Fewer than 12 hours ago, the Cubs offense looked completely moribund in an 8-0 loss to the Cardinals in which they had one measly hit.
They did better than that in the first inning at sunny Wrigley Field Friday afternoon, and in all pounded out 12 hits, including two home runs, in a 6-2 dismantling of the Brewers.
There might be something to this day-game thing. More on that later.
First things first, after a scoreless top of the first inning Jason Heyward put a charge into Zach Davies’ third pitch of the game [VIDEO].
Heyward’s 16th homer of the year made it 1-0. The Cubs loaded the bases later in the inning on two walks surrounding a double by Javier Baez, but could not score.
The Brewers tied it up in the second on a long home run by Ryan Braun, but the Cubs broke out the big bats in the third. Kris Bryant led off with a single, and one out later it was Javy time [VIDEO].
Javy’s 26th round-tripper of the season made it 3-1 Cubs, but they weren’t done scoring, and the rest of the offense all came after the second out. Willson Contreras and David Bote singled, and then I said to Mike Bojanowski, “Groundout or strikeout?” for Jose Quintana, who came into that at-bat hitting .050. He replied, “Maybe he’ll surprise you.”
That was a nice at-bat by Q, running the count to 2-2 and then hitting a little flare into right field for an RBI single making it 4-1.
Q kept up his good pitching. He retired nine Brewers in a row before pinch-hitter Ben Gamel singled in the fifth, but Q stranded Gamel.
Then the Cubs bats went to work again in the bottom of the inning. Baez doubled and advanced to third on a single by Kyle Schwarber. Contreras batted next [VIDEO].
The RBI groundout made it 5-1, and the Cubs tacked one more on in the sixth. Nicholas Castellanos led off with a bloop double, advanced to third on a single by Anthony Rizzo, and Baez batted next [VIDEO].
Javy’s speed prevented a double play and plated the Cubs’ sixth run.
Quintana allowed a single and double leading off the seventh and then departed in favor of Rowan Wick. A groundout off Wick scored the Brewers’ second run, charged to Q, who had a solid 91-pitch outing in which he didn’t walk anyone and struck out five.
Wick, Brandon Kintzler and Kyle Ryan finished things off without incident; Ryan allowed a leadoff walk in the ninth but induced a double-play ball, and after a two-out single, he struck out Manny Pina to end it.
That makes the Cubs’ home record 37-18, compared to their road record of 21-33. Much has been made of that home-road split, but I’m going to show you one that might be more telling and interesting:
Day games: 28-18 (.609)
Night games: 30-33 (.476)
Well now. I think that might be more meaningful than home/road, actually. I’m going to have to do a bit deeper dive into the home and road schedules to see where the day and night games fall, but it is true that on the last road trip, the Cubs went 2-0 in day games and 1-6 in night games, and on the last homestand they were 6-1 in day games and 2-1 in night games.
Reasons for this? Unknown, but it does seem that there might be something there. The Cubs, after today, have 26 home games remaining: 17 during the day, nine at night. On the road, 27 games remaining: 22 at night, five during the day. Uh-oh.
I’m going to look deeper into this and perhaps write something up after the weekend, which will be two more day games against the Brewers. The weather Friday was spectacular, 79 degrees at game time with low humidity, unlimited sunshine and a light breeze blowing off Lake Michigan, the sort of day you’d like to bottle up and let it out in January when we really need it. Conditions should be just as nice Saturday.
The Cardinals have Friday off, so the Cubs now trail them by half a game going into Saturday’s action. The Brewers now trail the Cubs by two games.
Saturday, Cole Hamels will be activated from the injured list to start against Milwaukee. No word yet on who’s being removed from the 25-man roster to make room for Cole. Gio Gonzalez will go for the Brewers. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.