Game 53 Recap: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

What You Need To Know: The Isotopes win a game! The Isotopes win a game!

Our long national nightmare is over. Of course, the Cardinals were never going to make it easy, and the Cubs bats didn’t suddenly come alive. They only got five hits, only had multiple runners on at the same time in one inning, and only three of them were extra-base hits. But as Sargent Hartman once told us, “Guts is enough.” Lackey buckled down and held the Cards to two runs in seven innings, Edwards and Strop were able to dry-hump their way to three outs, and Wade Davis didn’t have any issues making only his second appearance in weeks. We dedicate ourselves daily anew…

Next Level: It’s been a while since a John Lackey outing didn’t have us hurling some type of glassware/furniture/pet across our living rooms, but today was the best he’s looked in a while. Of course, it always helps Lackey’s cause when he’s got an ump who’s hold on the outside corner would be considered psychedelic, but hey that goes both ways and all that.

Lackey has adjusted this year from a slider to more of a curve, and that was pretty effective for him today. It gives him more difference in velocity from most of his offerings, and maybe he’s adjusting to it. At least that’s the optimist point of view. And he didn’t leave his fastball over the plate to be turned into putty, which again the expanding outside corner to lefties helped with. I’m not ready to pronounce him cured, but it could be a start.

It looked like another infuriating Cubs-Cards tilt; I’m still much more used to them going that way than I am over the past two years, when the Cubs buffed a bases-loaded situation in the sixth. Immortan Joe went all manage-grindy, pinch-hitting for Schwarber with Almora and then burning Almora for Jay when Matheny countered with Bowman. That was after Contreras was walked intentionally while hitting for Montero to load the bases. It was the right move, and Jay is probably the one you want most in there off the bench. Maddon was probably eyeing Rosenthal and Oh a mere three outs away and this was his chance. And like we’ve been accustomed to, it blew up when Jay grounded into a double play.

The Cubs did their own Houdini in the top of the eighth when Carl’s Jr. went all inflatable wavy arm man with his fastball control and walked the bases loaded. Strop vs. Molina screamed a dumped single over Zobrist’s head on a good slider, but Strop went the other way and got to 2-2 with only fastballs before unleashing the best version of his slider.

And as scary as Rosenthal has been, the Cubs turned the tables by taking advantage of wonky fielding, heads-up running from Rizzo by advancing to third on a ground-ball out, and then perfectly executed AB from Heyward for the sac fly. Hey, didn’t they used to do that to us for… forever? It doesn’t have to be pretty right now.

Top WPA Play: Heyward’s double to right in the sixth which tied the game. While the Cubs defense hasn’t been all that great, it was really kind of Stephen Piscotty to show everyone what actual bad defense looks like, impersonating that kid on your little league team with the glove on his head trying to track Heyward’s lofted fly. It gave the Cubs a platform if nothing else. (+.244)

Bottom WPA Play: Magneuris Sierra’s single that drove in Aledmys Diaz in the second, and I’m guessing it’s the bottom one because of the spelling involved. (-.080)


Lead photo courtesy David Banks—USA Today Sports

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