Between Addison Russell and Kris Bryant they have 10 home runs in 6 games. These two kids, aged 22 and 24, are just about to turn into the stuff people talk about for a long while. They are that good and they are captivating Chicago; the entire Nation.
Tonight they each had a home run. Kris Bryant hit his in the top of the third inning. Addison Russell smashed his home run in the top of the fifth inning, driving in Ben Zobrist who had just hit an RBI double. That made the score 4-0. The Chicago Cubs (80-45) went on to win 5-3 (Box Score).
Jake Arrieta was exceptional as well. He allowed only two hits over his eight innings of work. Jake walked three batters in the game, which might seem high but this season Jake has issued a higher rate of walks – 3.45 BB per nine innings – then he has since he was acquired by the Cubs in 2013. That may be the result of batters figuring they have a better chance of getting on base if they don’t swing at his pitches than if they do.
Of note in this one was the performance of the bullpen. Felix Pena, who recently joined the team from Triple-A Iowa, was shaky and only lasted one-third of the ninth inning. Pena issued a walk and gave up two singles allowing the Padres to break through with their first run of the game. Joe had seen enough and decided it was time to bring on Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman came on and struggled. After surrendering a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2, he issued two walks and a wild pitch, which allowed one more runner to score for the Padres. With the winning run at the plate, Chapman finally got things under control and struck out Christian Bethancourt on three pitches. What should have been easy turned a little hairy at the end. The Cubs escaped with the “W”.
Stats that mattered
- Boy, was Jake solid (again) – 8.0 IP, 0R, 2H, 3BB, 6Ks
- The bullpen was shaky but, in the end, got it done – 1.0IP, 3R, 2H, 1BB, 1 very important K
- Addison Russell, what an honor it is to watch him develop – 2-for-5, 1R, 2RBI, 2B, HR
- Kris Bryant is inching ahead of Anthony Rizzo in the MVP race – 1-for-2, 2R, 2RBI, 2BB, HR
The Cubs have hit the 80 win mark and they’re 35 games over .500 for the first time since September 2008. I don’t need to remind anyone about how good this team is, but man, is this team good. They are set up well for a deep run into the playoffs and they are coasting to the NL Central title with a 13 1/2 game lead over the second place Cardinals.
As for the emergence of Addison Russell at the plate, boy is this kid impressive. The 22 year-old Chicago Cubs’ professional baseball player who goes about his business the way a true winner usually does, with class, effort, style and pizzazz. The ‘Wonder-Kid’ has been doing it all – on a team full of guys that have a knack for and ‘doing it all’ – he’s turning into a stand-out. That’s impressive.
The Cubs close out the three game set with the Padres on Wednesday at 2:40 PM CT before heading north to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kyle Hendricks (11-7, 2.16 ERA) will take the ball for the Cubs as they seek their 3rd straight win and a 18th overall win in the month of August.