What You Need To Know: If this game took place in July, you’d have probably left in the 6th or 7th to hang out on someone’s porch. Though the gap was technically close for most of the game, once the Cubs went up 5-2 in the 5th it never really felt in doubt. It just took forever, as Lucas Giolito slowed to a crawl with traffic, Jon Lester couldn’t put anyone away which dragged out at-bats to a comical level, and then it was bullpen-palooza. But the Cubs lasted, and eventually blew it open in the 9th to assure another game goes into the gap to the Brewers.
Next Level: It was a test of patience. After Giolito gave up a two-run ICBM to Baez in the first, the Cubs were cuffed by his change and curve. There’s no question he has the stuff, and he subdued the Cubs in May at Wrigley. But eventually he would tire, lose sharpness, and that came in the 5th.
Or maybe it was the Sox losing sharpness. The play that turned the game was Ryan LaMarre completely misjudging Daniel Murphy’s liner in that inning. It should have been two on with two out and the game still tied. But if you remember your little league outfielder (high school in my case) who comes steaming in on a liner only to watch it streak over his head, that’s what LaMarre pulled (and now he did that voodoo….that he do…SO WEEEELLLLLL!). So the Cubs had the lead, runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out and Zobrist up. Of course, he brought those two home, and it was game over.
-On the other side of the patience scale, Lester didn’t really have much of a feel for his curve. He could only bounce it, and basically the Sox hitters ignored it whenever they saw it. Which meant he had to try and get fastballs by them, which he really couldn’t do. Only four Ks on the night, and only five whiffs in total on either his four-seam or his cutter.
That might be a problem against a powerful lineup. Against the Sox it just delays the amount of time it takes until you’ve got three outs. Whatever works at this point in the year.
– Good to see Schwarber get two hits. The Cubs are going to need him in a couple of weeks, it feels like.
– David Bote was nowhere on any breaking ball tonight, and that’s been the case for a while. The league has found a crack.
– Edwards-Chavez-Wilson-Cishek. You’d better get used to that grouping and order.
Top WPA Play: Murphy’s “double” that LaMarre had an acid flashback during. (+.180)
Bottom WPA Play: Tim Anderson’s homer that had Lester pretty ornery. (-.119)
Lead photo courtesy @Cubs on Twitter