Cubs Record: 48-24 (1st NL Central, 9.5 games up)
W: Trevor Cahill (1-2)
L: Mike Dunn (0-1)
S: Hector Rondon (13th Save)
MVPs: Willson Contreras, Travis Wood, and Hector Rondon
The Cubs jumped out to a quick four-run lead in the 1st inning as six straight Cubs had hits. Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras each hit home runs, while Javier Baez added an RBI single through a drawn in infield for the fourth run of the inning.
Kyle Hendricks had a very weird start and couldn’t hold the lead he was given through the bottom half of the 1st inning. He was done no favors by an Addison Russell error, but he did walk two and then gave up a grand slam to Justin Bour (former Cubs’ farmhand) to dead center to tie the game up at 4. That was the only hit he would give up in his 5 innings of work, but he did allow four walks.
Willson Contreras came through with the tie-breaking hit in the 8th inning with a one-out RBI single to right to score Bryant. Travis Wood and Hector Rondon made the lead stick and the Cubs ultimately won 5-4.
Kris Bryant hit an absolute bomb on the first pitch he saw against Marlins starter Tom Koehler. It was his team-leading 18th HR and 50th RBI. He later walked and scored the winning run while also playing a couple positions (1st and 3rd).
Willson Contreras had himself a solid day at the plate and is really making it hard to not have him in the lineup every day. He went 2 for 4 with his 3rd HR and 3 RBI (two on the HR and another on the game-winning RBI single). In a very small sample size he is hitting .412 and OPS-ing at a robust 1.415 with 8 RBI.
Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood did some great work out of the pen to keep things tied and keep the Cubs in position to win the game. Wood did especially well in getting 5 outs and going through the tougher part of the Marlins’ lineup, including Giancarlo Stanton.
Hector Rondon was called upon in the bottom of the 8th and had to get four outs to earn his 13th save, which he did without much fanfare. There was a ball hit towards left-center that made Len Kasper worry, which in turn made me worry, but it was caught by Chris Coghlan.
Javier Baez continues to do some amazing things with his glove while also contributing with the bat. Tonight he dove into the first row of the stands down the third base line to catch a foul ball. It is a play that I don’t think Kris Bryant makes and the value that Baez brings with his glove is reaching some pretty impressive levels.
It is hard to say that Kyle Hendricks had a “bad” start, but it was very frustrating to see things work out the way they did in the bottom half of the 1st inning. He walked back-to-back hitters and looked to be pitching around guys instead of trying to induce weak contact.
He only gave up the one hit (grand slam) and he struck out five, but he issued four walks. Even though all the runs were unearned because of Russell’s error, it still would have been nice to see him put up a smaller number.
Three different Cubs were hit by pitches tonight as Contreras, Heyward and Zobrist all wore one for the team. Contreras was hit by a wayward breaking ball, but Heyward and Zobrist took fastballs to their feet. Heyward was just fine and he shook it off, but Zobrist was in some serious pain and was removed on defense during the next half inning.
None of these pitches were on purpose or intended to harm Cubs hitters, but the injury bug is biting a little too hard recently. Soler, Fowler, and La Stella are on the DL and Montero and Rizzo day to day with a knee and a stiff back, so it was unfortunate to see another Cub leave the game early.
The Cubs are back at it Saturday against the Fish. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM (CST). John Lackey (7-3, 2.78) gets the ball against Paul Clemens (5 IP, 5.40 ERA). Hopefully Rizzo will be back in the lineup, as it did appear to me that he was campaigning to go into the game when the staff looked at Baez in between innings after his dive into the stands shook him up a little bit.