant and Rizzo have the opportunity of doing before the regular season wraps up during the first couple days of October.
Next up, the Cubs will return to Wrigley Field to take on the first-place St. Louis Cardinals while the Pirates take on Zack Greinke/Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hopefully, Joe Maddon‘s hunt for October will be even sweeter by the end of the weekend.
Here’s more from around the league:
‘Kang injured in Pittsburgh Pirates’ 9-6 loss to Chicago Cubs‘ – Rum Bunter
‘Why the Texas Rangers can win the World Series‘ – Nolan Writin’
‘Cleveland Indians’ 2015 season by the numbers‘ – Wahoo’s on First
‘Oakland Athletics’ slugger Billy Butler has finally found his mojo‘ – Swingin’ A’s
‘September is the time to stream pitchers‘ – Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks