Well that was a ton of fun.
The Cubs (41-17) just pummeled those boys. Need proof? Look no further than 13 hits to the Phillies (29-31) three, eights runs to their one, and contributions from every guy in the lineup, somehow, someway, anyway, every way.
Super prospect Albert Almora got his first big league start in left field today, and of course the ball found him in the first inning. The 22-year-old outfielder’s double play ended the bottom of the first inning when he threw out Odubel Herrera by a sizable distance, keeping the Phillies off the board.
The Cubs didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Javier Baez punched a 1-2 pitch through the six hole, scoring Ben Zobrist.
Side note: How ridiculous is it that Javier is our second option as shortstop? It’s ABSOLUTELY ridiculous – but moving on.
Things got out of hand for the Phillies in the fifth, when Kris Bryant hit a 2-2 thigh high fastball about 430 feet, on a line, into the left field bleachers. He’s got 43 runs batted in. Ben Zobrist, who was in a brief 0-17 skid, also homered in the inning, extending the lead to four.
Another big blow came on Baez’s deep double in the eighth, which scored two runs.
Lackey was superb, like he has been since May 1, sporting a 2.09 ERA over six starts in that span.
He’s got a feel for every single pitch right now – throwing fastballs to all parts of the strike zone, and not relying on his off-speed stuff as much as he has in the past. Sure, the slider is there when needed, but the cutter and fastball command has been just tremendous. Pitching and defense kids, it works!
Stats that mattered:
- John Lackey retired the last 16 batters he faced, I think that’s good – 7IP, 3H, 8Ks
- Javier Baez; 4-for-4, 3RBIs, 2B – he’s also got the 3rd lowest strike out rate on the team, love it.
- Albert Almora got his first big league hit and RBI in the 8th inning. Kid is going to be a legit ballplayer.
- BONUS STAT – Cubs starting pitching, last 13 games – 1.34 ERA, 87.0 IP, 51 Hits, 97 K, .171 Opp BA, 0.805 WHIP – Thanks to Christoper Kamka for that stat gem.
Pitching and defense win games. Cubs’ starting pitchers give them a chance every single game. When top notch pitching gives their hitters opportunities to not only hold leads, but extend leads, it means a lot – a lot of winning. Couple that with this team’s talent and the possibilities are limitless, as we’re seeing.
The Cubs are off tomorrow, and will head to Atlanta to take on the lowly Braves (16-42) for a three-game set. Jason Hammel will take on Bud Norris at 6:35 PM CST on CSN Chicago.