Feel better now?
You ought to, after the Cubs demolished the Brewers 14-8 in front of a sellout at Miller Park that included a loud contingent of Cubs fans.
Jason Heyward — Jason Heyward! — led the way by going 3-for-3 with two home runs, two walks and three runs scored. It was Heyward’s first multi-homer game as a Cub. Who knows? He’s off to a great start in 2019, maybe, just maybe, this is the year he starts hitting like he was supposed to three years ago. Heyward also stole two bases in this game, and now has one more steal than he had all of 2018.
I’m very happy for J-Hey, who works hard, never makes excuses, and you can be sure he’d love to live up to the big contract. I hope this is a sign of that.
The Brewers scored first, after a 1-2-3 Cubs first inning. Lorenzo Cain led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Cole Hamels, and you could have been forgiven if you had said, “Uh-oh, here we go again,” after that. Here’s another “uh-oh” from that first inning:
#Cubs: three catchers interference infractions in the last three games.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 6, 2019
They hadn't had three in a single season since 1979.
It's April 6th.
I’m not sure what’s causing these catcher interference plays, but you’d think it would behoove the coaching staff to take a look at video and figure it out so it won’t happen again.
Anyway, Hamels then settled down, and the Cubs went about scoring lots and lots of runs. In the second, after two were out surrounding a Kyle Schwarber single, Heyward came to bat [VIDEO].
The Brewers tied the game in the bottom of the second, and then in the fifth it was Victor Caratini’s turn with a runner on base [VIDEO].
Caratini has hit four career home runs. Two of them have been in Miller Park, where he is now hitting .346/.346/.551 (9-for-26) with the two homers. Small sample size, but who knows? Maybe Caratini sees the ball better there. More playing time for Victor in Milwaukee, please.
That made the score 4-2 Cubs, and the rout began in the sixth inning, first when Javier Baez led off [VIDEO].
That’s one of the weirder home runs you will ever see. At first it appeared umpires signaled the ball was in play, but the Brewers didn’t make any effort to make a play on Baez, who shrugged his shoulders, then started running faster. Replays showed the ball hit the top of the wall, then the background behind the wall, before bouncing back onto the field. In either case it was Javy’s fourth of the young season. The Cubs scored two more in that inning, including one on a sacrifice fly by Hamels, to make it 7-2.
Hamels threw a nice game after being a bit shaky early. He completed six innings without walking anyone (!, and that deserves a ! this year), allowing six hits, two runs and striking out five.
The Cubs called up two relievers from Triple-A Iowa Saturday and didn’t waste any time getting them into this game. Kyle Ryan gave up a single, got two outs, then issued a walk. The next hitter was Ryan Braun, and of course no modern manager is going to let a lefty reliever face him, so Allen Webster was summoned.
Whoops! Webster served up a three-run homer to Braun and suddenly it’s 7-5 and you’re worried, be honest, you were worried at this point.
But the Cubs smashed this game wide open in the eighth. Heyward, leading off [VIDEO].
To the opposite field, no less. Perhaps for the first time since he’s been a Cub, Heyward looks confident at the plate, seems to know exactly what he’s doing and takes the right approach. If this lasts all year, the Cubs offense just got another star player. Also, that’s three homers in the last two games for J-Hey:
Jason Heyward: first time homering in consecutive games since April 21-22, 2017 #Cubs— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 6, 2019
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after Heyward’s homer, and then it was Anthony Rizzo’s turn [VIDEO] to take part in the fun.
That was another nice piece of oppo hitting, a two-run double slashed down the left-field line, making it 10-5. The Brewers changed pitchers after Baez walked to load the bases, but that did not help them, as David Bote joined the hit parade [VIDEO].
That didn’t miss by much being a grand slam, but it cleared the bases and made the score 13-5, and after Heyward walked, Caratini singled in Bote to complete the Cubs’ seven-run inning, their largest frame of the young season. That’s saying a lot, too, considering how many runs the Cubs have already scored.
Randy Rosario was the next Cubs relief victim pitcher, and he did not have a good night, issuing a pair of walks and serving up a colossal three-run homer to Eric Thames. The Cubs still had a six-run lead at that point, and that, fortunately, was enough for the victory and to break the losing streak.
The Cubs are now leading the N.L. in: BA (.307) and OBP (.399) and are third in SLG (.519) and runs (60). That’s an average of 7.5 runs per game. (We’re not going to have a similar look at Cubs pitching ranks, because it will ruin your Sunday breakfast.)
Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about the Cubs’ losing streak or position in the N.L. Central at this point:
Cubs: Runs scored 60, runs allowed 67, run differential -7
Brewers: Runs scored 49, runs allowed 49, run differential 0
And yet, the Brewers are five games over .500 and the Cubs are four games under. This sort of thing is not sustainable, not by either of those teams. The Cubs will eventually get the pitching under control. The Brewers aren’t going to keep winning game after game with a run differential like that. The Cubs have scored 24 runs off them in two games — they allowed 25 total runs in their five previous games! Have faith. This Cubs team is good, they are not having any trouble scoring runs, once they get the pitching staff settled down, a long winning streak could follow.
So, the Cubs head into Sunday’s game with a chance for a series win at Miller Park. That’s always a good thing, if they can pull it off. Kyle Hendricks gets the start for the Cubs and Zach Davies will go for the Brewers. Game time is 1:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage Sunday will be via NBC Sports Chicago (and the game will also be on MLB Network outside the Cubs and Brewers market territories). The game preview here will post at 11:30 a.m. CT.