By: Alex Patt
The Cubs said goodbye to the West Coast this weekend as they wrapped up a six-game road trip in San Francisco and Arizona. It was expected that the Cubs would crush the Giants and struggle against the Diamondbacks, but it was kind of the opposite. The 3-3 trip ended with the Cubs losing 2/3 against the lowly Giants who are over 30 games back of first, and taking 2/3 from the Wild Card contending Diamondbacks.
The pressure was on for the Cubs as the rival Cardinals were working on an eight-game win streak that ended Sunday as the Cubs won 7-2 which put the Cubs up 1.0 in the Central. While the Cardinals surged, the Cubs lost the final two games of the Giants series in frustrating fashion. The bats could not muster more than two runs against a struggling Ty Blach, along with Jose Quintana putting them in a 3-0 hole early with Buster Posey taking him deep. The next day the bats were shut down by MadBum in a 3-1 loss. The worst part of that game was Willson Contreras straining his hamstring running to first and now the team will be without him for at least a month.
Going into Arizona, things felt bleak but the Cubs won the first game 8-3 behind a solid outing from Lackey and the bats scoring insurance runs late. The next game was a bad 6-2 loss which they squandered early scoring chances and things slipped away in the late innings. The ending of the game was particularly bad on a strike three call to Ben Zobrist that was low and nearly in the dirt. The team rebounded behind Jake Arrieta Sunday as he pitched six innings of one-run ball and the Cubs once again pulled away late with home run from Baez, Happ and Bryant. The Cardinals win streak came to an end Sunday with a 6-3 loss to the Braves.
The last series was incredible for Kris Bryant. He had nine hits and three walks in 14 plate appearances in those three games. Three of his nine hits were for extra bases including a home run in the finale. Javier Baez’s home run late in the game yesterday had an exit velocity of 113 and traveled over 460 feet, nearly getting into the upper tank in Arizona. Carl Edwards Jr. had a much better time this series as he got a big double play ball in game one and an easy 1-2-3 inning in the finale.
Cubs will head home and begin a four-game series vs. the Reds.