clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs 12, Athletics 2: Sweep!

The Cubs put together another varied offensive performance and swept a series for the first time in 2023.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s stipulate right now that the Oakland Athletics are a bad, bad baseball team. The roster resembles an expansion club, they don’t have any real good hitters nor pitchers and they have a chance to lose 110 or more games this year.

The Cubs? Well, one thing a good team should do against a bad team like the A’s is not only defeat them, but sweep them and dominate, and that’s exactly what the Cubs did in Oakland this week, completing a three-game sweep with an impressive 12-2 victory. Since the Cubs’ 1-3 start, they have won 10 of 13. It’s already the eighth time this year the A’s have allowed 10 or more runs in a game.

Fun fact from BCB’s JohnW53:

This is the fifth time in their first 17 games that the Cubs have scored 10 or more runs. That ties their team record, set in 2004 and matched in 2019.

The A’s debuted one of their top pitching prospects Wednesday, hard-throwing righthander Mason Miller, and he matched zeroes with Justin Steele for the first three innings.

The Cubs took the lead in the top of the fourth. Dansby Swanson led off with a walk and was wild-pitched to second base. Ian Happ then doubled him in [VIDEO].

There was a bit of extracurricular activity in the bottom of the fourth. Aledmys Diaz, leading off the inning for the A’s, was called out on a pitch timer violation.

A’s manager Mark Kotsay did not like that and wound up ejected, with some colorful language being heard on both teams’ TV broadcasts:

After that, though, the A’s tied the game up 1-1 on a walk and a double later in the inning.

The Cubs took the lead back in the top of the fifth. Eric Hosmer led off with a single and Nick Madrigal singled him to third. Tucker Barnhart plated Hosmer with a sacrifice fly [VIDEO].

Oakland tied the game again, 2-2, in the bottom of the fifth. Steele walked Tyler Wade, and then Jordan Diaz hit a ball to right that got by Patrick Wisdom for a double, scoring Wade. Wisdom would make up for this play very soon after.

In the sixth, Swanson and Happ would begin the inning with walks, and A’s lefty Sam Moll, who had not allowed a hit coming into this game (though four walks and three runs), was summoned to pitch to Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger singled in Swanson to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead [VIDEO].

That put runners on first and third, and both of them scored on this triple by Wisdom [VIDEO].

For Wisdom, that was a career milestone (from BCB’s JohnW53):

Patrick Wisdom’s sixth-inning triple was the first of his career, in his 299th game and 1,062nd plate appearance (258th game, 976th PA as a Cub). His 298 games before hitting a triple is tied for 68th longest in MLB history. Seven players went at least 500 games, topped by catcher Johnny Estrada, 605, in 2001-08. Justin Smoak is next, at 590, then Mike Lowell, at 523. Dave Hansen ranks fourth at 523, including 90 as a Cub in 1997. Victor Caratini, 10th at 448, is the only other player in the top 25 who was a Cub. He played 246 games for the Cubs.

Then this happened [VIDEO].

That wild pitch while Hosmer was batting made it 6-2 Cubs.

Steele completed six innings, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) and striking out five, his fourth straight excellent start. Here’s a visual representation of his outing [VIDEO]

More impressive Cubs pitching numbers:

In the top of the eighth, Hosmer went oppo for his first home run as a Cub [VIDEO].

Luis Torrens put the cherry on top of this one with this bases-clearing double in the ninth [VIDEO].

Okay, there was one more cherry on top, two runs scoring on this hit by Nick Madrigal [VIDEO].

Keegan Thompson threw two hitless innings, the seventh and eighth, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, and Julian Merryweather finished up the ninth uneventfully.

As I mentioned at the top of this recap, this is what good teams should do against bad teams. The Cubs are a good team, though yes, they still have holes they could patch. This has to have been one of the most successful six-game West Coast trips any Cubs team has made in a very, very long time. Even in 2016 the Cubs didn’t take five of six from California teams in their home parks on a single road trip.

The Cubs allowed just nine runs in the six games on the trip, and if not for one bad inning in Los Angeles last Saturday, might have swept both series. They outscored the Dodgers and A’s 36-9 and now have a +39 run differential on the season. Depending on the results of the Braves/Padres and Brewers/Mariners games in progress at the time of this recap, that could be the best run differential in the National League at the end of Wednesday’s action.

The Cubs return home Thursday to face the Dodgers — again, so soon? — this time in a four-game series, weather permitting (and it might not). Jameson Taillon will start the series opener against Michael Grove for the Dodgers. The scheduled game time Thursday is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.