Losers of their previous nine in a row, the Cubs limped — figuratively and literally — into St. Louis to play out the final three games of the 2019 slate. You might call Friday’s lineup the A-squad, with a mix of regulars and bench players taking the field. Nicholas Castellanos was initially slated to start in right, but became the latest addition to the Cubs MASH unit when he was scratched with right groin tightness.
Alec Mills took the mound for the Cubs looking to build off of a solid outing last week against these same Cardinals. He was good once again, holding the Redbirds scoreless into the 4th inning. He got some defensive help in the bottom of the 4th, as Albert Almora Jr. made a spectacular play to rob a homer from a nameless catcher who may or may not get mad online if you say mean things about St. Louis.
That preserved a 0-0 tie, but it didn’t last long. The next batter, Matt Carpenter, launched a home run to put the Cardinals on top 1-0. The Cubs offense couldn’t get anything going against St. Louis starter Dakota Hudson, who struck out 10 batters over five innings. He was replaced by reliever Giovanny Gallegos, who gave up a homer to Ian Happ to tie things up in the 6th.
It was Happ again in the 7th, this time delivering a run-scoring double to put the Cubs on top 2-1. That opened the floodgates to what would become a seven-run inning and the Cubs ran away with an easy victory. Better late than never, though this was far too late to matter. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Mills did a great job of keeping the Cubs in the game while they were struggling to find a rhythm with the bats. Happ had a huge night, racking up a homer and two doubles.
Happ’s aforementioned 7th inning double scored Ben Zobrist to break the stalemate. Hits with runners in scoring position have been few and far between for this team, and it was nice to see Happ deliver.
Stats That Matter
- Alec Mills, 5 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 9 K
- Ian Happ, 3-5, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI
- Cub were 4-for-11 with RISP
In 48 hours, this will all be over.
The same two teams square off Saturday at 6:15pm CT. Cole Hamels looks to showcase himself for his next team as he takes on Adam Wainwright with FOX carrying the telecast and radio coverage on 670 The Score.