The Cubs found themselves in an early hole Thursday night as Jake Arrieta surrendered one run on a Johnathan Lucroy double and another on a Ryan Braun infield single to make it 2-0 Brewers through three innings. The Cubs bats were seemingly silent yet again, managing just two hits through seven innings, both courtesy of Anthony Rizzo. But he wasn’t done yet.
After Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler both singled to lead off the eighth inning, the cleanup man did what he does best. He homered to right center to drive in three runs and not only put the Cubs on the board, but also ahead where they would stay, adding another two runs in the ninth from Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber to give us our final result: a 5- 2 Cubs win. It was good to see Rizzo step up and deliver for the Cubs who really need to take care of business against this lowly Brewers club.
“It feels great. It really does,” Rizzo said afterwards. “Talking to the guys before the game, I was saying ‘let’s get off to a good start on this road trip.’ Last few road trips we’ve lost the first game. Winning the first one was big.”
Jake Arrieta’s stuff wasn’t his usual ‘ace’ effort, but he went six while allowing only two runs and the bullpen put together a three inning scoreless stretch while ceding just one hit to finish off the game. Hector Rondon looked strong in gathering back to back saves the last two nights and it appears he has grabbed the closer’s role back from Motte for the time being.
UPDATE: The Cubs finally made their much-anticipated trade deadline moves today acquiring Dan Haren from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league prospects, Double-A pitcher Ivan Pinyero and infielder Elliot Soto. Haren should be a serviceable back of the rotation starter this team has been sorely lacking the past several weeks. The Cubs desperately needed someone to eat innings as Dallas Beeler has put tremendous pressure on the bullpen in his failure to go far in games. The Cubs gave up essentially nothing for the rental so this move gets a thumbs up as it should steady the ship and help to keep the Cubs in the hunt.
The Cubs also added a relief pitcher to the bullpen in Tommy Hunter who was acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Junior Lake. This should help as the bullpen picks up an accomplished arm at the expense of Lake, who has shown promise this year but hasn’t been able to sustain it enough to stay up in the Majors. Sad to see Lake go but the Cubs need all the pitching depth they can get right now so this move is a solid one as well.
The downside from the deadline has to be the Cubs inability to get a deal down for Tyson Ross and Craig Kimbrel of the Padres. While much of that can be chalked up to the Padres stiff asking price, it still would have been nice to grab Ross, who is under contract for a couple years and Kimbrel who is one of the top closers in the game. This would have been the ‘sexier’ play and would have probably cost Starlin Castro and Javy Baez but would have been worth it. It’s pretty shocking the Padres decided to hold onto all their pieces given they are 7.5 games out of the second wild card spot, but this is what makes baseball fun.
Now if the Cubs would just start swinging those bats with some consistency…
Tonight it’s Jason Hammel vs. the Brewers Taylor Jungmann. First pitch is 7:10PM CST.
Go Cubs Go!