The Cubs offense is finally coming to life during their recent hot streak. Tuesday night saw an offensive explosion and perhaps a return to the Jake Arrieta of 2015, ensuring that the winning streak would reach five.
Arrieta struggled in the 1st inning, when a single and two walks loaded the bases with a man down. JT Realmuto hit a grounder to short, but a bobble by Addison Russell negated a double play and a run scored: 1-0 Miami.
Arrieta would not allow a baserunner for the next 4 innings. Jeff Locke pitched an enlightened game of his own, holding the Cubs scoreless early.
Chicago finally staged a rally in the bottom of the 5th when Jon Jay (with an assist from the plate umpire) and Kris Bryant walked with two men out. Anthony Rizzo then lined a three-run homer (the fifth of his career off of Locke) to right to put his team ahead 3-1.
After Willson Contreras reached on an error, Jason Heyward doubled to right to increase the Cubs lead to 4-1.
Arrieta finally ran out of gas in the 7th inning, as a lead-off triple by Realmuto ended his night. Realmuto scored on a Russell error to cut the lead to two, but Pedro Strop was able to pitch out of the frame with no further damage.
The Northsiders padded the lead against reliever Brian Ellington in the bottom of the 7th. Bryant doubled and scored on a Rizzo single to center and Jason Heyward ripped another double to right to score Rizzo. The rout was on when Albert Almora singled and Javy Baez added his own two-run double to make it 8-2, Cubs.
Dustin McGowan — no relation to the former Bears QB — finally relieved Ellington and promptly served up a two-run double to Jon Jay.
Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon cleaned up the last two innings in the Cubs’ 10-2 victory
Stats That Matter
- Kris Bryant has had tons of success against Jeff Locke. Bryant got on base four times with two walks, a single, and a double.
- After throwing over 30 pitches in the 1st inning, Jake Arrieta dominated: 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 5 K, and 3 BB. By far the best sign was the 10 groundouts he generated from the Marlins. More starts like that from number 49 would be huge.
- Anthony Rizzo is starting to heat up with a homer and a single and 4 runs driven in. Seeing Locke seems to be a big benefit for Tony.
- Jason Heyward had an excellent game of his own with three hits and a pair of RBI. Both of his doubles were really hit hard. As I said in the series preview, if Heyward starts to find grass with his hard-hit balls he can go on a tear.
After mostly tense hard-fought wins during the current winning streak, Tuesday was a laugher. The Cubs are starting to look like the powerhouse that steamrolled the National League in 2016.
Chicago goes for its second consecutive sweep Wednesday night at 7:05 CT. John Lackey takes on hard-throwing righty Jose Urena in a game that airs on WGN.