OSS: Cubs grind out PAs and chase Jaime Garcia early, and Jason Hammel takes care of the rest.
- This makes two games in a row where Hammel was both the Cubs leader in offensive and pitching WPA. Hammel struck out six and didn't walk anyone over six innings, though he did have one HBP. He got into and out of a number of jams, most notably in the fourth inning. The Cardinals had runners on second and third and nobody out but got Grichuk to pop out, followed by Heyward gunning down Matt Holliday at home on a potential sac fly to end the inning. Hammel also drove in both of the Cubs runs with a bases-clogged single in the fourth, which was all the Cubs needed.
- Heyward's start at the plate has been pretty brutal by most stats other than statcast's batted ball velcoty, but there's nothing wrong with his glove. Prior to the above-mentioned play at the plate, Heyward nearly gunned down Adams at second base after playing a perfect bounce of the corner at Busch. He would have had him if Russell had gotten a good handle on the ball.
Pedro Strop was the Cubs second-biggest WPA contributor on the day, which was also nice to see. You got the sense in yesterday's game that Maddon put him in to get his toes wet after all the meatball commentary about Strop having trouble pitching in Busch. Today Maddon put Strop into the fire in the eighth with one on and nobody out. Strop got two strikeouts and forced a groundout from Matt Holliday. Hopefully we can put this dumb storyline to rest.
3a. Len and JD's developing obsession with the number of time Jaime Garcia went to the rosin bag and/or the dirt had me cracking up today.
- The Cardinals only run came on a Yadier Molina 'triple' resulting from Jorge Soler badly misplaying a deep fly ball. Maybe he lost it in the lights or something, but he hit the wall a few feet away from where the ball landed and collapsed to the warning track. Luckily he wasn't hurt. It certainly makes you appreciate the insane defensive play of Heyward in RF.
- Miguel Montero must have run over home plate umpire Gerry Davis's dog on the way to the ballpark. He had multiple strike calls on pitches way outside, the worst of which was his strikeout in the seventh which was both low *and* outside. I don't think framing could even be credited for that one.
- There was a scary moment in the seventh where Baez appeard to be hit in the wrist by a pitch, but luckily turned out to be okay. I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a break the next few days though. The Cardinals successfully challenged the play, seeing/hearing that the ball hit the end of the bat first before hitting Baez, which felt like a kind of dick move, and the probably still very sore Baez had to go back to the plate, where he ended up striking out. This isn't a situation that crops up that often (and clearly not at all historically), but you'd think a situation like this would be as unwritten rule-y as giving. say, an umpire that took a foul tip to the face or nuts some leeway.
Cubs go for the sweep at 12:45 PM CT, Hendricks vs Martinez. The weather forecast is fairly dicey for most of the afternoon, so we'll see if they manage to squeeze this one in. Rain delays seem like a great time to have as many long men in the pen as the Cubs have now.