Look, the Diamondbacks are a terrible team, on pace to lose 112 games, and on the road they’ve been even worse, posting a 24-game losing streak away from Chase Field that set a MLB record and they entered this series having won two of their last 32 road games.
So even with the Cubs struggles lately, you had to figure this was a winnable game, and indeed the Cubs did win, 8-3, with help from a couple of long balls from an unexpected source.
Zach Davies threw a 1-2-3 first and then the Cubs offense got to work. Kris Bryant walked with one out, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch and then Javier Báez put a baseball in the bleachers [VIDEO].
That ball went a long way!
#Dbacks 0 @ #Cubs 3 [B1-1o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) July 23, 2021
Javier Báez homers (22): fly ball to LCF (3-run)
Hit: 424ft, 105.8mph, 25°
Pitch: 88.9mph Slider (RHP Zac Gallen, 6)
So the Cubs had a 3-0 lead after just 14 pitches had been thrown by Zac Gallen, pretty efficient production.
In the third, Bryant walked again and Rizzo singled him to third. Baez hit a grounder to third which wound up in a tag play at the plate.
After that, though, Matt Duffy walked to load the bases. (You’ve missed those good Duffy at-bats, right?) Jason Heyward struck out, but while he was batting, Gallen threw a wild pitch, plating Rizzo [VIDEO].
The other runners moved up on that, and Nico Hoerner brought them both home [VIDEO].
In the bottom of the fourth, Robinson Chirinos extended the Cubs’ lead to 7-0 [VIDEO].
Davies had completed the top of the fifth inning having allowed a couple of walks and five singles with 97 pitches thrown. So I was a bit surprised to see him come to the mound to start the sixth, and immediately he gave up a single and a double to put runners on second and third. He recorded one out and then was removed for Adam Morgan, who gave up a two-run double to Daulton Varsho.
Seriously, why is Adam Morgan still on this team? In fact, Morgan’s ERA went down in this game, as the runs were charged to Davies.
Anyway, in the last of the sixth Chirinos came up again and went yard again [VIDEO].
For Chirinos it was the seventh two-homer game of his career, and his second and third homers as a Cub. He’s now had 16 Cubs at-bats and has four extra-base hits (the three homers, plus a double). That is three more XBH than the other four Cubs backup catchers this year had combined in 67 at-bats (a double by Austin Romine). It’s nice to have a guy like this so that Willson Contreras can have more days off, which he could use, as he’s leading MLB in catcher innings this year (80 starts and 674 innings).
Keegan Thompson relieved Morgan and finished the game, allowing only one hit, a homer to Varsho in the ninth. In so doing, Thompson picked up his first MLB save.
And if you’re wondering about Daulton Varsho, yes, he is the son of former Cubs outfielder Gary Varsho, and Gary named his son after his former Phillies teammate Darren Daulton. Here’s an explanation of why Gary Varsho did that.
Several annoying little rainshowers dotted the ballpark from time to time during the game, never hard enough to hold up play.
In the long run this game might not mean much, but it’s always nice to see the Cubs win, regardless of the circumstance. Given that it’s the Diamondbacks for two more games this weekend, it’s not impossible that the Cubs could sweep this series and wind up back at .500 after Sunday’s action. For whatever that’s worth.
The Cubs announced they’d be wearing the City Connect “Wrigleyville” uniforms for every remaining Friday home game. Maybe they should do it more often: They’re now 3-1 wearing them. (Kidding. Mostly.)
The teams will meet again Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. CT. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Merrill Kelly is the scheduled starter for Arizona. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network and the game will also be on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and D-backs market territories).