Sunday afternoon was your typical “dog days” of summer. At the time of the first pitch, it was a whopping 98 degrees at Wrigley Field. The added heat sparked the fire in the Chicago Cubs batters as they erupted for nine runs on 11 hits.
The offensive explosion began with a Kyle Schwarber double in the second inning, eventually scoring on a Jason Heyward groundout. The Cubs would go on to score in the fourth, seventh, and eighth. Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Anthony Rizzo all homered.
Cubs players have combined to hit six home runs so far this season, tied for the most in the National League.
It was a Happ-y weekend for Ian at the plate and in the field. Happ launched two home runs and led the team with five runs batted in. Given a more consistent spot in the lineup, Happ could benefit from it and continue to improve at the plate.
Right now, he is slotted as the centerfielder but will find ways to get in the lineup as much as possible. During his career, he has played all the outfield spots as well as first base, second base, third base, and he has even pitched once.
For now, he looks like a strong fielder in the center (as seen in the video below).
Even Tyler Chatwood looked like he can become a reliable middle of the rotation starter with his quality start.
Questions still remain surrounding Yu Darvish and his ability to be their number two starter. Saturday, he was pulled after the fourth inning, giving up three runs, having tossed 73 pitches. At the same time, he did manage to get Christian Yelich each time he faced him, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out eight Brewers.
“My strength is 100%. I have a lot of pitches. So I still have to work on a couple of things. We’re almost there,” said Yu Darvish to Sun-Times’ Russell Dorsey.
For the Cubs to contend this season, consistency is key and this reigns true for Darvish. He will need to have command of his pitches and lower his pitch count so he lasts longer in games. Every now and then, he gives a glimpse of how unhittable he can be but that has to become the norm.
Rendevouz with Reds
A 60-game season means these athletes must be full steam ahead and should not look back. Chicago begins their first road test as they embark on Cincinnati for a four game series against the Reds. The Reds’ record shows a losing one but they are an improved team from past seasons
So far, it has paid off. Through three games, Reds starters have a 1.49 ERA and have combined to strike out 33 batters. As a team, their pitching staff leads the majors with 46 strikeouts.
- Monday, 5:40 p.m. CT: LHP Jon Lester (13-10, 4.46 in 2019) vs. LHP Wade Miley (14-6, 3.98)
- Tuesday, 5:40 p.m. CT: RHP Alec Mills (1-0, 2.75 in 2019) vs. RHP Tyler Mahle (3-12, 5.14)
- Wednesday, 5:40 p.m. CT: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (1-0, 1.50)
- Thursday, 5:10 p.m. CT.: RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.75) vs. RHP Luis Castillo (0-0, 1.50)
- Ian Happ: 3-10, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, BB in MIL series.
- Nico Hoerner: 3-7, 2B, RBI, 2 R in MIL series.
- Kris Bryant– 1-14, 6 K in MIL series.
- Jason Heyward- 1-10, RBI, R, BB, 2 K in MIL series.
Nick Castellanos gave the Cubs fans a memorable two months last season but was not brought back for 2020. It was unfortunate because Castellanos seemed to express a lot of love toward the fan base and the city of Chicago. In 51 games for the Cubs, he hit .321 with 43 runs, 21 doubles, 16 home runs, 36 RBI, and an impressive 1.002 OPS.
His revenge tour starts tonight.
Featured Photo: Justin Casterline, Getty Images.
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