CI Recap (4/11/18) – Cubs 13, Pirates 5: Baez Leads the Way as Cubs Clobber Pirates

Jon Lester pitched fairly well, the bullpen shut the Pirates down, and the offense was able to bunch hits together and score a substantial number of runs. Lester lasted five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walk while striking out three. The low point of his outing was giving up a three-run bomb to Sean Rodriguez, who I do not like one bit.

Javy Baez and the rest of the Cubs clobbered the Pirates’ pitching staff into oblivion, scoring four runs off of Stephen Brault, four more off of Tyler Glasnow, four off of Josh Smoker, and one off of Dovydas Neverauskas. By the end of the 6th inning, everybody in attendance could tell the Cubs would not be denied their first win at Wrigley this season. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Won

Baez was a force tonight, smashing a three-run homer to right-center in the 2nd inning, then helping start a huge inning by reaching base on a strikeout to lead off the 6th. Baez scored the tiebreaking run on a ball hit right to Josh Harrison, who was playing in and tried to throw Baez out at home. Javy also hit a long solo shot  into the left field bleachers in the 8th inning.

Key Moment

It’s odd to consider an offensive strikeout a key moment, but as the recap writer I have the authority to do just that. So there! Anyway, Javy struck out to lead off the 6th inning, but was able to reach first as the ball bounced away from Francisco Cervelli. He advanced to second on a Jason Heyward groundout, then stole third on the first pitch thrown to Tommy La Stella. Javy scored on a fielder’s choice, which put the Cubs in the lead for good.

Stats that Matter

  • Javy struck out once and walked once Wednesday night. He has looked great at the plate so far this year and his strikeout rate is 23.7 percent, which is down from his career 29.1 percent. What’s been awesome about him this year is he is walking 13.2 percent of the time, which is substantially higher than his career average walk rate of 5.3 percent. It will be a thing of beauty if he can maintain this approach throughout the season.
  • Every position player got a hit tonight. Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. collected three hits, while Ben Zobrist, Javy Baez, and Victor Caratini got two hits.
  • 10 of the Cubs’ 16 hits were of the extra base variety, seven of which were doubles.
  • Over their three innings of work, the Cubs bullpen only allowed one man to reach base, and that was a David Freese solo home run in the 8th inning off of Eddie Butler. The bullpen continues to perform better than expected.

Bottom Line

The Cubs got their first win at Wrigley tonight and smacked the ball around the field in the process. They currently sit at 6-5, and are two games behind the Pirates in the division.

On Deck

The Cubs conclude their series with the Pirates as Kyle Hendricks takes the bump for Chicago and Trevor Williams takes the hill for Pittsburgh. First pitch will be made at 1:20pm CT and the game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.

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