by Richard Kagan
It was a weight-loss inducing 9th inning at Wrigley Field this afternoon. The Padres scored two runs to cut the Cubs lead to 5-4. A runner was cut down at home plate, the second such play in the game.
David Bote playing third base, fielded a grounder and threw a strike to catcher Victor Caratini to nail Cory Spangenburg at home plate in the top of the 9th inning. Pedro Strop, the reliever, put the Cubs on a high-wire act in that inning. However he escaped and so did the Cubs who are now 63-46 for the season. Javy Baez continues to shine at the plate and in the field. He hit his 23rd home run, tying his season high with a third of the season left. He also throw out a runner at home plate in the top of the 8th inning.
Javy is having a MVP type season for Chicago. He now leads the National League with 84 rbi’s for the season. Soon, he will be flirting with Kris Byrant numbers.
Speaking of Bryant. He is still on the DL and his return is not far down the line, but the Cubs don’t want to push it. This is his second stint on the DL. The Cubs need him playing well down the stretch. Brandon Morrow, the closer for the Cubs is also the DL and his return is still a question mark. Thus, it being closer by committee. Today, Strop drew the straw and he barely made it through.
It was good to see Anthony Rizzo continue his torrid hitting at the lead off spot. He drove his 16th HR to the basket in right field near the foul line but the ball stayed fair.
Joe Maddon, manager of the Cubs thought the game was nailed down by the sparkling plays on defense late in the game. “We won that game on defense,” Maddon told the AP.
The Cubs have two more home games against the Padres and then fly to KC for a series there. Kansas City is having a tough year in the American League Central. It is time for the Cubs to pick it up and put together a streak.
The Cubs are 8-8 since the All-Star game break. They aren’t lighting up the League. But there is still time. Chicago made moves to bolster the pitching getting starter Cole Hamels for practically a steal. Hamels went out and struck out nine in his first game as a Cub for the victory against the Pirates.
Maybe Hamels can do what Jose Quintana did last year for the Cubs, put some life in the pitching staff.