Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/23/19): Cubs 7, Dodgers 2 – Bats Bust out Behind Superb José Quintana

After a recent run of success built upon beating up on non-contenders like the Marlins and Diamondbacks, the Cubs got their first major test since being swept by the Braves. They answered the bell by beating the Dodgers 7-2 at Wrigley Field tonight. The Cubs struck early and José Quintana overcame some baffling calls to hold the potent Dodgers lineup in check.

LA created some scares against Quintana and the Cubs bullpen in the 7th and 8th innings, but failed to make a meaningful go at a comeback. (Box score)

Why the Cubs won

Everything was clicking for the home team tonight. The offense put up six runs in the first two innings and made Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda work very hard to get through just four innings. It was one of those games where a pitcher who got shelled probably walked away feeling like it could’ve been worse.

Cubs pitchers held a Dodgers offense that came in leading the National League in runs scored to only two tonight despite a couple of threats in the later innings of the game.

Key moment

The Dodgers threatened to sneak back into the game by putting two men on base with two outs for pinch hitter Max Muncy. However, Quintana struck out Muncy on a 3-2 sinker, stopping the Dodgers’ rally in its tracks. Javy Báez got that run right back with a home run in the bottom of the 7th.

Speaking of Báez, I’d be negligent not to highlight him once again making us go “wow” when he juked his way around Dodgers first baseman David Freese to reach first base in the 2nd inning. I’m not really a basketball guy, but I think they call that breaking someone’s ankles.

Was he out of the baseline? Eh, maybe. Was it classic Javy fun? No doubt about it. He came around to score moments later on Anthony Rizzo‘s 3rd home run of the season.

Stats that matter

  • Following up what might’ve been the best two-start stretch of his career, Quintana shined again. He surrendered only two runs in seven strong innings, striking out seven and walking only two, bringing his totals over the last three games to 25 strikeouts and only three walks. That’ll play.
  • Rizzo has looked really good of late, putting up a 1.113 OPS over the last seven days entering the game. Still, he hadn’t hit a home run since the April 12 win against the Angels. That changed twith his 2nd inning opposite field shot.
  • Báez also went to the opposite field with his seventh home run of the year.
  • Despite a 2nd inning single, Kyle Schwarber had a fairly rough game. He went 1-for-4 with only a soft, shift-beating single and struck out twice, including one with the bases loaded and only one out in the 1st inning. Schwarber’s 2019 is off to a shaky start and after tonight, his OPS dropped to .612.

Bottom line

Teams can only play the opponents on their schedule, so there is no shame in the Cubs’ recent success coming at the expense of some not-so-great teams. Still, games against bona fide contenders always serve as useful measuring sticks as to where a team is in a given moment. In that regard, the Cubs have to walk away feeling good about how they stacked up in game one of this series.

On deck

After tonight’s impressive effort, the Cubs will look to guarantee a series win against these Dodgers tomorrow night. Cole Hamels takes the mound against Dodgers righty Walker Buehler, who is off to a rocky start this year. He is one of the game’s more talented young starters, though, and should provide a good test for the Cubs offense. You can catch the game on WGN or join Pat and Ron on the radio at 670 The Score.

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