What You Need To Know: There’s no better way to head into vacation than with an easy day at work with little to do. The Cubs piled up five runs in the first two innings and the pop-gun Padres offense, though the Cubs did their best to make it look better all weekend, was never really going to catch them. The Cubs might have liked to get more from their starter, they might have liked their pen to make it smoother, they might not have liked to use relievers who matter, but with the All-Star Break here they probably only care about the win resetting for the second half Thursday (against a mess of a Cardinals team right now, delicious).
Next Level: It was all going so smoothly for Jon Lester through the first five innings, as he had to juggle a couple walks, a smattering of singles, and just one Christian Villanueva homer. But as seems to be the case with all the Cubs starters, an allergy to the sixth inning arrived, and two singles, a walk, and a HBP saw the Cubs have to go to the pen way earlier than they would have liked in a game they led by six heading into the inning. Encouragingly, Lester struck out seven in less than six innings of work which has been an issue, though the Padres are not going to be confused with the Gashouse Gorillas anytime soon. Still, if Lester can increase his strikeouts, that would help ease the nerves of those of us who can’t ignore what the peripherals are telling us about the magic show he’s been putting on.
– The Cubs spread it out today as every position player had a hit, and only Contreras and Bote didn’t have an RBI. It wasn’t shock and awe, as the Cubs bled the Padres to death with singles. Only two doubles, no homers, but eight singles and three walks are more than enough. If the thunder don’t get ya the lightning will.
– Hey, remember when Rizzo was lost and hopeless? Six hits this weekend while leading off. It’s almost like Joe Maddon knows how to treat his players.
– Justin Wilson hasn’t given up a run since June 29th, He’s struck out 10 in five innings in July, while giving up just two hits and walking one. Consider him a weapon again.
– There was some angst about bringing in Norwood with the bases loaded, but it’s as good of a time to test him without the stakes being too high. He didn’t melt anything. Fair enough, and he likely won’t matter down the road.
Top WPA Play: Baez’s single in the first that made it 1-0 and moved Bryant to third while Rizzo scored. (+.124)
Bottom WPA Play: Norwood’s bases-loaded walk of Asuaje that scored Villanueva and made it 6-2. (-.048)
Lead photo courtesy Jake Roth—USA Today Sports