Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (6/3/19): Cubs 8, Angels 1 – Lester, Offense Bounce Back to Cruise
The Cubs returned home reeling from a sweep in St. Louis that left them losers in seven of their last nine games and in second place in the Central. Jon Lester hadn’t looked good in his previous three starts, but he got to face an Angels squad that hasn’t hit lefties very well this season.
Things got started pretty slowly, with just one run scored through the first five innings. That’s really all the help Lester needed, though, as he retired 12 straight after giving up a leadoff single to David Fletcher. He hit Cesar Puello leading off the 5th and gave up a one-out hit to opposing pitcher Trevor Cahill in the 6th, but both were wiped out by double plays.
The Cubs knocked Cahill out in the bottom of that inning, scoring a run on a Kris Bryant walk and Javy Báez double and sending the former Cub to the showers with the bases loaded and just one out. A Jason Heyward double, Addison Russell sac fly, and Kyle Schwarber single pushed the score to 6-0 and that was that.
Lester didn’t allow a run to cross until the 7th inning, though it looked for a moment as though it could have been much worse. He allowed singles to Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella, gave up a sac fly, hit Puello again, and walked Kole Calhoun to load the bases with two outs. The gritty lefty then went 3-1 on Taylor Ward before getting a swinging strikeout on the cutter.
Carl Edwards Jr. and Dillon Maples worked a hitless inning apiece to close out the game in mercifully stress-free fashion. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Lester bounced back just like we all knew he would, slicing through the Angels with ease as he got the cutter working again. The Cubs really needed that kind of start from him and he provided the offense enough breathing room to finally get something going.
Javy banging a one-out double down the third base line to score Bryant from first gave the Cubs a jolt of energy and really woke up the offense for the first time in a while. Though he’s had some big moments, the dynamic shortstop hasn’t been quite the same over the last couple weeks, so that double and a subsequent homer were big for more than just this game.
Stats That Matter
- Lester was nails: 7 IP, 4 hits, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 1 run; he also threw 30 cutters, only one of which the Angels put in play.
- Willson Contreras has looked like a different hitter lately, and not in a good way, but going 2-for-4 with a homer may get him off the schneid.
- Schwarber was 2-for-5 and didn’t strike out looking despite going to two strikes in three at-bats. Even better, he put the ball in play in each of those situations, going 1-for-3 with a single.
- Carlos González went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run, then made a phenomenal catch in his Cubs debut.
That was a win the Cubs needed and they got it easily behind a vintage Lester performance and an offensive outburst reminiscent of their 2016 season. By grinding down the opposing pitchers, the Cubs were eventually able to kick the door down and put the game out of reach. Not sure those metaphors dovetail properly, but such trifles are for better writers to worry about.
The Cubs welcome the Rockies to town as Kyle Hendricks squares off against Jeff “Don’t Hassle The” Hoffman and his 7.20 ERA. Bryant has two homers in five at-bats against the righty, so maybe keep an eye on that. And I guess we’ll see whether CarGo’s old team still believes the Cubs are limping this time around. First pitch is at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.