A Tip of the Recap — 7/20 (Cubs 6, Mets 2)
Cubs record: 57-37, 1st NL Central
W: Kyle Hendricks
L: Bartolo Colon
MVPs: Kyle Hendricks and Anthony Rizzo
Kyle Hendricks was outstanding today and dominated the Mets through 6.1 innings. Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell provided more than enough offense for the 6-2 win, giving the Cubs two straight series wins coming out of the break.
The Cubs grinded out AB after AB in the early going and actually made Bartolo Colon use 33 pitches to get out of the 1st inning. That frame saw the Cubs plate two on the strength of a two-0ut double from Russell.
Rizzo added a solo home run in the 3rd and a 2-run shot in the 5th to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead. Javier Baez later added an RBI single in the 5th and the Cubs were on cruise control the rest of the way, even though Travis Wood gave up a two-run shot to Wilmer Flores in the 8th.
Hendricks is really locked in as of late and today was another dominant start that has become commonplace from him. He went 6.1 innings, scattering 7 hits with a walk and 7 K’s. He struck out the side in the 1st and 3rd innings and was efficient all day. He is now 9-6 on the year with a tiny 2.27 ERA.
Anthony Rizzo had a game to forget Tuesday night with 4 strikeout (first time in his career), but he followed it with a 2 for 4 day with the 2 HR’s and 3 RBI. He is now hitting .292 with 24 HR’s and 71 RBI. He is 2nd in the NL in homers behind Bryant as they strive to become the first Cubs teammates to finish 1-2 in since Heinie Zimmerman and Frank Schulte in the 1912 season (14 for Zimmerman and 12 for Schulte).
Russell is really coming on offensively and he has a knack for coming up big in big situations. Today he went 3 for 3 and had that two-out, two-run double to give the Cubs the early lead. His average is creeping up on .250 (currently at .247) and he is up to 55 RBI on the year (good for 3rd on the team).
Baez has so much value to this team the way it is constructed. His ability to play plus defense at several positions has always been there, but he has improved with the bat and is having an outstanding year. He went 2 for 4 today with an RBI single (his 33rd RBI) to bring his average to .286. He also made a great play on a foul pop up by the visiting bullpen, banging into the tarp as he made the catch.
Jason Heyward started in CF today and contributed with his arm by throwing out James Loney at home to end the 4th inning. It was a great one-hop throw that Miguel Montero caught easily to apply the tag for the out (though it did appear that he may been safe if Terry Collins would have replayed it, but oh well).
The Bad/The Ugly
Nothing much to harp on about this one, as the Cubs took an early lead and Kyle Hendricks did his thing. Wood gave up a two-run shot in the 8th, but it wasn’t of any consequence really.
The Cubs are off Thursday, but will make the quick trip up to Milwaukee for a 3-game series with the Brewers this weekend. The Cubs have a great schedule coming out of the break, spending the next 3+ weeks without having to take a plane anywhere. Their upcoming away games are at the Brewers and at the White Sox, so they will get to be close to home for a good chunk of time.
Game 1 of the Brewers series starts at 7:10 PM (CST) on Friday and features a matchup between Jason Hammel (8-5, 3.34) against Jimmy Nelson (6-7, 3.39) for the Brewers.