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S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT!: Cubs 4, Pirates 3

The Bay City Rollers. Ask your mom.

Among the things that are new in this season of weirdness are regularly scheduled Cub games at Wrigley Field on Friday and Saturday nights. After last night’s game here, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates went at it under the lights again in the 2537th game in their history. How did it go?

The Cubs rode another dominant pitching performance from Tyler Chatwood and a couple solo dongs early, then a Kyle Schwarber 2-run shot in the 8th to a 4-3 victory over the Bucs. The Cubs were able to do it without Kris Bryant, who was a late scratch due to Hershey squirts gastrointestinal issues. Let’s get to this:

THE GOOD:

Chatwood. When Chatwood was unable to hit the broad side of a barn in 2018, much was made of his work ethic and accountability. Last year the work started paying off in long relief stints, and this year he’s turned in two outstanding performances. He struck out 11 guys and allowed 3 hits and 2 walks before leaving the game with two outs in the sixth, an inning where two of those hits and one of those walks happened. 19 strikeouts and 4 walks to go with his 0.79 WHIP and 0.71 ERA in two starts. That’ll do.

Ian Happ. He led the game off with a double, then homered in his next at bat. He’s another guy who worked hard to find himself last year and has carried it over this season. Maybe it’s time for David Ross to think about putting him in the leadoff spot permanently and moving everyone else down a slot so he can get more at bats.

Jeremy Jeffress. He came in to get the last out in the 7th with the bases loaded, then ran a 1-2-3 8th, punctuated with a backwards K that had him skipping off the field.

THE BAD:

Could we have just one 9th inning that doesn’t eat away at our stomach linings? Kyle Ryan gave up three hits and was charged with three runs while getting only one out in the 9th before Rowan Thicc came in to save the game, and Ryan’s ass.

THE UGLY:

The last two games have been a lot more interesting than they should have been thanks to the Cubs’ dumpster fire of a bullpen. While they’re in first place and none of it may matter if the season gets scrubbed, the fact is that the Cubs haven’t been able to piece together a decent bullpen for years. Even in 2016 they traded for Aroldis Chapman, but the lack of bullpen depth was almost the Cubs’ undoing that year, as Joe Maddon had to ride Chapman early and often. To their credit, they’ve been trying to address this the last couple years, including this year’s draft.

But the fact remains that anything less than a championship for this team this year can be traced to their inability to give first Maddon, and now Ross, the pitching they need for the last third of each game.

Tomorrow afternoon the Cubs go for the sweep with Jon Lester on the mound. Treat yourself to a nice brunch before the game. Just don’t make it crab legs.

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