The Cubs opened up a 10-game homestand with a weekend set against their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. This is the first time in 2019 that the two teams are squaring off against one another.
The Cubs were red hot coming in to Friday afternoon’s contest, winning 11 of their last 14 games. However, the Cardinals have been playing just as well, winning the same number of games in that time.
Kyle Hendricks started off strong, only needing 16 pitches to get through the first two innings. He would continue to display this pitch efficiency, successfully accomplishing the fourth complete game of his career. He needed just 81 pitches to shut the Cardinals, giving him a Maddux on the fewest number of pitches in a complete game since Aaron Cook‘s 81 in 2012.
Anthony Rizzo continued his flaming hot stretch, going 3-for-3 with a big three-run home run to put the Cubs up early. Following today’s game, Rizzo is now slashing .252/.386/.551 with a 146 wRC+ on the young season.
Javy Báez added some insurance in the 7th inning, collecting his 25th RBI on a two-out double to right field to drive in Kris Bryant. The Cubs wouldn’t need any more offense in this one, as they went on to shut out the Cardinals 4-0 in Game 1 of this three-game set. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Won
Rizzo, directly responsible for three of the team’s four runs on the day, and Hendricks, surrendering just four hits, were the main contributors in today’s win. The offense took long at-bats, as is their specialty, and drove Jack Flaherty out of the game before he could finish the 6th inning.
Rizzo’s three-run shot in the bottom of the 3rd inning proved to be all the offense the team would need to seal the deal, despite Báez tacking on another insurance run later on. Entering today, Rizzo was slashing .341/.451/.805 with a 217 wRC+ over the last two weeks and only inflated that line further.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks followed up a tough start last Thursday in Arizona with a gem today: 9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 3 K. He has lowered his 2019 ERA to a modest 3.93.
- Rizzo hit the 199th home run of his career in today’s game. He now sits at ninth all time on the team’s home run leaderboard
- Javy rebounded after striking out in three consecutive plate appearances today with an RBI double to add some insurance. His season line now sits at .312/.348/.640 with a 154 wRC+.
Hendricks was masterful and the Cardinals were unable to muster any hard contact on him. Rizzo and Báez created the only offense the team would need and the bullpen was able to take a second consecutive day off.
The Cubs and Cardinals will meet for Game 2 of this weekend set tomorrow afternoon. Yu Darvish is set to face off against Michael Wacha and the first pitch is slated for 3:05pm CT. You can catch the game on WGN and FS1 (out of market), and, as always, listen in on the radio at 670 The Score.