The Cincinnati Reds (63-89) seem to always be the cure for what ails the Chicago Cubs (97-55), at least in 2016. After tonight’s win, the Cubs are 13-3 this season against the Reds, which includes three sweeps. Come back soon now, ya hear?
The Cubs won 9-2 (Box Score) tonight behind big nights from Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero. Fowler reached base and scored on a Zobrist single in the first inning, homered in the fourth and then scored again on a Kris Bryant home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Miguel Montero continues his hot play down the stretch – he’s slashing .292/.346/.458 with a 116 wRC+ over his last seven games – driving in Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the third inning on a single, and then drove in Zobrist again, along with Jason Heyward, on a single in the bottom of the sixth inning.
John Lackey had a bit of a rough start, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in the top of the second inning. He got help getting out of the inning when Chris Coghlan made a spectacular throw from left field to home to nab Tucker Barnhart trying to score. That throw ended the inning and limited the damage by the Reds.
Through the next five innings, Lackey gave up only one hit and really controlled his pitches well. His fastball command set up his cutter, set up his curve ball, set up his change up. It was nearly orchestral to watch, something I hope to see in the playoffs coming to a ballpark near you soon.
Hector Rondon, Mike Montgomery and Joe Smith all combined to close out the eighth and ninth innings. All three performed well, with Smith looking utterly dominant, albeit for only one batter, when he threw a couple nasty sliders and a sinker to strike out a baffled Steve Selsky for the final out of the game.
Stats that matter
- Lackey had his normal bumpy inning but bounced back very well – 7.0IP, 2R, 5H, 1BB, 4Ks, 87 pitches
- Miguel Montero showing he still has it – 3-for-5, 1R, 3RBI
- Fowler is getting hot at the right time – 2-for-4, 3R, 1RBI, HR
- Zobrist had a big night with three hits – 3-for-4, 2R, 1RBI, 1BB
- KB popped his 38th home run of the year – 1-for-5, 1R, 2RBI, HR
That was a great series to have, particularly during the middle of a ten-game home-stand, with a day off on Thursday and St. Louis coming to town for a three-game series over the weekend. The Cardinals are battling with the Mets and the Giants for the two wild card spots, seemingly trying to see who can lose less since none of them seem to be able to win lately. You can believe that nothing would make Cubs fans happier than to sweep the Cards and usher them right out of the playoffs.
The Cubs and Cardinals square off for the last time during the regular season starting on Friday at 1:20 PM CT. Jake Arrieta (17-7, 2.96 ERA) will be pitching for the Cubs as they start their last home series of the year at Wrigley Field.