OSS: Kyle Schwarber blasts the Cubs to at least a series win.
- Kyle Schwarber hit an opposite field grand slam off of Mike Leake in the seventh to put the Cubs ahead. You may have heard that Schwarber is in a bit of a slump, having just five hits in the previous two weeks going into this game. The day before he was pinch hit for by noted slugger Albert Almora. Hopefully this helps boost that confidence level and he can build on it.
- Were it not for the late inning dramatics from the Cubs offense, the big story of the day would have been Jon Lester picking Tommy Pham off at first base in the fifth inning. No one is going to mistake Lester for Andy Pettite out there, but it was a legit throw, and not just running at guys or anything like he had been doing earlier in the season. The Cardinals started off the game by trying to bunt on him like crazy which seemed to have him a little rattled, so it's great to see him push through here.
- Javy Baez had a multi-hit day, including a solo shot in the third. He's been one of the few relatively consistent hitters during the teamwide offensive slump, and while we expected the Cubs to get him in the lineup more often this year none of us would have guessed that Russell would be the guy to see his PAs diminished for it, but here we are.
- I was listening on the radio so I'm not sure exactly how rattled Lester was in the first from all those bunts. I'm more than happy to see teams have their middle of the order guys bunting but it's unclear if the Cardinals demonstrated that this is an actual strategy vs Lester that overcomes its inherent dumbness. I'm going to lean towards dumbness, but it's something to keep an eye on. At least that pickoff throw might help point teams in that direction.
- Despite the homer and multi-hit day, Javy ended up with a negative WPA thanks to a strikeout with runners on the corners during the Cubs rally in the seventh and being thrown out at third following an errant pickoff throw by Leake. It's tough to blame Javy for the latter, as he was called out on one of those microsecond off the bag tag plays which has been the most annyoing unintended consequences of replay.
- Rizzo had another 0-fer day. If the Cubs offense warms up he's going to need to be a part of it.