By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Cubs will head on a very tough road trip this week against rival Milwaukee and St. Louis. It was important they had a good home stand before embarking on the trip. This past week they went 4-2 against the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. All of this was highlighted by Jake Arrieta’s return to Wrigley Field and the epic walk-off grand slam by Jason Heyward. Both during the Phillies series.
After losing the opener against Philly 6-1, the Cubs rattled off four consecutive wins until losing the finale against Pittsburgh. Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood gave up a combined four total earned runs in their starts this past week while Kyle Hendricks struggled giving up five in his first start against the Phillies. The bullpen has had some rough patches as of late, especially in the finale when thins fell apart for Brian Duensing which resulted in a 7-1 Pirates win, but overall they were still able to hang on and win most of their games. Brandon Morrow gave up his first home run of the year on Wednesday to Dylan Cozens. That would create the 5-3 deficit which would turn into a 7-5 victory with the Heyward grand slam.
Speaking of Heyward, he was probably the most talked about Cub this week. His grand slam was not the only hit he has recorded recently. He is currently slashing .273/.333/.212 on the year and is batting .314 with an .829 OPS so far this month. Heyward has been hitting the ball hard in all directions, which is a very good thing to see. Only four strikeouts this month in 35 plate appearances, and even some of his outs are still hit very hard. Hopefully he can keep up what he is doing because he has been very valuable lately with both the glove and bat.
A shout out also has to go to Jon Lester, who pitched another scoreless, one-hit gem on Saturday against the Pirates. His ERA on the season is 2.22 with a 1.091 WHIP and 6.7 hit-per-nine innings average. So far he has been he Cubs most reliable starter as he looks to fully redeem his struggles from last season.
Now, on to Milwaukee.