Several times over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written words to the effect that the Cubs got “solid starting pitching, timely hitting and good bullpen work” in posting a victory.
I could get used to doing that. They did it again Tuesday night against the Dodgers: Another excellent outing from Jose Quintana, key hits by several Cubs, and relief work by Kyle Ryan that shut things down after Steve Cishek let L.A. briefly think they were back in the game.
All of that resulted in a 7-2 Cubs victory on a coolish, but not unpleasant, evening at Wrigley Field. The win was the Cubs’ ninth in their last 12 games and put them over .500 (11-10) for the first time since their Opening Day win at Texas.
The Cubs wasted no time going in front. After a quick 1-2-3 first by Q, the Cubs loaded the bases on a single by Ben Zobrist and two walks surrounding a groundout. One out later, Willson Contreras cleared ‘em [VIDEO].
Now that was a nice piece of hitting. Kenta Maeda hung an 0-2 breaking pitch and Willson smacked it right down the line, where Justin Turner was most definitely not playing.
The 3-0 lead became 4-0 moments later when Daniel Descalso faced Maeda [VIDEO].
That was another perfectly-placed hit, landing just fair down the left-field line. Descalso has been outstanding for the Cubs so far this year, hitting .309/.387/.455 with five doubles and a home run. When Addison Russell returns, Descalso’s playing time might wind up being reduced, but I hope they find places for him. He’s been great. So far he hasn’t played anything but second base, but over the last two years he’s also played first base, third base, left field and even a couple of innings at shortstop.
The Cubs extended their lead in the second inning. Zobrist led off with a single and one out later, Anthony Rizzo put a ball into the left-field bleachers [VIDEO].
Rizzo’s fourth of the year made it 6-0. After that, something happened that didn’t affect the score of this game, but is worth watching, some Javy being Javy [VIDEO].
In a previous life, Javy must have been a fish, because he’s constantly using those swim moves to avoid fielders. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out to argue that Javy swam out of the baseline, to no avail.
Quintana allowed a run in the third, but after that set down 11 straight Dodgers, one of them on this slick play [VIDEO] that ended the fourth inning.
“Oh hey look what I found!” is what Q appears to be thinking after making that catch in self-defense.
Q did allow a run in the seventh, but completed the inning with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Max Muncy. He threw 114 pitches, which seems like a lot, but on the cool evening he never seemed to be gassed, and remember that the Cubs’ two off days next week likely afford him extra rest.
Fun fact time!
#Cubs starting pitchers last 10 games— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 24, 2019
1.39 ERA, 64.2 IP, 41 Hits, 15 BB, 70 K, 4 HR, 0.866 WHIP
José Quintana last 3 starts
0.86 ERA, 21.0 IP, 14 Hits, 3 BB, 25 K, 0 HR, 0.810 WHIP
Cishek gave up a couple of hits in the eighth, bringing Ryan into the game. Ryan allowed a single to load the bases. In fairness, the last two of those hits were seeing-eye types, a bloop into left by Alex Verdugo and a bouncing ball that just eluded Zobrist by Corey Seager.
Ryan then settled down and got A.J. Pollock (strikeout) and Cody Bellinger (groundout) to end the inning, then set the Dodgers down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end it, a satisfying victory over a team that had been hot. L.A. had won seven of eight coming into this series, including taking three of four from the Brewers in Milwaukee.
So the Cubs’ plan to attack the Dodgers with lefties worked, at least for the first game of this series. This Tribune article indicates Jon Lester might be activated to start Thursday, possibly piggybacking with Tyler Chatwood, who did so well on Sunday, since Lester wouldn’t have a rehab assignment start. It also notes Mike Montgomery probably won’t be back in this series, as he’ll have another rehab outing. This probably means Randy Rosario, who was recalled when David Bote went on the paternity list, sticks around when Bote returns for Wednesday’s game. Alec Mills, who was recalled Sunday, is probably odd-man-out at this point.
Wednesday, the Cubs go for two in a row over the Dodgers. Cole Hamels gets the call for the Cubs and Walker Buehler will start for L.A. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via WGN.