Over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs took on the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 3-game series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs took two of the three games from Arizona, winning the first two and dropping the last. Oddly enough, Jake Arrieta was the starter who got the loss in the series, ending his amazing streak of consecutive wins by the Cubs in games he’s started. Here’s why the Cubs roll the Diamondbacks, taking the two out of three games.
Cubs Pitchers Continue to Dominate
John Lackey got his sixth win on Friday, as the Cubs won 6-0. Lackey continued the string of good starts, as he pitched 6.2 innings. Lackey gave up just five hits, and didn’t give up a run. With the six plus innings of shutout baseball, Lackey lowered his ERA to 2.88. That is good for a top 30 ranking in the Majors.
Jason Hammel, coming off his two inning start due to cramps, pitched on schedule in the middle game of the series. He would get his seventh win of the season, as Chicago takes the series on a 5-3 win. Hammel started out a lightly rocky, giving up two in the first inning on a 2-run homer, but would settle down, not giving up another run through his seven innings pitched. In fact, the homerun would be the only hit that Hammel would give up in the game. Hammel’s outing would leave him sixth on the ERA leaderboard, .02 points above Giants starter Johnny Cueto.
Jake Arrieta wouldn’t get his league leading 10th win of the season in the series finale as the Cubs dropped the game 3-2, on what is quickly becoming “National Jake Day”. In Arrieta terms, he got slightly roughed up in the game. He would only go five innings, giving up three earned runs. On a day that every soft hit ball seemed to drop, the Diamondbacks would get nine hits off the Cubs ace. Despite the hits and three runs, Arrieta was able to strike out 12 of the 15 outs he got. Jake’s ERA will go up to 1.80, giving Clayton Kershaw the league lead and dropping Arrieta to second.
Cubs Runs Not Coming from Stars
Cubs are quickly becoming recognized as a team that is stacked up and down the lineup. With that said there are a couple names that seem to be more recognizable to the league. These guys seem to be Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist. But this weekend, most of the run production didn’t come from these guys. The Cubs roll the DBacks with the help of the bottom of the order guys.
In game one, the Cubs scored six runs. Four of the six came off the bats of Javier Baez and Addison Russell, two guys that are young, rapidly rising players. Rizzo would drive in a run, and the last would score on an error during Baez’s RBI double. Russell’s RBI double would come off a pinch hit opportunity, while Baez went 1-4 on the day.
In the second game, Fowler and Rizzo would drive in two of the five runs. The other three came from struggling Jorge Soler, and pitcher Jason Hammel. Soler smoked a ground rule double to left center field. If the ball hadn’t gotten caught in the ivy, Soler would have gotten two RBIs instead of just the one. Hammel drove in two runs on a single to right field. Rizzo and Fowler would each hit solo homeruns.
In the finale, the Cubs would score just two runs. They came off of a double by another pitcher, Jake Arrieta, third baseman Javier Baez drove in the final run. Baez hit a solo homerun to right field, showing his excellent opposite field power.
The Cubs showed that they can find ways to win, even when their stars aren’t the guys driving in all the runs. This should definitely scare the other teams in the league. If the Cubs can find a way to pitch the way they have been, along with getting their sluggers to hit alongside the bottom of the order guys, they will be almost unbeatable. The Cubs run differential is a whopping +142. They were the second fastest team to reach a +100, trailing only the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates. They are doing all this while the lineup isn’t catching fire at the same time. Look for this team to start opening some eyes later in the season if these guys can all click at the same time.
Pitcher of the Series:
John Lackey (6-3)
W, 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 2.88 ERA
Hitter of the Series:
4-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 1B, 1 2B, 1 HR
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