The Cubs sent Jon Lester to the mound to face Jacob deGrom looking to complete their improbable road sweep of the Mets Wednesday evening. Joe Maddon employed what some considered a less than optimal lineup against New York’s ace, prompting a fair bit of pre-game consternation from fans and pundits on social media.
Neither Kyle Schwarber nor Ian Happ were in the lineup, and Anthony Rizzo missed his fourth game in a row with a sore back. In their places, Tony Kemp got the start in left field and Victor Caratini manned first base. And, because of course he would, Caratini delivered two homers to propel the Cubs to a 4-1 victory. Baseball, man.
Lester turned in a respectable performance, giving up just one run on five hits as he gutted out six innings. It looked like the ship could be headed for the rocks early on, as J.D. Davis launched a 1st inning home run to put the Mets on top. Lester gave up a walk and a hit to the next two batters, but was able escape without further damage. He worked around traffic in the 2nd and 3rd innings as well.
It’s unclear right now just how much credit John Lackey deserves in all of this.
Back to Caratini. Wow, way to silence the haters. His 2nd inning home run off of last season’s Cy Young winner tied things up at 1-1. He wasn’t finished, though. Still tied 1-1 in the 7th, he launched a deGrom slider into the seats for a three run bomb that put the Cubs up 4-1. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
It was more or less a clean game all around for the Cubs. There were a couple of defensive miscues, but luckily none came back to bite them. Good starting pitching, check. Timely hitting, check. Solid bullpen work, check.
How can it be anything other than Cartatini’s 7th inning bomb? Awesome moment for him. Key moment participation trophy goes to to the execution of a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to quell the Met’s rally in the bottom of the 6th. That preserved a 1-1 tie.
That Victor Caratini pimp job thoooooooo pic.twitter.com/34ahEYDbct
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) August 30, 2019
Stats That Matter
- Caratini enjoyed his second multi-homer game of season after launching two against the Pirates in early July. He finished tonight’s game 3-for-4.
- This was the Cubs’ first three-game road sweep since they took three straight from the Marlins April 15-17. They also swept a two-game set against the Mariners in late April.
A road sweep against a contending team feels like a major hurdle cleared, especially coming off of the horrendous series last weekend against the Nationals. Doing it against the Mets’ three best starting pitchers made it all the sweeter. The Cardinals were off tonight, so the Cubs find themselves 1.5 behind St. Louis as they head into the weekend.
The Cubs head home to take on the Brewers in a three-game series. José Quintana will oppose Chase Anderson Friday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:20pm CT. WGN and MLB Network (out-of-market) provide TV coverage and 670 The Score has the radio call.