When the Chicago Cubs reached the National League Championship Series, a handful of people figured it would be the North Siders taking on the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. As we all know, the New York Mets put that idea to an end by sweeping Jake Arrieta and company.
Both teams met up at the end of the regular season and former outfielder Chris Denorfia sent the soon-to-be World Series champs home thanks to a walk-off homer to left field. These two powerhouses met up yesterday but it didn’t quite go as well as Joe Maddon had hoped.
Veteran right-hander John Lackey surrendered two earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts across five innings of work. Yesterday’s loss raised his earned run average to 5.63 in the spring but Carl Edwards Jr. and Hector Rondon got the worst of it.
Aside from the bullpen falling apart during the later half of the contest, the Cubs failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
Left fielder Jorge Soler had the opportunity of either tying things up or giving his club the lead in the top of the fourth. Instead, both Javier Baez and Soler would become strikeout victims to get Chris Young out of a jam.
Young, who once got into a fistfight with Derrek Lee, had himself a fantastic day on the mound. In four innings of work, he held the Cubs to just two hits while issuing two walks and tallying five punchouts.
Now, back to Baez. He started out the afternoon as Chicago’s center fielder but was later removed from the game after he slid head-first into first base to lead off the top of the seventh inning.
It was his only hit of the ballgame but the play resulted in him being removed and replaced by prospect Albert Almora. Almora flashed some leather later on when a ball was hit towards the warning track in center field. He laid out and made a diving play to record an out.
Entering the bottom of the eight, the Cubs were trailing the Royals by the score of 5-0. This is when their lineup jumped all over Hector Rondon. Whit Merrifield got things going with a single to right and would come around to score on a two-run homer off the bat of Dusty Coleman.
Kansas City followed that up with three consecutive singles before Rondon bounced back with two strikeouts in a row. Rondon’s afternoon came to an end shortly after giving up another pair of RBI singles.
Next up for the Cubs will be the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jason Hammel will look to continue his dominant performance on the mound as he is yet to give up a run in two starts.