Well, this is very interesting. After winning three straight at home against the giants, the Cubs got caught in a glass case of emotions while on their Anchorman themed trip out West, losing all six games. They were steam rolled by the dodgers in three games and then made history by getting swept by the Padres. It was the first time in 44 years that the team with the most losses up to this point in the season has swept the defending World Series champs in three games or more (per ESPN.com). This was also the first four game winning streak for the Padres since 2015 and first time they have swept the Cubs since 2012, so we can see how rare this is for the Padres.
I was not feeling too confident heading into this three game home set against the Cardinals. The game started out with a presentation thanking Dexter Fowler and the whole team presented him his ring. Brought a tear to my eye, in his short time in Chicago, Dexter was a big time fan favorite. Of course Lackey gets the start and gives up a solo shot to Fowler in the first at bat of the game. Fortunately for Lackey and the Cubs, their captain Anthony Rizzo drew three walks and scored two crucial runs. Both RBIs accredited to Jason Heyward. Lackey finished with a good line; seven innings, six strike outs, two walks and two runs earned. Wade Davis came in to close the 9th, earning his 11th save of the season. The Cubs ended their 6 game losing streak by defeating the Cardinals 3-2.
Game two against the Cards was Saturday. As it seems with every game with the Cubs, we witnessed history ladies and gentlemen. Now, I am not one for curses or jinxes but holy shit, JON LESTER PICKED OFF A RUNNER FROM FIRST BASE! Yes, you read that correctly. Jonny boy defeated the yips and picked off a runner on first base. Tommy Pham took an absurd lead off first base so it was easy pickin’s for Lester. Two innings later, in the bottom of the seventh, we saw back to back base hits by J-Hey and Wilson Contreras and then a walk to Jon Jay to load the bases. With two outs, Kyle Schwarber took the first pitch he saw from starter Mike Leake deep to left center for his first career grand slam. Everyone and their mom called this shot and it was exactly what this lineup needed. That shot propelled the cubs to victory, winning 5-3. Per usual, Wade Davis came in and shut the door in the 9th for his 12th save of the season. Now I said this when it happened and I am going to stick with it. That Lester pick-off was a game changer. It ended the inning and got the whole team fired up. Lester beating the yips will be the spark to motivate this team going forward this seasons, I just know it.
The Cubbies had right hander Kyle Hendricks on the bump Sunday for Game three and it was not pretty. After four earned runs in only three innings and Joe pulled him real quick. Luckily for Kyle and the Cubs, Ian Happ was in the lineup. Happ had two dingers off of Michael Wacha driving in four RBI’s. Happ has been nothing short of spectacular ever since he was brought up from Iowa. His ability to play multiple positions and hit from both sides of the plate is such a luxury for Joe and this team. Once again, Anthony Rizzo leads the Cubs going 4 for 5 with a double. Another person who stood out to me in this game was Kyle Schwarber. Joe had him hitting in the 9th slot for the second straight game. Kyle was 0 for 1 but was able to get on base by working three walks. I know walks are boring but this is gets me all kinds of excited. Kyle hitting the grand slam on Saturday and getting three walks on Sunday means he is feeling more comfortable and really seeing the ball well at the plate. If he gets hot, well, let’s just say this could be game over for the rest of the NL central. Wade Davis was given the night off but Koji Uehara came in to save a close one as the Cubs win 7-6. Cubbies sweep the Cards, jump to second in the division only one game back of those damn Milwaukee Brewers.
This series kicks off 7 straight at home for the North siders. The Cubs have loved playing at Wrigley this year, going 17-11 while struggling on the road, just 11-16. They start out this stretch with four against the marlins followed by a three game series with the Rockies. Of course, yours truly is feeling optimistic about the Marlins, even though they have won three straight. I am nervous for this Rockies series at the end of the week. I won’t be surprised if that series is filled with lots of fireworks. We just need to stay strong as a fan base; it looks like our team is showing up once their backs are getting close to the wall and I like that.