Looking for any semblance of consistency from both Jon Lester and the offense, the Chicago Cubs put it all together on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
After a very disappointing 1-5 road trip against the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs got back to the Friendly Confines just at the right time. The offense, which had been dismal with runners in scoring position, finally seemed to put it all together on Monday afternoon.
During the horrendous first week-plus to open the season, the offense was red-hot and the pitching struggled. But during last week’s road trip, the exact opposite rang true. The pitching has been good over the last week but had no run support. But, at long last, everything seemed to come together Monday at Wrigley.
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Before that, the offense had a feel like it had over the last week where they couldn’t seem to get anything going. Then in the sixth inning, the offense really seemed to figure something out.
Chicago broke out for five runs in the inning which had to feel good after the performance over the last week. The Cubs had four hits with runners in scoring position today which was as many as they did in the previous seven games combined.
Then in the seventh inning, the Cubs’ two All-Stars from last season Willson Contreras and Baez both had home runs. Both of these guys had been struggling in a big way of late – with Baez battling a lingering heel injury and the Cubs’ catcher going cold with the rest of the offense.
Jon Lester had struggled in his last three starts which had many people worrying about the big left-hander. I think he silenced those folks on Monday as he went seven strong innings only giving up four hits, one earned run and striking out six. Lester also had a solid day at the plate, delivering a hit and a walk.
Lester got himself into a jam in the seventh inning, loading the bases with just one out. But he got some much-needed defensive support from new Cubs outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who made a diving play in right field that probably saved three runs from scoring. Of course, Chicago brought him in this weekend, sending him to Triple-A Iowa for a lone game before designating Jim Adduci for assignment and bringing up Gonzalez. He went 1-for-3 in his Cubs debut but the catch was the talk of the game.
The Cubs now welcome the red-hot Colorado Rockies, who have won eight straight games for a three-game set that starts Tuesday night. Kyle Hendricks takes the ball in the opener, hoping to get the club off to a strong start in the series.