Here is one way to show how much the Chicago Cubs have improved over the last year or so.
In June 2022, the Cubs visited Yankee Stadium and got swept. They were outscored 28-5 and were embarrassed to the point where Frank Schwindel threw a 35 mile per hour pitch hit for a home run, the slowest pitch hit out of the yard in the Statcast era. Among the Cubs who played in that series: Daniel Norris, Sean Newcomb, Andrelton Simmons and Matt Swarmer. The latter tied a major league record by serving up six home runs to the Yankees.
This year? Much, much, MUCH better. A sterling pitching performance by Jameson Taillon led to one Cubs victory and they won the series finale, taking the set two games to one, coming from three runs down in the seventh inning to win 7-4, a truly satisfying victory. They outscored the Yankees 13-10, not a huge margin, but good enough.
From BCB’s JohnW53:
The Cubs’ runs today are the most they ever have scored at Yankee Stadium. They had scored six twice before.
They lost, 12-6, in Game 1 of the 1938 World Series.
They lost, 9-6, in their first regular-season game there, on June 17, 2005.
It started on a weird note. Kyle Hendricks was called for a pitch timer violation before the game even began. I mean... I don’t get that. How can you have a timer violation when there’s no batter in the box? Seems as if there should be a bit of umpire discretion about that, although on the broadcast it was noted there’s a time limit.
Then David Ross got into it with plate umpire Alex MacKay and was tossed five pitches into the game. And you can hear all of it here!
It was Ross’ fourth ejection of the year. It didn’t take long for things to go south on Hendricks, who allowed a single to Gleyber Torres and an RBI double to his good friend Anthony Rizzo for a 1-0 Yankees lead.
The game stayed 1-0 through the fourth, with Domingo Germán not allowing any Cubs hits. In the top of the fifth, Seiya Suzuki led off with a home run [VIDEO].
The homer tied the game. It was Suzuki’s first home run since May 23, a span of 149 plate appearances.
Hendricks came oh-so-close to yet another quality start and fine outing, but with two out in the sixth, Anthony Volpe homered with a runner on base to make it 3-1, and Kyle Higashioka followed with another one, back-to-back. Hendricks’ line of 5⅔ innings with four runs allowed doesn’t look great, but I thought he threw really well before the homers. He just ran out of gas. Here’s a breakdown of Hendricks’ outing [VIDEO].
So the Cubs went into the seventh inning down by three. Ian Happ walked and one out later Cody Bellinger singled.
Christopher Morel hit what might have been an inning-ending double play ball. Then this happened [VIDEO].
Gleyber Torres’ error loaded the bases with one out. This ground out by Jared Young made it 4-2 [VIDEO].
Yan Gomes was sent up to bat for Patrick Wisdom and delivered this two-run single to tie the game 4-4 [VIDEO].
Julian Merryweather, who had finished the sixth, threw a scoreless seventh, but again got himself into trouble with a pair of walks. Good that he got out of the inning, and hopefully the walks won’t eventually come back to bite him in the future.
The Cubs put together a two-run sixth to take the lead. Mike Tauchman singled and Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Now, how many times have you seen the Cubs do this and not score?
Not this time! The Yankees changed pitchers and Suzuki lofted a fly ball to right, scoring Tauchman [VIDEO].
Hoerner took third on that play, which turned out to be important because he then scored on this very wild pitch [VIDEO].
After that half-inning, it rained hard enough for the grounds crew to pull the tarp at Yankee Stadium, and a 23-minute rain delay ensued. Michael Fulmer threw the eighth, allowing a two-out single (and getting jobbed on a couple of strike calls), but ended the inning scoreless on a line drive to Nico.
In the ninth, Young led off with a ground ball that went about 50 feet, and he was called out at first base. The call was quickly overturned [VIDEO].
That was a nice birthday gift for Young, who turned 28 today. Young followed by stealing second base, where he scored on this double by Tucker Barnhart [VIDEO].
So the Cubs, trailing 4-1 entering the seventh, led by three going to the bottom of the ninth. It took Adbert Alzolay just seven pitches to end the game. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
More from BCB’s JohnW53:
The Cubs have scored seven runs on six hits. They have played 38 games with seven runs on six or fewer hits. Their record in those games: 36-2. Their last such win was 7-6 at St. Louis on July 20, 2021. They won two other such games that year, and suffered their second loss, 8-7 at Atlanta. The first loss was 8-7 in 11 innings at Pittsburgh in 1936. They won 20 in a row between the losses.
And the Cubs, as you know, entered this weekend with zero lifetime wins in the Bronx, at Yankee Stadium old and now. Now they have two. That’s a great series win.
The Cubs thus went 4-3 on the road trip. That’s good — 5-2 would have been better, and the Cubs nearly won two of the three games they lost. I think, even standing five games below .500 and seven games behind the first-place Reds (who lost Sunday), the Cubs still have a reasonable shot at the division title. They will certainly have a happy flight back to Chicago after this win.
Stick around BCB for lots more during the All-Star break. There will be a Draft thread coming up just 30 minuted from the time this recap posts, at 5 p.m. CT. We’ll cover the Draft, the Home Run Derby tomorrow and the All-Star Game Tuesday, as well as get ready for the Cubs to open the season’s second half Friday evening at Wrigley Field against the Boston Red Sox. Neither team has named a starter for Friday — honestly, I think the Cubs should just go with Hendricks on regular rest and give the other guys more time off. Game time Friday is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.