The Cubs looked to rebound after a bad loss on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After an opening three innings best described as unsightly, the MVP made sure Chicago got back to even.
The start of Friday’s game was a complete and total mess as the teams combined to strand 14 men on base the first 3 1/2 innings. There were also five combined errors and five walks over that stretch.
The Cubs finally got to starter Trevor Williams in the bottom of the 4th inning. Ben Zobrist singled with two outs and was driven home when Kris Bryant tripled into the leftfield corner (a rare feat at Wrigley).
Anthony Rizzo expanded that lead in the next at-bat when he smoked a line-drive homer to right, his 20th, to put Chicago ahead 3-0.
Eddie Butler kept the Pirates off the board, but he did not look great doing it. Butler only went 4 innings and allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, and a hit-by-pitch. CJ Edwards relieved him and went 1.2 scoreless innings.
Bryant struck again in the bottom of the 6th, this time on a long blast to left that made it on to the street. The Cubs had a 4-0 lead after six.
Pedro Strop ran into a bit of trouble in the 7th inning when Andrew McCutchen singled (his third hit) and advanced to second on a passed ball by Willson Contreras. Josh Bell followed by singling to center and McCutchen went for home and scored when Bryant’s relay sailed wide.
Contreras walked and scored when Kris Bryant hit his second long homer of the game to center. KB needed a double for the cycle, but I think he’ll take a round-tripper instead.
Wade Davis came on in a non-save situation and closed out the 6-1 victory.
Stats That Matter
- Kris Bryant isn’t going to the All-Star Game, but he had an All-Star worthy effort on Friday. A triple and two homers accounted for four of the Cubs’ six runs.
- Ben Zobrist had a solid game out of the leadoff spot with two singles. It seems likely it’s going to be a revolving door at the top of the order for the rest of 2017.
- Kyle Schwarber’s first two times to the plate looked very similar to his early season issues: a weak grounder and a pop fly. The last two times looked better: a double and a walk. Baby steps, but it was something positive.
President Lyndon Johnson often talked of making chicken salad out of chicken…let’s say stuff. On Friday, the Cubs made chicken salad out of a game that started off as pure chicken stuff.
The second game of the series is a rematch of a late June battle between Jake Arrieta and Ivan Nova. The game starts at 6:15 CT and will be televised exclusively on FOX.