Cubs Record: 60-40 (1st Place NL Central)
W: Jason Hammel (10-5, 3.23)
L: Anthony Ranaudo (1-1, 8.71)
MVP: Javy Baez: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R
The Cubs tried to rebound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field from a rough two games on the south side against the White Sox. Jason Hammel faced off against righty Anthony Ranaudo, who was making his first start for the pale hosers.
Things started out in a very frustrating manner for the Cubs and their fans. Little more than a journeyman, Ranaudo dominated the Cubs lineup over the first 5 innings of the game. Hammel matched him zero for zero through the first 4 innings, until Ranaudo broke up the pitchers duel himself by hitting a solo homer to make it 1-0.
I’m not alone in saying my frustration level peaked at this point. I’m not one of those people who hate the White Sox or consider this a huge rivalry. However, getting dominated by a mediocre team can really get on your nerves. Finally, Kris Bryant returned some sanity to the world when hit a solo blast to tie the game at 1 in the 6th.
The real turning point came in the 7th inning. Javy Baez came up after a two-out walk to Jason Heyward and pounded a hanger into the left field seats to make it 3-1 Cubs. In the 8th inning the Cubs broke the game wide open. Addison Russell’s grand slam off of former Cub Jacob Turner made it 8-1. Aroldis Chapman went one, two, three in his first Cubs appearance to end it.
Jason Hammel looked good again in his start on Wednesday putting up a line of 7 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 7 K, 2 BB. He has now won three straight games since his cramping issues against the Braves. This development is welcome news to everyone who roots for the Chicago Cubs. Combined with the great pitching of Kyle Hendricks, the team has five steady starters to rely on down the stretch.
Javy Baez is just an exciting human to watch play baseball. Did he pimp his turning point homer? You better believe he did and I, for one, loved every second of it. He is pure energy on the diamond.
Addison Russell continued to show his clutch ability in the 8th inning tonight. He destroyed the first pitch he saw deep into the night for an exclamation-point grand slam. This is only the beginning for this young man. The sky is the limit for the Cubs shortstop.
The Cubs offense during their 14-inning scoreless streak was really bad. During that span, the Cubs produced a total of five singles. Five base hits in 14 innings. Had the bats not woken up when they did I might have gone on an epic rant.
Aroldis Chapman made his debut on Wednesday night in a non-save situation. Emotions are high with the debate around Chapman and his personal issues and I already chimed in on it myself Tuesday. I want to make a plea to everyone who reads this: Keep it civil. I’ve already seen some nasty attacks online on all sides. I hope that everyone takes some deep breaths and uses a reasonable approach.
The Cubs look to salvage a tie in the “Crosstown Classic” on Thursday night. John Lackey (7-7, 3.79 ERA) has struggled the last month or so for the Cubs and he does battle against Edward Scissorhands…I mean Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18 ERA). The Cubs lineup will try to carve up the Sox ace. It would be nice to slice into Sale’s stellar record. Okay, I’ll cut it out now. Oh by the by, Cubs are the first team in baseball to 60 wins.