Chicago Cubs salvage split in Los Angeles, return home to battle Twins

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs broke out the bats late, turning a tight game into a lopsided win in Thursday afternoon’s finale at Dodger Stadium to cap the road trip.

Tied 3-3 in the seventh, the Chicago Cubs erupted for seven runs to blow things wide open in the series finale against the rival Dodgers. The bullpen did its job, closing the door on the team’s 44th win of the season.

Jose Quintana pitched into the sixth, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a trio of walks. His earned run average on the year sits at 4.31 after Thursday’s outing, in which he allowed a run in the second, third and fourth innings.

Offensively, there was obviously a lot to like. The team went 7-for-11 with runners in scoring position (a .636 clip). That stands in stark comparison to the Cubs’  .243 mark on the year, which ranks 17th in all of baseball.

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Javier Baez racked up three more hits, raising his average to .285 on the season. Thanks to a strong week, the Chicago second baseman is on pace for 30 homers, 30 stolen bases and 100 RBI – a MVP-caliber campaign if he can see it through to the end.

Aside from Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell both delivered. Rizzo, who has struggled deeply of late, racked up four hits and three RBI. The Cubs shortstop drove in four runs himself, adding to a resurgence that has folks questioning the need for someone like Manny Machado.

Ready for some home cooking

Now, the Cubs return to Wrigley Field. On the season, Chicago has played the fewest home games in all of Major League Baseball, so a hot summer weekend at the Confines may be the trick to get a hot streak going.

They welcome in the Minnesota Twins, a team currently in second in the AL Central. That may sound like a good thing, but they’re eight games back of Cleveland and 13 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race.

As for the Cubs, we originally thought Yu Darvish might return to the mound this weekend. Alas, after experiencing pain throwing, he’s been shut down again. There is no timetable for his return, adding the latest chapter in the right-hander’s eventful season.

Instead, we’ll see Mike Montgomery on Friday, Tyler Chatwood Saturday and 10-game winner Jon Lester Sunday. Montgomery has excelled in the rotation filling in for Darvish – and should give the Cubs a fair shot at bringing home a win Friday afternoon.

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What’s Next

Chicago returns home Friday to open a weekend set with the Minnesota Twins.

Mike Montgomery toes the rubber opposite right-hander Jose Berrios in the matinee opener.