What you need to know:
The second day of the draft went well. The Cubs picked up five more arms and three bats in rounds 3-10 including a really high upside high school arm in the 6th round in Jeremy Estrada.
Wait…… The Cubs actually won tonight?
The offense is back, baby!
I kid of course, but the bats woke up in this blowout win against the Metropolitans. Eleven men came to the plate in the seven-run second inning, and that was really all the Cubs needed to finish this one. Jon Lester put in one of his better starts of the year, striking out ten Mets in seven innings.
Every Cubs starter registered a hit in this one, including Lester, and five different Cubs homered in the game. This is the type of bounceback game the offense really needed, and hopefully it’s the start of a renaissance. They got help from pretty much everyone, and they’re really going to need the non-Bryzzo bats to keep it up moving forward.
Anthony Rizzo led off tonight for the first time in his career. It was met with some consternation, so naturally he went DEEP to center for a leadoff home run on the second pitch of the game. In the most predictable event of the night, the Cubs gave that run right back in the bottom of the first, raising their first inning ERA to 7.45. However, Rizzo at the top worked like a charm. Admittedly implemented just for fun to try to give the Cubs a spark, Rizzo went 2-for-4, including an 0-2 to 4-2 walk that extended the inning prior to Ian Happ’s second inning grand slam.
So do we have a new lineup? It’s likely going to be something that Joe rolls with at least for tomorrow. We’ve seen Maddon’s desire to ride the hot hand lately so don’t be surprised if Rizzo is at the top tomorrow along with Almora in center field. I generally don’t give a darn about daily lineups, but this sure is a fun storyline in the middle of what is one of the most frustrating stretches of the 2017 season. The key worry about having Rizzo at the top was him being one of their only other run producers at the moment (Along with Bryant) and missing out on the opportunity to drive guys in. However, that worry was all for naught as Rizzo had six guys on base for his plate appearances. He drove in two of those six and added a third RBI on his first inning homer. Now, of course, the Cubs didn’t score 14 runs because Anthony Rizzo led off, but they’ll roll with it because why the hell not?
Top WPA play:
Ian Happ’s grand slam in the second inning. It really busted the game open early. (+.262)
Bottom WPA play:
Yoenis Cespedes’ RBI double in the bottom of the first, because why wouldn’t the Cubs give up a first inning run? (-.079)
The Cubs look to win the series with the Mets tomorrow evening with Mike Montgomery on the bump to face Matt Harvey. It would be their first series win on the road since they took two of three from the Pirates in late April. Coincidentally, they’ll then head to Pittsburgh to face the rival Pirates for three games this weekend.
Lead photo courtesy Brad Penner—USA Today Sports