The Chicago Cubs traveled to Pittsburgh to begin a 4-game series against the Pirates tonight, and the Cubs sent Jon Lester to the mound against JT Brubaker. The Cubs have run a 5-1 record so far this year against the Bucs. How did things go?
In what may very well have been the last regular season start for Big Dick Jon in a Cubs uniform, he gave the Cubs a quality start against a Pirates team that clearly has no interest in being anywhere near a baseball diamond. Brubaker pitched well, but the Cubs hitters got fat on the Pittsburgh bullpen on the way to a 5-0 ballgame. Let’s get to this:
Lester. Six shutout innings, 4 hits, a walk and a strikeout. If this is really it for him in a Cubs uniform, he went out in style. He left the game with 999 innings pitched as a Cub. He has said he’d love to win his 200th game next season as a Cub. The Cubs could do a lot worse at the back of the rotation.
Kyle Schwarber. He began and ended his night with doubles. Whatever was said between him and David Ross last night seems to have taken hold, as he looked fired up. Maybe Rossy should bench a guy each night from here on out to wake up the sleeping bats.
Javier Baez. A two out safety squeeze in the first to get the Cubs their first run, and his usual El Mago stuff out in the field. That bunt was his only hit for the night, but if that’s what it takes to keep him above the Mendoza Line until he starts driving balls, it’ll do.
Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. They are always a great soundtrack to Cubs baseball, despite the Marquee Network’s best efforts to throw to other people and screw up the rhythm of the broadcast. Tonight, JD was discussing how he missed the guys who dress like Pirates for every game, and what it’s like when they get home to their wives…”Hey honey, you’re home…you’re looking good in that costume…” It becomes even more apparent after a night of enduring Alex Rodriguez.
It feels like each night someone is chasing the Golden Sombrero. Tonight it was Willson Contreras, who ended the night with three.
Kris Bryant leaving the game with oblique tightness. He has never gotten it going at all this year, and it feels like there’s been some ache or pain each game preventing him from getting untracked. He’s never had a wRC+ below 125 in his career, and this year it’s sitting at 63. He can always turn it around in the postseason, but nothing that’s happened with him this season gives you any idea that’s going to happen. Get well and surprise us, KB.
The magic number drops to 5 with the win, and tomorrow the Cubs’ latest reason for hope will be in the form of Jose Quintana taking the ball.