Well, will you look at that! An easy 3 game sweep of the stupid Reds. The first three game sweep of the season for the Cubs. The bats were on fire driving in 25 runs over the three games. My favorite aspect of this sweep is that all three starting pitchers got wins. On Tuesday, Lackey did not come out throwing well, giving up a homer to Zack Cozart in the first. But luckily he was picked up right away by a RBI base hit from Jeimer Candelario and then a 2-run ivy aided ground rule double by Wilson Contreras. The Cubs didn’t look back from there, winning the game 9-5. Wednesday was a bit of a tight one. Kyle Hendricks had an average outing per his standards, going 6 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs. Cozart hurt us again with an RBI single in the of the 1st and a solo dinger in the 3rd .Fortunately the Cubs were able to bring in runs by stringing together some base hits from the usual suspects; Rizzo, Schwarber and Russell. Mike Montgomery came in and lasted a whole 2/3 of an inning while giving up 3 earned runs. Maddon yanked him quick and then the three headed monster of Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. and Wade Davis shut the door. Night, night Cincinnati, Cubs win 7-5. Thursday was a beauty. The Cubbies had Lester on the bump and, he too had an average performance. He went only 6 innings allowing 3 earned runs, 6 hits and 5 K’s. Javy had a HUGE day going 3 for 3 with a first inning grand slam. Bryant hit a moon shot for his 8th dinger of the year. Happ showed he is the real deal going 2 for 4, continuing to impress. Happ has been a huge spark for this offense. He is 6 for 17 with two doubles, two homeruns and five walks in just five games.
So, next up is the Milwaukee Brewers. Shocking the baseball world, the Brew Crew is in first place in the NL Central with a record of 24-18. This division is separated by a whole 5 games so put that in perspective (the Pirates are in last at 18-23 but who cares). The Cubs sitting in third are only 1.5 games back. With another solid series, we could easily be back atop the NL Central. Over the next three games, the Cubs are expected to face Paolo Espino, Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson. Anderson is 2-0 and Nelson is 2-2 both with an ERA under 4. Espino will be making his MLB debut here at the Friendly Confines but we shouldn’t take this too lightly. The Cubs are going to need the bats to stay hot as they are starting Eddie Butler, a rookie for only the second start of his career. Arrieta and Lackey are scheduled to throw the following games. The Cubs pitching needs to be prepared for this Brewers lineup. The Brewers are led by Eric Thames, with a .313 batting average and 13 homers, tied for 3rd best in the MLB. Second Baseman Eric Sogard is someone to look out for as well. He has been on a tear his last 6 games, going 10 for 17 with 3 doubles, 2 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks and ZERO K’s. Luckily, PED user Ryan Braun is on the 10 day disabled list with a calf injury. He has been a Cubs killer for his career.
I am not nervous for this Brewers series but it should be taken very seriously. We took 2 of 3 from them in Milwaukee earlier this year; don’t be surprised to see the same thing. If the bats stay alive, there is no way the cubs give up any of these games. If Jake and Lackey get their shit together, it’s over for sure. Like I said, it is all up to the Cubbies, they are only 1.5 games back of their rightful spot atop the NL Central. Sweeping the Reds provides a much needed confidence boost within the club house; let’s use this to propel us forward into the summer.