OSS: Cubs squander some early chances, hang on to win.
- The Kyle Schwarber Leadoff Experiment worked out well this series. Schwarber had three hits and four walks (and one HBP) in 15 PAs. He had RBI on two sac flies in this game, which is not really what you expect to see from a leadoff hitter but the Cubs will take it. Almora will probably find his way back up there against lefties, but so far it looks like Joe has someone he can pencil in without much thought.
- Anthony Rizzo hit an opposite field solo shot, putting a four-way tie for the HR lead on the team at 11. The heart of the Cubs lineup now has wRC+ of 156, 138, 148, 175.
- After some bullpen shakiness, Steve Cishek came in to nail down your average 2.1 inning save without breaking much of a sweat.
- Of course, before Cishek came out to close things out in the bottom of the ninth, he got a PA with two outs and a runner on base. I wish I loved anything like Joe loves having relievers hit. Caratini was even out on the on deck circle before Joe called him back.
- Javier Baez came up gimpy following a great play in the third inning. He ended up hanging in there for another two innings before being pulled for Russell. It sounds like it’s just a bruised heel, and Javy thinks he should be good to go tomorrow. But maybe it’s a good time for an off day anyway.
- Cyle was cruising through the first five innings, but things kind of fell apart after a Russell error in the sixth. The Nats started hitting Hendricks hard, and he and Kinztler managed to escape the inning before what seemed like a comfortable lead slipped away.
Next up: The Cubs take on old pal Jay Carrieta and the Phils for a four game set back at Wrigley. Game one is a 7:05 PM CT.