There were dire forecasts of rain off and on all day Wednesday in the Chicago area, but that all stayed away from Wrigley Field. Instead, sunshine, temperatures in the 70s and the wind blowing out toward center field greeted the Cubs and Marlins for baseball Wednesday afternoon.
So instead of rain of the liquid variety, Cubs batters rained baseballs all over, and out of, Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon. The 17-hit attack included three home runs, and the Cubs crushed the Marlins 13-4, sweeping the three-game series. This is what good teams are supposed to do to bad ones, and the Cubs outscored the Marlins 31-9 in taking the three games.
The fun began in the bottom of the first, when Kris Bryant stepped to the plate with one out:
The wind was blowing out, but that one needed no help, landing about four rows beneath the left-field video board. Fun facts about KB’s 100th career homer:
100th career home run— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 9, 2018
Kris Bryant: 487th career game
Ernie Banks: 500th career game
Billy Williams: 611th career game
Ron Santo: 708th career game#Cubs
Kris Bryant is first player whose 100th HR was on anniversary of 1st HR since Buddy Bell, who hit #1 on 4/22/1972 and #100 on 4/22/1981https://t.co/C6YMMs3aN4— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 9, 2018
Jose Quintana struggled in the first couple of innings, running up a high pitch count by running full counts on four batters, but he got out of the innings unscored on. The game remained at 1-0 into the bottom of the third, when Cubs batters had fun with Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen. It began with a double by Addison Russell, who was sacrificed to third by Quintana. After a walk by Albert Almora Jr., Bryant doubled in Russell and Javier Baez singled in Almora.
That brought Anthony Rizzo to the plate:
Almost before you could blink, it was 6-0 Cubs. Let’s pause for another fun fact:
Today: 20th time (18 regular season, 2 postseason) that Kris Bryant & Anthony Rizzo have both homered in a game (2nd time this season).— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 9, 2018
In the first 19 games, they're 17-2#Cubs
Make that 18-2 after this one. But they weren’t done in that second inning. Willson Contreras followed Rizzo’s homer with a triple, and David Bote hit a line drive to right that scored him to make it 7-0. Ian Happ walked, and that brought Russell to the plate for the second time in the inning:
Russell has been scuffling, but his second hit of the inning made it 9-0. The eight-run inning was the Cubs’ second-biggest of the year, behind the nine-run miracle comeback on that miserable April day against the Braves.
Quintana settled down after that. He gave up a leadoff triple in the fourth to Brian Anderson, who scored on an infield out, but after that it was smooth sailing for Q, who finished with six good innings, allowing five hits and just that one run.
Meantime, the Cubs tacked on another run on an RBI double by Rizzo in the fifth, and two more in the sixth. Rizzo’s second double of the day scored one, and a double by Contreras plated Rizzo to make it 12-1.
Justin Hancock then made his big-league debut. Hancock threw some good innings in spring training, impressing Joe Maddon and the staff with a fastball that touched 98 miles per hour. He retired the first two hitters he faced, then tried to get cute with sliders and walked J.B. Shuck, then served up a home run ball to Miguel Rojas. After another two-out walk in the eighth, Joe went and got Hancock. Hancock does have talent, but he’s going to have to harness his stuff to succeed. I hope he does, you don’t find too many guys who can throw 98 consistently.
The Cubs’ final run scored in the eighth. Contreras tripled for the second time. Fun fact time again!
Willson Contreras: first #Cubs catcher with 2 triples in a game since Steve Swisher 8/11/1976— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 9, 2018
Now there’s a name you don’t hear too much. Swisher hit three triples all year in 1976, with two in one game.
Mike Montgomery finished up, but allowed one more Marlins run on a solo homer by Bryan Holaday leading off the ninth.
That entire series was fun, both the blowouts and the comeback win on Tuesday. The Cubs showed they can score runs outside of blowouts, and also got some of the cold bats rolling with this series, particularly Rizzo, Contreras and Russell. Rizzo, in particular, this month: .355/.344/.806 (11-for-31) with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI. His OBP this month is lower than his BA because he has a sacrifice fly and no walks. In fact, Rizzo, who usually walks a lot, has walked just four times this season in 117 PA, and you have to figure that will change.
As I noted above, this is the sort of thing that a team as good as the Cubs should do to a club like the Marlins, who appear headed for 100 losses this year. The two teams are done for 2019, and the Cubs won five of seven and outscored them 50-27 in the seven games. And frankly, the Cubs ought to do the same to the White Sox, who have also struggled in this season’s early going. Sweeping a series is never easy, but the Cubs have a very good chance of doing that this weekend.
In the meantime, most of the guys will be heading to Rizzo’s Cook Off For Cancer fundraiser tonight, and then will enjoy Thursday off before the White Sox come to Wrigley Friday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. CT. Tyler Chatwood goes for the Cubs Friday against Sox righthander Carson Fulmer. TV coverage is via NBC Sports Chicago, and it’ll also be on MLB Network outside the Chicago market.