Here we are in the middle of the weirdest baseball season any of us will ever see, and the Cubs are running away with things. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The Cubs played more solid baseball — with one exception, and I’ll get to that — Wednesday night in Kansas City, and won their sixth in a row, 6-1 over the Royals.
KC took an early lead off Yu Darvish in the third inning on a double, a single and a double play. Meanwhile, Royals rookie lefthander Kris Bubic, making just his second MLB start, retired the first nine Cubs in order. Given the Cubs’ offense the last few games, you knew that wasn’t going to last, and it didn’t.
Kris Bryant singled to lead off the fourth. Anthony Rizzo walked. Next up was Javier Baez [VIDEO].
Bryant scored to tie the game and Rizzo wound up on third... and Javy stopped at first, and you can see he wasn’t hustling out of the box.
I’m going to forgive him for that for a number of reasons. First, the Cubs won the game. Second, he drove in another run later in the contest. And third, he owned up to what he did:
Javy Baez said he had trouble picking up the ball right away in the 4th inning, but said he should have run right away and been on second base.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 6, 2020
"That was my mistake."
Good for Javy for holding himself accountable.
The Cubs took the lead in that inning, 2-1, when Willson Contreras grounded into a double play.
Meanwhile, after that third inning Darvish resumed dominating the way he did in the second half of 2019. He allowed just two baserunners after the third, and neither got past second base. Overall: seven innings, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts, another excellent outing by the Cubs rotation.
The game remained close until the Cubs broke it open in the eighth. With two out and no one on base, Royals third baseman Maikel Franco made a bad throw on a grounder by KB that first baseman Ryan O’Hearn couldn’t scoop out of the dirt. What happened next is something you always like to see — a team taking advantage of a situation like that. The next three Cubs singled, all to right field. Anthony Rizzo’s single advanced KB to third, and then Javy came to the plate [VIDEO].
All’s forgiven, Javy. Baez has been scuffling a little at the plate, so it was good to see him come through in that situation.
Contreras batted next and made it 4-1 Cubs with this RBI single [VIDEO].
Jeremy Jeffress, who has quickly become the Cubs’ most reliable reliever, threw a scoreless eighth and then the Cubs offense went to work again. Ian Happ led off with a double and with one out, Victor Caratini singled him in [VIDEO].
Caratini then entertained all of us by scoring from first on a single by Bryant [VIDEO]. (Oh, all right, there was a misplay by Royals center fielder Whit Merrifield involved, too.)
To wrap things up, Colin Rea made his first Cubs appearance, and first in the big leagues since July 30, 2016. Rea threw a scoreless inning, marred only by an error by Nico Hoerner. Speaking of Hoerner, he and Bubic were Stanford teammates and were facing each other for the first time in the major leagues. Bubic won that battle, getting Hoerner to fly out and ground out the two times Nico batted against him, but the Cubs won the game, the more important thing.
This is now just the fourth time in Cubs franchise history that the team has started 10-2 (or better) over their first 12 games. The others: 1907, 1934 and 1969 (the 1969 team was 11-1). That’s one Cubs World Series winner and two others that fell short. Hopefully, this year can be finished safely and maybe the Cubs put another trophy on display.
An entertaining moment happened in the second inning. The Royals, like many teams, have sold cardboard cutouts to be placed in the stands, with some of the proceeds going to charity. The ubiquitous “Marlins Man” apparently paid for one at Kauffman Stadium, but as Sara Sanchez noted on Twitter during the game... the Royals engaged in a cover-up:
OMG! Royals not having the Marlins Man thing pic.twitter.com/VrtWSblJC6— Sara Sanchez (@BCB_Sara) August 6, 2020
This was apparently the work of the Royals mascot “Sluggerrr.” Good for him!
The Cubs will wrap their four-game, home-and-home set with the Royals in Kansas City Thursday evening. Tyler Chatwood, who’s been very, very good this year, will go for the Cubs and Brad Keller gets the start for the Royals. This game starts an hour earlier than the others in this series — 6:05 p.m. CT — and TV coverage tonight is on Fox-TV (coverage map). A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings and the game is not on the Fox station in your market, you can watch via those services.