Here’s all (well, almost all, don’t stop reading here!) you need to know about the Cubs’ 7-1 dismantling of the Brewers Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field:
Castellanos homered with Ian Happ on base in each of the first two innings to provide all the offense the Cubs needed. There was more, of course, but let’s start at the beginning.
Jose Quintana had a quick 1-2-3 first inning. Happ led off the bottom of the first with a double.
As noted on the video clip: Three pitches, two runs. Now that’s efficient!
The Cubs might have scored more in the first. Victor Caratini, Thursday night’s hero, singled to left and was called safe trying to stretch it to a double. The Brewers challenged, and teams normally don’t do that in the first inning unless they’re certain they’re right, and they were. Victor was ruled out. He’d have scored one out later when Kyle Schwarber also doubled.
But a 2-0 first-inning lead is just fine.
After a scoreless second from Q, the Cubs offense got to work in the bottom of the frame. Another double, this one from David Bote, led off the inning.
And then... you have got to be kidding me, Jose Quintana [VIDEO].
That was Q’s first career extra-base hit, and it was hit hard, 103 miles per hour according to the Wrigley Field video board. Bote scored to make it 3-0.
Q was tagged out on an infield grounder by Happ, but Castellanos made sure that out didn’t really matter [VIDEO].
That ball: Crushed!
#Brewers 0 @ #Cubs 5 [B2-2o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) August 30, 2019
Nicholas Castellanos homers (22): fly ball to LCF (2-run)
Hit: 421.63ft, 104.4mph, 28.05°
[2nd of game]
Pitch: 92.3mph Four-Seam Fastball (RHP Chase Anderson, 20) pic.twitter.com/7M5vQFH7Jj
And this is fun:
Bat slam?— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 30, 2019
Nicholas Castellanos redefines the game every day. pic.twitter.com/BVqLPcV8vD
Nicholas Castellanos hit two-run homers in the 1st and 2nd innings today. The only other @Cubs to do that:— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 30, 2019
Hack Wilson, 7/26/30
George Altman, 8/13/59
Ryne Sandberg, 7/9/85#EverybodyIn
(There have been five other instances of multi-run HRs by Cubs in the first 2 innings.) pic.twitter.com/sXEllUCFhf
Castellanos has just been a revelation since he was acquired one month ago. His hitting has been outstanding. His defense, which was worrisome, has been at least adequate. And his approach to play on the field is one of joy. You can tell he’s thrilled to be a Cub, and his energy seems to have permeated the entire roster. Oh, and Nick’s brother Ryan was quite active on Twitter this afternoon. Among those:
I haven’t seen this Nick since playing high school baseball with all of our lifelong friends. Seriously— Ryan Castellanos LostLands☄️ (@ryan_cast_) August 30, 2019
Even more Castellanos:
Maddon on Nicholas: “Like a reality show in the making.”— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) August 30, 2019
So it’s 5-0 and Q is cruising. He got into a bit of trouble in the fourth with a pair of walks, and had to be removed with two out in the sixth having thrown 104 pitches. David Phelps finished off that inning and the seventh as well.
The Cubs put one more across in the bottom of the seventh. Bote led off with a walk, his second of the game, and one out later Brewers second baseman Cory Spangenberg booted a possible double-play ball. That put runners on first and second. After Castellanos struck out, Caratini came to the plate [VIDEO].
That little flare of a single drove in Bote and made it 6-0 Cubs. That’s three straight multi-hit games for Victor, and over his last 10 games: .500/.522/.955 (11-for-22) with three home runs. He’s done admirably well filling in for Anthony Rizzo at first base.
Here’s where I open the complaint department door just a bit. Pedro Strop entered to throw the eighth. Here’s a nice, low-leverage situation, a six-run lead... and Pedro couldn’t get a scoreless inning done. He allowed a single, wild-pitched the runner to second, and after recording two outs, Manny Pina singled to score the Brewers’ only run of the game. It wasn’t a terrible inning... but it wasn’t a nice, clean, 1-2-3 inning either. I feel bad for Pedro, who up to this year had been one of the best relievers in Cubs history. But he appears not fully recovered from the two hamstring injuries. I suspect he’ll continue to get some low-leverage innings the rest of the way.
We’re not quite done recapping the scoring in this game, either. Schwarber stepped to the plate to lead off the eighth [VIDEO].
Home run number 32 for Kyle went a long way:
Steve Cishek then dispatched the Brewers 1-2-3 in the ninth on only four pitches. That’s the fewest pitches by any Cubs reliever in a one-inning appearance all year... by two. No one else did it in fewer than six pitches.
It was a beautiful game on a beautiful afternoon at Wrigley Field. What could be better? (More wins, of course.) The Cubs improved to 16-11 in August; a win Saturday would give them their most wins in a calendar month in 2019 (May, 16-12). They’ve won four straight and nine of 12 and finally, after five tries, got past 11 games over .500. Their 73-61 record, 12 games over, is the high-water mark so far this year.
Pending the Cardinals’ game tonight vs. the Reds, the Cubs trail St. Louis by one game. They’ll go for two in a row over the Brewers Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Cole Hamels will start for the Cubs and Zach Davies gets the call for Milwaukee. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.
Nicholas Castellanos, per the Cubs tweet...
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