Cubs Record: 35-14
W: Travis Wood (3-0)
L: Alex Wood (1-4)
SV: Hector Rondon (9)
The Cubs came into series with the Dodgers Monday at Wrigley on a five-game win streak that was boosted by a sweep of the Phillies this past weekend. Ben Zobrist has a 15-game hitting streak. His batting average over that span: .431. On the mound for the Cubs was Jason Hammel, who has just been spectacular on the season and came into the game with 2.17 ERA that was good enough for 5th in the majors (pre-game). Now sure ERA is kinda not the cool kid stat these days, but still, it’s really impressive what Hammel’s done so far. The Dodgers had Alex Wood on the bump after he was pushed back from Friday because of tricep soreness. Let’s get to the game action.
Very little happened through two. The Cubs loaded the bases but couldn’t get anything from it with a Zobrist strikeout. But when Jason Hammel came back to the mound for the third, he had a little stumble. It appeared that he was dealing with cramping issues and Joe Maddon made the decision to pull him. Hammel walked off on his own power and wasn’t limping. If you remember, Hammel had a hamstring injury last year and was brutal afterwards. Now this doesn’t automatically mean that Hammel is going to suck, so calm down.
Travis Wood entered for Hammel and he was excellent in relief, really showing the importance of carrying a few guys who can go several innings.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Cubs finally got on the board. Zobrist started off the inning by hitting a ball down the right field line. Yasiel Puig went over to play it and the ball squeezed by him, allowing Zobrist to advance to third. Heyward stepped up and hit a little dribbler that brought Zo home. Adrian Gonzalez didn’t have a play at all, so Heyward was safe at first on the play as well. Anthony Rizzo stepped up and smashed a ball over the head of Puig to drive in Heyward from first.
After that it was all bullpen. In fact, the only baserunners for the Dodgers was in the first inning. The bullpen and Hammel sat down 25 consecutive batters and only gave up one hit. Dodger’s batters struck out 11 times in total and only walked once. A truly great win all around. MARK IT SIX.
After Hammel left, Wood came in and retired 12 straight, striking out four, over 43 pitches. The best thing about this game was that the Cubs only used three pitchers after Hammel, none of whom allowed a hit. Oh, and the one hit the Dodgers had on the afternoon was a misplay in the outfield by Heyward and Zobrist. Should have been caught and should have been another no-no. Oh well.
The top of the Cubs lineup pushed across the only runs of the game and did it effectively. It was great to see Rizzo scorch the ball as hard as he did. Pretty amazing this team is doing so well and Rizzo has been so bad lately. Zobrist’s base hit and walk extended his on-base streak to 34 starts and hit hitting streak to 15. Zobrist is actually the reason this team has been doing so well.
In the last 18 innings of Cubs/Dodgers baseball, the Dodgers have a total of 23 strikeouts and one hit. This is also the second straight 2-0 win for the Cubs against said Dodgers.
For the Cubs? Nothing. This was about as perfect a game as you can have.
For the Dodgers? They get to face Jake Arrieta tomorrow. That’s all that you need to say.
I love young players and I know the development process isn’t going to be immediate but Corey Seager had a rough game today. He went 0-4 with three strikeouts.
It’s Jake Arrieta Day tomorrow as the Cubs face the Dodgers at Wrigley. First pitch is 7:05 CT. The Dodgers are sending Scott Kazmir, who hasn’t been so hot as of late, to the bump.