Jon Lester (7-3) really seems like he’s gotten better and better every single game he’s played since joining the Cubs in 2015. This season his ERA is a sparkling 2.06. That’s good enough for fifth in the majors. Let’s harken back to the start of last season, when he had a 6.23 ERA in the first month. What a difference a year makes.
Tonight Jon was almost flawless. He allowed only one runner – that didn’t score – to get into scoring position in his eight innings pitched, giving up a mere four hits while striking out nine batters. An excellent performance for Lester.
The Cubs (40-16) offense was clicking on all cylinders, with the top five batters in the lineup hitting a combined 12-for-20 with four runs and five RBIs. Fowler, Heyward, Bryant, Rizzo and Soler all had slammin’ nights at the plate.
The top-end production tonight was enough to get the Cubs the win, 6-4 (Box Score), but that was only after an unexpected four run rally off Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon, who combined to give up five hits and four runs before Rondon got the last out with the tying run at the plate.
As I mentioned, Jorge Soler got it done with the bat tonight with some quality at-bats, but he also made a great play with the glove. He singled in the top of the first inning, made an incredible catch in the bottom of the second (video below), and singled again with one out in the top of the third inning.
Jorge pulled up short when he was running to first base after his third inning single and left the game with what is being described as a left hamstring injury. No additional details were available but we’ll update you with any new information.
Stats that mattered
- Dexter Fowler on fire – 3-for-4, 2R
- Jason Heyward got his 100th HR of his career, so congrats goes out to J-Hey – 1-for-4, 1R, 2RBIs off his HR
- Kris Bryant hammered two doubles, one that bounded between a fan’s outstretched arms and resulted in a ground rule double, and the other that hit the very top of the wall. As close as it gets to hitting two home runs without hitting one home run – 3-for-5, 2Rs, 1RBI, including 2-2Bs
- Anthony Rizzo continues to soar out of his mini-slump – 3-for-5, 2RBIs
- Jorge Soler was playing great before he left the game with hamstring soreness – 2-for-2, one great catch
- Bravo, Jon Lester – 8IP, 0R, 4H, 9Ks, oh, including a double and a run scored
This was a really strange game, I’ll admit that much. From Kris Bryant’s first inning home run/triple/ground rule double, to Jason Heyward’s 100th home run, to a safety squeeze by Matt Szczur in the top of the seventh inning that scored Kris Byrant, to Charles Barkley hitting balls in batting practice…it was just weird. But, the Cubs won this weird game and that, my friends, makes it wonderful too.
The Cubs play the Phillies in game two of the series on Tuesday night at 6:05 PM CDT. Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 2.84 ERA) will toss the biscuit for the Cubs.