The Chicago Cubs have crept five games closer to .500 with a five-game win streak on the road. Still, well below the .500 mark, it’s a sign the Cubs haven’t given up.
All was lost for the Chicago Cubs on the road. And then? A miracle. They won the last two of the Pittsburgh Pirates series, and then swept the New York Mets at CitiField? Who are these guys? I hope the boys in pinstripes play like they were, not in the Washington Nationals series. Just…ouch.
The Cubs Jon Lester ‘put up’ against the Mets, and won his 11th game of the year. He went six innings allowing five hits and a single run on J.D. Davis‘ first-inning blast. He wasn’t dominating, but it’s more like the Lester we’ve come to know. I know a quality start is overrated, but I’ll take them.
The key for the Cubs has been pitching on this road success story. In Pittsburgh, Jose Quintana continued his excellence (he was beaten in the Nats series) by pitching seven innings of shutout ball while allowing five hits with seven strikeouts. Lester in the game of the series went six innings giving up four hits. He did walk five but didn’t allow a run.
In New York, Yu Darvish pitched his most dominate game yet. Eight innings of one-run ball with five hits and seven strikeouts. He was likely more upset about the walk, as it ended a five-game streak without one. This is the Darvish we thought we were getting. Hopefully, he sticks around.
The only one that didn’t pitch well was Kyle Hendricks, and he was spotted a 10-run lead but couldn’t qualify for the win. Hendricks was charged with six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. But Joe Maddon did what he had to do. David Phelps allowed a run charged to Hendricks, but he got out of the inning by getting Juan Lagares to fly out to Nicholas Castellanos.
With the absence of Willson Contreras still on the IL and Anthony Rizzo sidelined by back spasms, other Chicago Cubs stepped it up on offense. Kyle Schwarber .333 (3-for-9) for the series with a home run and three RBI with an OPS of 1.178.
The Cubs Kris Bryant supplied the runs, scoring four times in the series. He also hit .333 for the series (4-for-12) with four doubles. But the man of the hour and the series had to be Victor Caratini.
He slashed .583/.583/1.167 with 1.750 OPS. He was 7-for-12 with a double and a couple of no-doubter home runs in Thursday’s game to seal the win. Even when Contreras and Rizzo return to the lineup, Caratini has carved himself out some playing time. And even when Rizzo and Contreras return, it smart for Maddon to give them the occasional day off with their previous injuries.
The Cubs will take in the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field, hoping to put space between them and the Crew. That .667 winning percentage at home better not fail now that the Brewers are coming into town.