Many baseball experts would say that if anyone is going to stop the reigning World Series champions from winning another pennant, it would be the Dodgers. It is only right that the two teams square off at Wrigley field, where the pennant ended last season. With the first two games in the books, of course the series was tied. So, bring on the rubber match.
It was Brett Anderson making his Wrigley Field debut as he provided yet another quality start. Anderson only allowed three hits over five scoreless innings as he picked up his first win as a Chicago Cub. This was a great outing for him as he faced a great Dodger lineup that made some solid contact but never found that timely hit.
Anderson also ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth as he found himself with two outs and nobody on. A walk to the pitcher Ryu, a single by Seager, and a walk to third basemen Justin Turner would load the bases for Yasiel Puig. Puig came into to today’s game 0-for-13 against lefties this season, as Anderson got him to pop up to Rizzo in foul territory to end the inning. This escape job, along with two amazing catches in center field by Albert Almora Jr. highlighted a great defensive day for the Cubs.
On the other end, the Cubs had a few spurts of offense within the first five innings as Rizzo started it all with a solo homerun in the bottom of the first inning. This ball was a line drive shot that resembled a ball he hit Wednesday night that didn’t quite make it out. Rizzo has hit the ball extremely well in this series as an important homerun tonight was nothing compared to the walk-off single on Monday’s home opener. It is great to see the big man at first base find his swing at home. I look for him to stay hot through the weekend series against Pittsburgh.
The other run support tonight came from a bomb off the bat of Addison Russell and a multiple hit fifth inning that ended when Kyle Schwarber was thrown out at the plate. The ball from Russell was absolutely destroyed to left field as it cleared the bleachers and landed on the street. Russell was hitting in the cleanup spot today, as he has shared this duty with Ben Zobrist to start the season. I have said previously that these are not your natural power hitters that usually fill the fourth spot, but the power that this young shortstop has is extremely underestimated. I think today’s 429 foot shot proves that can swing it with the big boys.
So, as the Cubs take two out of three from the Dodgers, I look for them to keep staying consistent. They have won two games in each three game series so far as they play host to the Pirates this weekend. Sitting at 6-3 on the season, all three of those losses have been tough to swallow. Two 1-run games against the Cardinals and Brewers were tough enough, but the shutout Wednesday night was hard to watch because it just seemed like the Cubs always had runners on, but just couldn’t convert.
I look for the Cubs to stay hot this weekend as they have Kyle Hendricks on the mound, and we all know how well he pitched at home last year. This team is gaining confidence with every at-bat, and the very last thing you want to give the Cubs is momentum.