Game 45 Recap: Cubs 5, Giants 4

What You Need To Know: The Cubs continued their series against the Giants tonight. Kyle Hendricks took the mound for Chicago while San Francisco sent Matt Moore to the rubber. Every win is a “needed win,” but tonight’s puts the Cubs within striking distance of first place, as cliches go. Hendricks was shaky through the first three innings, averaging a little over 18 pitches per inning. However, after the third, he found his groove and averaged 10.5 pitches per inning. The delayed display of efficiency got him through seven innings of work. Overall, Hendricks gave up just five hits and two runs while striking out five.

Next Level: Can we take a moment to admire Anthony Rizzo? *heart eyes emoji*

Okay, now let’s take a moment to admire Rizzo’s two bombs. The first home run was off of a meatball knuckle-curve that sat right in the middle of the zone. The second dinner was off of a fastball that was over the plate. Seven of Rizzo’s home runs have come off fastballs this year. He has also knocked a slider and curveball into the stands. He is a controlled hitter whose zone-swing-rate has remained practically the same since last year.

Interestingly, Rizzo has swung at two percent fewer pitches outside of the zone compared to last season.

Pitch heatmap: Anthony Rizzo's home runs 2017

Pitch heatmap: Anthony Rizzo’s home runs 2017

He has hit over 30 home runs each season since 2014. He’s on pace to hit 40 this year. His discipline at the plate is continuing to pay dividends.

Top WPA Play: Entering the bottom of the fourth, the Giants were leading 2-1. Rizzo already smacked a home run to tie the game up two innings earlier. However, Denard Span edged the Giants over with a solo shot in the top of the third. Albert Almora Jr. started the inning by flying out to left. Kris Bryant also flew out to left. Rizzo, tired of everyone’s crap, smacked his second home run of the night to tie the game up 2-2 (+.141).

Bottom WPA Play: The top of third started with both teams tied after Rizzo’s first jack. On a 1-1 count, Hendricks threw a changeup over the outside part of the plate. Span put enough bat on the ball and “umph” behind his swing to deposit a ball in the stands (-.115).

Up Next: The Cubs finish the series against the Giants tomorrow and then head to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Tomorrow’s probable starters are Jeff Samardzija for San Francisco and Eddie Butler for the Cubbies. Game time is scheduled at 1:20 PM.

Lead photo courtesy David Banks—USA Today Sports

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