The Cubs opened their three-game series with the Los Angles Dodgers Friday night. Mike Montgomery, fresh off a solid 4-inning start against the Rockies on Saturday got a second turn in the rotation. The Dodgers countered with Bud Norris who shut down the Cubs earlier this year with Atlanta.
Chicago started the scoring in the 1st inning tonight at Chavez Ravine. Dexter Fowler singled and Anthony Rizzo walked putting two men on for the Cubs. Once again Addison Russell delivered a big hit, singling to score Kris Bryant who had reached on a force out: 1-0.
Mike Montgomery did not have the same stuff he displayed in Denver. The Cubs lefty was wild from the start of the game tonight. In the bottom of the 2nd, a walk and a hit by pitch led to a Chase Utley RBI ground out to tie the game. In the 3rd, a walk and a Corey Seager double led to a Justin Turner RBI groundout. Chase Utley doubled and scored on a Howie Kendrick double play to make it 3-1 in the 4th.
In the top of the 5th, the Cubs rallied with two walks and a Rizzo RBI single to make it 3-2. That man Utley made an amazing diving stop on Ben Zobrist to end the inning without any more damage getting done. CJ Edwards threw a clean 6th inning in relief of Mike Montgomery. In the 7th, Adrian Gonzalez blasted a Justin Grimm pitch deep to right center to make the score 4-2 LA.
Bud Norris was pulled for Pedro Baez after just 5 innings. Kris Bryant responded to Gonzalez with a high arching shot to dead center off Joe Blanton to make it 4-3 in the 8th. Jason Heyward doubled off of closer Kenley Jansen and scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball to tie the game at 4.
After Travis Wood pitched a scoreless bottom of the 9th the Bryant show continued. This time KB’s victim was lefty reliever Adam Liberatore. After a Fowler single, Kris pounded his second homer of the game to right center to make it 6-4. Aroldis Chapman closed out the bottom of the 10th for a Cubs win.
What Does It All Mean?
An interesting dilemma is gripping Cubs fans of late, these games are not that important. As Mr. Banghart has laid out in his recent recaps the Cubs are in very good shape to win the NL Central. Thus the result of an individual game in late August will have very little impact on the overall picture. Some Cubs fans still live and die with every game, but it’s hard to get as angry now after a tough loss. If you are one of those fans then do what you do. I can’t tell you how to be a fan. Personally I will not freak out with every win and loss. When the calendar turns to October, however I will be a total mess.
The Full Monty
Mike Montgomery battled control issues to go 5 bumpy innings Friday. It’s clear that Mike has the stuff to be a quality starter from the left side. To be a consistent starter the former Mariner will have to control his fastball, something that escaped him tonight. An interesting side note, Montgomery apparently was kicked off his high school basketball team for getting too many technical fouls. The legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully of course offered that fact along with many others. There are so many things about the Cubs I don’t know before Vin fills me in on them. This will be Scully’s last time announcing a Cubs series. If you can do yourself a favor and watch the Dodgers broadcast. Trust me, it’s worth your time and attention.
I’m running out of things to say about Kris Bryant this year. Remember all the sky-high expectations when he got called up last year? You can see them right now in the rear-view mirror about a mile back. The Cubs 3B/OF might already be the best player in the National League. By WAR he is the best player in the National League right now. I will be shocked if Bryant isn’t the MVP this season.
When the Dodgers were winning the game Chase Utley was looking like the star of the game. Mac McDonald from Always Sunny in Philadelphia really, really likes Chase. In fact, he wrote him a letter. At the rate Bryant is going I may write Kris a similar letter.
3. Dexter Fowler: 2-5, 1 R. Dex led off the game with a hit that led to the first run. His second hit in the tenth preceded Bryant’s blast.
2. Jason Heyward: 2-5, 2B, 1 R. His double set up the tying run. Could this finally be the start of the fabled Heyward hot streak?
1. Kris Bryant: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB. The Bryant MVP race is starting to look like a landslide.