By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Cubs are returning home after a 6-1 road trip in Pittsburgh and New York this past week. Coming into Monday morning they are 2.0 games behind first place Milwaukee and will be ready to take on the Philadelphia Phillies tomorrow. Overall the Cubs are 8-2 going back to Friday, May 25th.
The road trip began in Pittsburgh against the Pirates where the Cubs took 2/3. Memorial Day saw a 7-0 shutout win as Mike Montgomery sparkled in his first start of the year and the offense scored most of their runs in the late innings. What was talked about the most from that game was the controversial Anthony Rizzo slide at home that tripped up Pirates catcher Elias Diaz. It was called legal on the field but it was deemed illegal after the game. Luckily Diaz was not hurt, but many people were very unhappy about the slide.
Despite Rizzo being booed the rest of the series, he went to the plate and tore it up at the plate and was a big part of their 8-6 comeback win in game two. They lost the finale of the series 2-1, but overall the team looked very good. Rizzo had five hits in the first two games including two home runs and Jason Heyward has six hits in the last two games. Kyle Schwarber also made the home run highlight reel with a two-run shot off the foul pole in right field.
Then came the big exclamation point of the week, a four-game sweep of the New York Mets. Cubs got great starting pitching performances from Jose Quintana, Mike Montgomery and Jon Lester. Tyler Chatwood was much better than his last two starts as well giving up two runs in 5.1 innings. Combined starters sported a 1.12 ERA in the series. Overall the Cubs outscored the Mets 21-6 and allowed more than one run in only one game. Probably the craziest game was the 14-inning game that saw the Cubs pound out 17 hits, but still have to have a six-run burst in the 14th inning to win the game. Albert Almora drove in the winning runs with Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez driving in insurance runs. Baez followed up that game with a steal of home to score the eventual game-winning run to complete the sweep.
Tomorrow when the Phillies come to town, it will be an emotional day as Jake Arrieta returns to Chicago. However, he will not throw in this series.