There is nothing that says more about what the Chicago Cubs should do going forward than what happened in their 10-4 win over the Red Sox Saturday.
Cody Bellinger, who has now homered five times in his last six games, hit a grand slam to cap a six-run inning.
Marcus Stroman threw six solid innings, allowing just one run.
These are players a franchise should build around, not think about trading at the deadline, though that sort of thing is still not decided. Bellinger, in particular, could be a franchise piece — he’s a year younger than Ian Happ, who the Cubs just signed to a three-year extension.
Sign these guys, Jed. Please.
Bellinger, Stroman and his teammates thoroughly entertained most (well, probably not the Red Sox fans) of a sellout crowd at Wrigley Field Saturday, leading the Cubs to a 10-4 win that evened up the weekend series.
The game went scoreless to the bottom of the third, then the Cubs got to work. They loaded the bases without a hit, on two walks and a hit batter.
Enrique Hernandez couldn’t handle Nico Hoerner’s grounder and it went for an RBI single. The bases were still loaded when this weird play transpired [VIDEO].
Rafael Devers stepped on third, forcing Patrick Wisdom. But then he threw wildly to the plate, allowing Miguel Amaya to score, making it 2-0.
Happ walked to re-load the bases and that’s when Bellinger went deep [VIDEO].
The slam, off a lefty, was Bellinger’s sixth off a LHP this year. Also:
Bellinger continues to dominate in lefty-lefty matchups: 6 of his 12 home runs this year are off LHP, including his grand slam off Paxton today.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 15, 2023
Bellinger entered today with a .338/.416/.647 slash line and 1.063 OPS, 8 walks and 10 Ks in 77 PAs this season vs. lefties. https://t.co/KW15aDLSnL
It’s now 6-0 and that was more than enough runs to win this game, but the Cubs added a few more without another long ball.
Stroman allowed a leadoff double in the fourth to Justin Turner, who scored on two ground outs to make it 6-1.
Then the Cubs teed off on former Cubs minor leaguer Tayler Scott in the bottom of the fourth. Amaya led off with a double and Wisdom deposited a baseball in the bleachers [VIDEO].
Wisdom’s 15th was his first since May 28, when he hit two against the Reds, and tied him with Christopher Morel for the team lead. Personally, I’d like to see the end of the third base platoon, because honestly Miles Mastrobuoni can’t hit. Just put Wisdom out there for a couple weeks and see what happens. The guy is a streaky hitter — maybe he can go on a home run streak.
Stroman completed the fifth and sixth without incident, and put together a solid outing with only three hits, a walk and one run allowed.
The Red Sox plated a pair in the seventh on a two-run homer by Triston Casas off Julian Merryweather, but the Cubs got those right back in the bottom of the inning, and it could have been more except for some sketchy baserunning.
Happ and Bellinger led off with singles. Then this happened [VIDEO].
So, Bellinger isn’t perfect. Happ tagged and went to third, but Bellinger... he probably should have stayed at first. Instead, a pickle ensued and Happ was tagged out at third. The Cubs called for a review, but it was ruled “call confirmed.”
So that’s a 9-6-3-4-3-5 double play and left Bellinger on first with two out.
The Cubs still made a two-run inning out of it. Trey Mancini singled with Bellinger advancing to second. Morel drove in Bellinger with this single [VIDEO].
Mancini stopped at second, where he scored on this single by Amaya [VIDEO].
More playing time for Amaya, please. The man can hit.
Michael Fulmer got himself in trouble with walks in the eighth, and that led to Boston’s final run of the game, with the score now 10-4.
Daniel Palencia entered to throw the ninth. He allowed a two-out double, but then induced this little dribbler in front of the plate to end the game [VIDEO].
Beyond Bellinger’s hitting, he makes things look so easy in center field. He made a couple of catches in this game that looked routine — but can you imagine what, say, Rafael Ortega might have done with those balls? Bellinger’s probably going to win another Gold Glove this year.
Gotta keep guys like that around. Sign him, Jed.
So the Cubs lose a game by five runs and win one by six in splitting the first two games of this series. They’ve still got a chance to meatloaf it, and that would be a fine accomplishment, considering the Red Sox have been the hottest team in baseball the last couple of weeks. Justin Steele will start for the Cubs Sunday afternoon, and Kutter Crawford will go for Boston. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.