Game 52 Recap: Cubs 7 Dodgers 2

If you’d known that the Cubs would score 2, 0, and 2, runs in the first three games against the Dodgers, you’d figure they’d be lucky to be battling for a split on a perfect day at Wrigley. (And if you’d known Clayton Kershaw wasn’t going to pitch, well, you should be playing the lottery and not theorizing about baseball minutia.) And yet here the Cubs were, taking the series with the Dartmouth Dasher, Kyle Hendricks, leading the way on the hill, Kris Bryant hitting a homer to Glenview, and Javier Baez doing just about everything else.

Top Play (WPA): After a meager first inning, the Cubs started to put things together against baby-faced, teenaged would-be phenom Julio Urias in the second. Leadoff batter Anthony Rizzo walked on a close pitch just off the outside corner, and Jorge Soler dinked a seeing-eye grounder between first and second to put runners at, well, first and second. Russell whiffed (and sent his bat flying—quelle surprise), bringing Baez to the plate. The 23-year-old everywhere-player (who was subbing for Ben Zobrist) worked a 2-1 count, then hit a soft single into left center (+.0148). Joc Pederson tried to fake out Rizzo, but to paraphrase Prince, “A person trying to play Rizzo plays themselves.” Pederson bobbled the ball, Rizzo scored, Baez got to second, and Soler reached third, leading to a run when Miguel Montero hit a slow roller to second in the next at bat (+.011). That gave the Cubs a two-run lead, which set the tone for the rest of the game.

Bottom Play (WPA): Hendricks juuuuust missed striking out Trayce Thompson on an 0-2 fastball in the fifth inning, missing the outside corner by the width of a Jake Arrieta whisker. The Dartmouth Dasher hung the next pitch, which Thompson promptly deposited into the first row of the left-field bleachers. It was the cerebral Ivy Leaguer’s first homer allowed at Wrigley Field, but we’ll forgive it since he came into the came with a .033/9 HR rate, the best in the National League.

Key Moment: After hitting all-too typical grounders in his first two at bats, Jason Heyward jacked a solo homer into the right-field bleachers in the bottom of the fifth. I’m well aware of the value Heyward brings in the field and on the base paths; that said, I’ve been very frustrated with the Darwin Barney—caliber lack of pop of his bat. Here’s hoping he turns his offense around, giving the team yet another slugger to freak out opposing pitchers.

Trend to Watch: Baez showed us why his potential is so jaw-droppingly tantalizing: he knuckled a 1-0 pitch into center for a RBI single in the second, then cranked a homer into the left-field bleachers in the fourth (on a low-ish outside pitch, not unlike his 13th inning homer against the Nationals on May 8—his last homer, BTW). Baez also made a beautiful diving catch on Carl Crawford looper in the fifth, which came right after Thompson’s homer. The full-out grab behind second base—dubbed “sparkling” by announcer Jim DeShaies—killed any potential Dodger momentum. Hendricks followed by destroying A.J. Ellis’s castle made of sand with a beautiful strikeout.

But the most most exciting trend of Baez’s day: his Sosa-esque hop after he cranked the homer into the left field bleachers. “Have a day, Javy Baez!” as DeShaies said. (He also whiffed on a fastball up around his eyeballs in the sixth, but hey, pobody’s nerfect.)

Also worth noting: The North Siders hit three homers in six at-bats (including Bryant’s 442-foot bomb, which clanked off the video board) and four homers total, so hopefully this is the beginning of the reawakening of the Cubs’ offense.

What’s next: The disappointing 23-32 Arizona Diamondbacks come to town, although sad man Shelby Miller isn’t scheduled to take the hill. The first game pits John Lackey against righty Archie Bradley, he of the less-than-awesome 6.11 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Although to be fair, he did strike out nine Padres in his latest game, allowing three runs in 7.1 innings. He’s also allowing 1.02 HR/9, and given that the Cubs’ bats are starting to heat up, we might well see a rise in that number. So get ready to kick back and enjoy some afternoon weekend baseball on the North Side.

Lead photo courtesy Kamil Krzaczynski—USA Today Sports

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3 comments on “Game 52 Recap: Cubs 7 Dodgers 2”


Dont insult Darwin Barney and his 467 slugging % this year .

You make a good point. Duly noted.

Doing fun games is an excellent substitute for entertain yourself particularly when you have fun with the game of Agario.

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