Trevor Cahill had one goal, pitch five solid innings and allow the bullpen some time to rest up for the second game. Goal accomplished.
The Cubs win the first game of the double dip by the score of 4-0 (Box Score).
Cahill was fantastic today. He allowed only two hits and both of those hits turned into runners getting thrown out on the bases. First, Cahill picked off Jonathan Villar, who opened the game with a single, leaning at first base. Next, Miguel Montero threw out Kirk Nieuwenhuis trying to steal second base in the second inning.
To add insult to injury, Cahill then executed a perfect bunt single in the bottom of the third inning to drive in Chris Coghlan from third base for the Cubs third run of the game.
The Cubs offense got rolling early in the first inning. Kris Bryant reached on a fielder’s choice, after Dexter Fowler led off the inning with a single. Anthony Rizzo singled to move Bryant from first to third base. After Ben Zobrist walked, Addison Russell drove in Bryant with a sacrifice fly ball.
In the bottom of the third inning, Fowler walked and scored after a Matt Garza wild pitch. Chris Coghlan doubled to lead off the fourth inning and scored on the perfectly executed bunt by Cahill. The Cubs added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when, after Ben Zobrist walked to lead off the inning, Chris Coghlan drove him in with a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0, Cubs.
The Bullpen took care of business the rest of the way and, with the exception of Joe Smith, they looked very good.
Mike Montgomery, who’s had mixed results early in his Cubs career, pitched magnificently in just over two innings of shut-out relief. After surrendering a lead-off single in the top of the eighth inning, Montgomery handed the game to Hector Rondon.
Hector, who struggled mightily in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, came on and got the first out, gave up a walk and then got out of the inning after forcing two straight pop-ups.
Joe Smith came on to close things out in the ninth inning. He walked two batters and, while he did manage to get one out in between, I’m praying this is the end of the Joe Smith era as a Cubs player. He forced Joe Maddon to bring in Aroldis Chapman in a non-save situation and, quite frankly, he’s been awful every time he’s taken the ball for the Cubs.
Chapman did what Chapman does. He got the final two outs and shut the door on the Brewers.
Stats that mattered
- Cahill was stellar and I expect to see him making another spot start this season – 5.0IP, 0R, 2H, 2BB, 3Ks
- Montgomery finally showed his stuff – 2.0IP, 1H, 1BB, 3Ks
- There’s no room for Joe Smith on the best team in baseball – 0.1IP, 2BB
- The Cubs only had six hits but the managed to score four runs. Excellent situational hitting by the Cubs today.
The Cubs got the win today and the offense was in big-time ‘chip-away’ mode. They got on base, moved runners over, and drove them in. It wasn’t super sexy but it was significant. Come playoff time that’s how games get won.
Hat’s off for a solid pitching performance from Trevor Cahill, Mike Montgomery, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman. Joe Smith was, once again, terrible and he put the Cubs in a bad position today by forcing Joe Maddon to go to Chapman when a) there was really no need and b) there’s another game to be played later today in which Chapman may have been needed. Can you tell I’m not happy with Joe Smith. He simply isn’t good enough to be on this team.
Saddle up, take a nap, run your errands and grab a bite to eat because the Cubs will be right back at in just a few hours. The second half of the double-header starts at 7:05 PM CDT. Jason Hammel (12-5, 2.90 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cubs.