This season has been nothing but a damn roller coaster for the Cubbies. All of the ups and downs have been giving me way to much unwarranted stress. Last night we saw the first runs allowed all season from Wade Davis, coming from just the fourth homerun he has allowed since 2013! Think about that for a second. Only four homeruns allowed since 2013 is an outrageous stat. None the less, Wade Davis did not have his usual stuff last night but still he came out with his 10th save of the season. Kyle Hendricks had a quality showing on the mound going 7 innings without a walk and collecting 5 strikeouts. Pitching has been the Cubs Achilles heel all year long and yesterday they were able to take a close one, winning 5 to 4. After winning two of the first three games against the Giants (game four is today at 1:20pm), the Cubs currently sit tied for second in the division with the Cardinals and just half a game back of the Milwaukee Brewers for first place. The NL Central is up for grabs at the moment and the Cubs needs to keep this momentum going if they want to take over. Still mind blown by the way the Brewers have played this year, by the way.
The Cubs will have Eddie Butler throwing against former Cub Jeff Samardzija today in the final game against the Giants. Jeff has not been a shark on the mound this year with a 1-5 record and a 4.57 ERA. I don’t see his struggles changing against the Cubbies either. The last time Shark came to Wrigley Field, well, he only lasted 2 innings, allowing 4 runs and six hits in NLDS game 4 this past post season. Anthony Rizzo has been absolutely destroying baseballs lately with four homers in his last four games. The Captain has been the spark this lineup needed and we are going to have to rely on him and the rest of the Cubs hitters today. Butler has a good track record against the Giants (3-0 with a 3.22 ERA) but did not have a good showing his last start against Milwaukee. Butler threw 92 pitches in just three innings last time out totaling 3 hits, 2 runs and 5 walks in that short amount of time. I do not have the most confidence in Eddie so let’s hope the Cubs jump on Shark early. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a high scoring event and both teams have to dive deep into their bullpens.
After today, the Cubs embark on a 6-game road trip out west. Three games in LA against the Dodgers followed by three games in San Diego against the Padres. The Dodgers have been playing very good baseball this year. Leading the league with a team ERA of 3.38, their pitching has been stellar. Not a good sign for the Cubbies. We have really relied on our hitting all year and struggle when we can’t get guys on base. Sure winning six of the last eight games is great but the Cubs have allowed just over 4 runs per game during that stretch. We will need to be on our A game to get the best of the Dodgers. The Cubs will face off against Alex Wood (5-0), Brandon McCarthy (4-1) and Clayton Kershaw (7-2) while in LA. All three of these guys have had great starts to the 2017 season and make for three tough match ups. The Dodgers pitching staff likes to pound the strike zone and the Cubs hitters typically have success when they are able to be patient at the plate and see fastballs. I will admit, I am uneasy about this Dodger series. If the Cubs can pull out the first two against Wood and McCarthy, that would be phenomenal. Then we are just left to pray to the baseball gods that Kershaw has an off day. We can only hope.
Also, it was said that Joe was digging into his bag of tricks again for the upcoming road trip. The Cubs skipper told us in his post-game interview last night that the team will be traveling in their best “Anchorman” attire as the trip is “sponsored” by Sex Panther cologne. Which is very ironic as this blog is sponsored by Black Panther as well. Sex Panther Cologne, 60% of the time, it works every time. You stay classy Joe Maddon.