Cubs entered the Tuesday’s contest against the Cardinals having finally ended their four game losing streak behind Bote’s dramatic late three-run homer. The Cubs were looking to build some momentum in this one before another doubleheader against their longtime rivals Wednesday. Yu Darvish battled through early trouble, earning a quality start the hard way with a final line of 6.0 IP, 8 H, 1R, 1 BB, and 7 SO. That said, it was the offense that stole the show in this one.
Most of the talk surrounding the Cubs early season success has centered on the starting pitching, but the Cubs are putting together a quietly impressive season at the plate. As fellow Northside writer Austin Bloomberg has pointed out previously, much of this success can be found in the Cubs patient approach at the plate. This was on full display in this game. The Cubs hitters had seen over 190 pitches before the eighth inning. By the end of the game, they had seen 207 pitches.
Patience was not the only hallmark of the Cubs offense tonight. They finally brought out their big bats, getting home runs from Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber, the latter admired lovingly by Javier Baez from second base before he trotted home ahead of the big slugger. Speaking of Baez, El Mago showed signs of breaking out of his prolonged slump by lacing a double before the Schwarber bomb. Victor Caratini added an RBI double in the seventh. Heyward rounded out the slugging with a triple giving the Cubs the cycle on the night.
The Cubs won this game, and the box score shows that the bullpen was able to close out the win, but the Cubs entered the eighth inning with a five-run lead. Casey Sadler, who looked sharp in the seventh, started the inning by walking Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt. Dan Winkler entered and promptly surrendered an RBI single to Matt Carpenter before inducing a 5-6-3 double play that allowed the Cardinals third run to score. After Winkler hit Dexter Fowler with a pitch, David Ross was forced to bring Rowan Wick into the game. Wick continued his quiet dominance by striking out Andrew Knizner to end the threat. Wick went on to pitch a scoreless ninth, but threw twenty-seven pitches on the night.
The final outcome was positive, but Ross having to burn Wick may prove costly with the Cubs facing the doubleheader on Wednesday. Had Sadler and/or Winkler been able to pitch a cleaner eighth, the ‘pen would be better set up for the twin billing.
While I am not particularly concerned with the pace-of-play of America’s Pastime, just about every start by Yu Darvish will go down as an ugly game for Rob Manfred, the great crusader of speeding up the game. First pitch came at approximately 7:15 pm CT. This one would end up lasting over four, often slow hours. Some games last longer than others due to a wide range of factors, but sometimes those “longer” games can feel quicker than they actually are. This one, on the other hand, really moved at a snail’s pace. Again, as a baseball fan, I tend not to care too much about this, especially when it results in a Cub win, but I’m not sure Manfred would have appreciated it all that much.
The Cubs will play their second doubleheader in three days (of the seven-inning variety). Alec Mills will take the rubber for the Cubs in Game 1 against Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals. Starting pitchers of Game 2 are still to be determined for both teams. First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 1:20 pm CT on Marquee Network with Game 2 to follow roughly forty-five minutes after the first game ends.
Featured Photo: Jonathon Daniel/Getty Images
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