It wasn’t long ago when the Chicago Cubs were in a slump, dropping series after series over the course of a 24-straight game stretch before the All-Star break. Now they appear to be settling back in by picking up back-to-back winning homestands before hitting the road.
Over the weekend, they found themselves in heated battles with the Seattle Mariners following their 12-1 win in the series opener. They lost the next game by the final score of 4-1 and had to fight and claw their way back after former Cub Brian Matusz put them in a 6-0 hole.
Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano flexed their muscles, launching two of three two-run homers early on, putting their team ahead by a comfortable margin. That is until Chicago stormed back with seven unanswered runs to pick up the win on a walk-off bunt by southpaw Jon Lester.
Nobody was expecting that to work, but in the end, the Cubbies were celebrating. Before the Cubs put together their miracle comeback, the Miami Marlins worked a little magic of their own against Chicago’s N.L. Central rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis was cutting into the Cubs division lead but have stumbled over the last couple of days and now trail them by nine after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on the road.
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At one point, they were only 5.5 back. Now the Chicago Cubs are making their way out to Oakland to take on the Athletes before returning to Wrigley Field. Surely, people will be talking about the trade that went down between these two teams that involved Addison Russell and Billy McKinney.
Russell has made an impact on this team, turning into an All-Star shortstop. McKinney was recently traded to the New York Yankees along with Gleyber Torres in exchange for the flamethrowing southpaw, Aroldis Chapman.
Landing Chapman helps this club improve in games that are decided by one or two runs. A department that the Cubs struggled with prior to Chapman was acquired. He has picked up a couple of saves since his debut while this offense has pulled through with some clutch at-bats.
"“I think we’ve got a good group. We’ve got a group that keeps fighting and keeps competing until the last out. It’s funt o see. The other night, with all the pitchers getting into the game and that kind of stuff, those kind of crazy games can roll over into some positive energy.” – John Lackey via The Daily Herald"
And speaking of Lackey, he appeared to be the Cubs best hitter early on, coming through with two doubles before he was pulled after giving up a two-run homer late. Regardless, he was let off the hook after his boys rallied and won on a walk-off wild pitch by A.J. Ramos in the ninth.
This is something that will boost their confidence as they continue their road to being the first team in the league to hit 70 wins. They have a solid chance at doing just that if they keep playing the way they have been.
Tomorrow evening will begin a three-game set with the Athletics who sit 13 games out of first place in the American League West. So far this year, the Cubs 6-2 against the A.L. West having swept the Los Angeles Angels to begin the regular season.
Lester will begin the series opener on the mound for the Cubs when he takes on struggling 24-year-old southpaw, Dillon Overton who carries an earned run average over nine. Let’s hope the North Siders can increase that stat.