The Cubs improved to 54-47 with this win and increased their lead in the N.L. Central to 1½ games. Their record since the All-Star break improved to 11-2.
Kyle Schwarber seems to really take to the DH role.
.286/.375/.714, 8-for-28 with a double, a triple, three home runs and seven RBI, all in just seven games serving as a designated hitter.
Not bad, right? Also, there’s this:
Kyle Schwarber in 15 games since returning from Iowa (57 PA):— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 28, 2017
.280/.368/.680, 5 HR, 8 RBI #Cubs
Looks like that trip to Iowa was just what Kyle needed. His 16th and 17th home runs set a new career high for him, and the triple was just the second of his big-league career. The first?
Kyle Schwarber: first triple since his first Major League hit 6/17/2015#Cubs— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 28, 2017
I wouldn’t expect Kyle to hit too many more triples, either, but that one was fun.
This game started out like Wednesday night’s, scoreless through two innings. Then Willy Garcia took Jon Lester deep for a 1-0 Sox lead in the bottom of the third.
Anthony Rizzo took care of that leading off the fourth [VIDEO].
That ball: Crushed!
Willson Contreras followed with a walk, his second of the game, and then it was time for the first Schwarbomb (both HR included on this video).
404 feet to the opposite field. Man, that is impressive. It gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. The Sox got one run back on a long, long home run by Jose Abreu, but the Cubs made it 4-2 in the fifth. Albert Almora Jr. doubled down the left-field line, went to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kris Bryant.
In the sixth, Contreras led off with a single and then it was Schwarber time again. He sent a ball off the wall in left-center that was nearly another homer [VIDEO].
It bounced far enough away from Sox center fielder Adam Engel that Kyle was able to motor into third. Contreras scored easily to make it 5-2.
Kyle came up one more time in the eighth and punished another baseball:
That made it 6-2, and Lester was dealing for most of the night. He really made only two mistakes, the homers to Garcia and Abreu. Otherwise he allowed just two other singles and two walks and it was good to see Lester have a good game in a road park, something he hadn’t been doing well up to this point. Oddity about Lester’s game:
The last 4 runs Jon Lester has allowed have all been solo Home Runs#Cubs— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 28, 2017
Hey, whatever works, right? The Cubs also continued this good second-half trend:
#Cubs first inning runs allowed— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 28, 2017
Pre All-Star break: 80 in 88 games
Post All-Star break: 0 in 13 games
Carl Edwards Jr. threw a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara finished up, though he allowed Abreu to hit a second home run to make it 6-3, which necessitated Wade Davis beginning to loosen up in the bullpen. Fortunately, Koji recovered to strike out two of the next three hitters.
No beanballing happened in this game, though Jon Jay did get hit in the head by a pitch from David Holmberg. There was obviously no intent, though Sox manager Rick Renteria lifted Holmberg after that. Jay stayed in the game with no apparent ill effects.
The crowd was about 1,000 bigger than Wednesday night’s, and again appeared to be majority Cubs fans, maybe 60 to 65 percent, and they got loud on all the Cubs home runs. It’s really good to see Schwarber start hitting again the way we saw him hit in 2015; this is a really great sign for the Cubs offense going forward.
And the Cubs won the Crosstown Cup for the first time since 2013, in case you care about such things.
The team reached a season-high seven games over .500 with this win, and also a season high in run differential at +34. Pythagorean record-wise, they are just where they should be based on run differential at 54-47. For Schwarber, his BA jumped from .183 to .191 with his three-hit night, and while that might not seem so great, it’s as high a BA as he has had since May 10, a span of 67 team games, 46 games played for Kyle, and a trip to Triple-A, which at this point I think it’s safe to say won’t be repeated.
The Cubs increased their lead to 1½ games over the Brewers with the win, the biggest lead they have had in the N.L. Central this year since May 4. Things seem to be on a nice roll, with three straight wins and 11 of 13 since the break, as the Cubs head to Milwaukee for an important three-game series against the Brewers beginning Friday night.
Incidentally, this win makes my personal record in road games 7-0 (two in St. Louis, three in Baltimore, and the two at the White Sox). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the games in Milwaukee, but will see about going to more away games later this year.
Jose Quintana will take the mound for the Cubs at Miller Park and he’ll face Milwaukee’s Brent Suter, at 7:10 p.m. CT.
Bring it on. Pennant-race baseball in late July in front of full houses in Miller Park. Should be great fun.