After a rough night at a soggy Wrigley Field yesterday, the Chicago Cubs rebounded nicely with three home runs.
Jon Lester still was not himself but managed to get through five innings to pick up his first win. Despite another first inning run, Lester’s biggest issue was the walk. He walked five while striking out just five. It took him 106 pitches to get through five innings, but hey, not everything is going to be pretty. Many of the Chicago Cubs games have been like that this season, but not today.
The Chicago Cubs (14-12) offense was not fooled by Jeremy Hellickson tonight. Despite coming in 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, Hellickson served up three home runs. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez each hit solo shots, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Kyle Schwarber, however, broke the 2-2 in the fifth with a three-run shot to right. That gave the Cubs a lead they would never relinquish.
Now 5-2, the Cubs added on when Zobrist doubled later in the inning. Javier Baez then ripped a two-run triple in the sixth to put the game out of reach at 8-3.
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Starting Pitching Struggles Continue
The Cubs struggles from the starters continued. Lester gave up a first inning home run to Aaron Altherr, the 33rd first inning run the Cubs have given up this season. Lester struggled. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second and walked five in just five innings of work. One of the biggest reasons for the Cubs slow start has been the struggles (especially in the first inning) from the starting rotation.
The back-end of the Cubs bullpen continues to dominate. Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon and Wade Davis combined for four perfect innings. Davis and Edwards have still not allowed a run this season and Rondon dropped his ERA to a microscopic 0.87 with his perfect inning.
If those three guys continue to pitch the way they have, very few teams are going to win games when trailing in the seventh or later.
Baez broke out of his slump with a 4-for-4 day. He was a double away from the cycle and drove in three runs.
Schwarber, who has also been in a slump, hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and did not strike out at all. In fact, the Cubs as a team struck out just three times today, a season low. Schwarber’s homer was also the 20th of his career. He is now the fastest Cub ever to reach 20 home runs, doing so in just 97 games.
Game three of this four-game series is set for 7:05 tomorrow evening on WGN. Jake Arrieta (3-1, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound for the Cubs. The Phillies (12-13) will counter with Jerad Eickhoff (0-2, 3.56 ERA).