I could get used to THIS kind of game, too.
The Cubs got good pitching again — and this time offense that included a couple of home runs, as they routed the Rangers 10-3 for their third win in a row.
One other thing I want to mention before going through all the highlights: The Texas Rangers are not a good defensive team. Besides the five errors they made in this one, they just don’t seem to be a cohesive defensive unit — and you can certainly see the difference in the way the Cubs play defense. It matters.
The Cubs put a run on the board in the first inning. Dansby Swanson singled and took second on an error. Then Martin Perez balked him to third, where Swanson scored on this ground out by Ian Happ [VIDEO].
Justin Steele gave that run back in the top of the third, but the Cubs took the lead again in the bottom of the inning. Nick Madrigal doubled to right and scored on this single by Swanson [VIDEO].
Patrick Wisdom made it 3-1 in the fourth [VIDEO].
That’s where the game stayed through the top of the sixth. Justin Steele had a bit of trouble and walked three, but overall had a very good outing, allowing one run in six innings. If the Cubs can continue to get starting pitching like this — something they didn’t have at this time last year — good things are going to happen. Here’s a cool video breakdown of Steele’s afternoon [VIDEO].
Two more Cubs runs scored in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Trey Mancini singled and went to second on a single by Wisdom — and both runners advanced on yet another Rangers error, where they both scored on this single by Eric Hosmer [VIDEO].
That made the score 5-1. The Rangers put a run across off Keegan Thompson in the seventh, but again, the Cubs got it back in the bottom of the inning. Nico Hoerner singled with one out and stole second. Two batters later, Mancini drove him in [VIDEO].
That made it 6-2 and the Cubs blew the game open in the eighth. With two out, Yan Gomes yanked this homer just inside the foul pole in left [VIDEO].
Here’s a graphical look at exactly where that ball landed [VIDEO].
Madrigal followed with a single and a single by Hoerner and a walk to Swanson loaded the bases. Then this happened [VIDEO].
What isn’t shown there is this: On the throw in from center field that bounced, Swanson took advantage and also scored, throwing his fist in the air after he did. I like that enthusiasm.
One last Rangers run scored off Michael Rucker in the ninth, but Rucker posted this strikeout to end it [VIDEO].
Complaint department: Closed! Good pitching, good defense, timely hitting as well as power hitting. The Cubs aren’t always going to get this sort of offense, but it sure was nice to see.
There were about 30 percent more pitches in this game (333) than in an average nine-inning game (250). There was a lot of scoring and two mid-inning pitching changes, and still the game finished in under three hours (2:55). Last year a game with that number of pitches and this sort of scoring probably would have run 3:30. The pitch timer is doing its job, and doing it well.
The Cubs will go for a series sweep Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Jameson Taillon will start for the Cubs and Jon Gray gets the call for the Rangers. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.