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Myles Live Reactions and Recap: Cubs 7, Pirates 1

Myles Live Reactions and Recap: Cubs 7, Pirates 1

 

Pregame: Ohhh. I love those Pirates hats. And I love those Cubs hats even more! I’m a sucker for light blue on uniforms. I don’t know why. My lady, on the other hand, hates it. She, for example, does not like the Denver Nuggets or North Carolina Tarheels. Light blue hater, she is.

-Top 1st inning-

Anthony Rizzo leadoff double: Ha. This dude. He’s unreal.

Happ bunt: Nooooooooooo!!! Don’t bunt. Like ever.

Contreras RBI double: THAT’S how you start a game. Man that ball was absolutely murdered. The Cubs are jumping on the first couple of pitches for Taillon to start. I like it.

Almora shallow pop-up to end the inning: Man, it sure feels like the Cubs missed an opportunity for a bigger inning. But alas, that is baseball.

-Bottom 1st: Cubs 1, Pirates 0-

Lackey one, two, three start: That is excellent to see from Lackey. He had some batters off balance on a few of his breaking balls which is super awesome.

-Bottom 2nd: Cubs 1, Pirates 0-

Baez error: Ugh, that hard double play written all over it. But like JD and Len said on the broadcast, he was trying to be super quick AND there looked to be a whole lot of spin on the ball. Still...shoot.

Pirates strand two: That could’ve been a whole lot worse. Allowing two on with nobody out on an error usually spells trouble. BUT NOT TODAY.

-Top 3rd: Cubs 1, Pirates 0-

Rizzo single, Jay to third: Rizzo can’t be stopped right now.

Happ walks to load bases: Let’s go.

Contreras RBI Double: There we go. Contreras has three RBI’s already. I’m liking this lineup early. Only thing that would make it better would be a KB sighting.

Lastella ground out to end inning: Again, I feel like there should’ve been more put across there. But I’m greedy. Like Scrooge McDuck when he’s swimming in the coins. But instead of gold coins in a world where ducks can talk, it’s baseball runs in a world where humans can talk. Very similar.

-Bottom 3rd: Cubs 3, Pirates 0-

Lackey walks second batter of inning, 2 out: Ugh. This could be bad.

Freese flies out to end the inning: Nevermind.

-Top 4th: Cubs 3, Pirates 0-

Baez leadoff double: Keep the line moving.

Jay RBI single: Thank for listening. Also Jay is 2-2 hitting 9th.

-Bottom 4th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0-

Heyward comes out of the game: Early on in the game, he slid in foul territory to try and make a play on a ball. When he got him had a little grimace and the trainer came out to tape his wrist. I don’t know anything other than the fact that he’s out and Schwarber is now in. However, it didn’t look THAT bad. So I’m thinking it’s just precautionary as they’re up by 4 early. But we’ll see. It’d be a big loss to lose him for any extended period of time.

Cubs double play to end the inning: I don’t know if there’s anything more beautiful that a double play to end the inning.

-Bottom 5th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0-

Mercer solo HR: Well, there’s goes the shutout. That’s a bummer. At least there was no one on, I suppose.

-Top 6th: Cubs 4, Pirates 1-

Taillon replace by LeBlonc: That didn’t go great for Jameson Taillon. But again, it would’ve been nice to put a few more runs across. One bad inning, and the Pirates are right back in this game.

-Bottom 6th: Cubs 4, Pirates 1-

Lackey gets through 6 innings: What a fabulous outing by Lackey today. He ran into trouble at times, but was able to get around it. I doubt he comes back for the 7th.

-Top 7th: Cubs 4, Pirates 1-

Jay pokes one through the left side of infield for a base hit: That was his second hit on soft contact. But he’s 3-3 in the 9 hole. That’s solid. And gives Rizzo a chance to knock one in as the leadoff guy. I bet Rizz get a RBI double here.

Rizzo 2-run homer: Hellllllllllll yeah!! I don’t mind being wrong there. That ball was crushed to right center. It also was his 150th career homerun. Good for him.

Schwarber 2-out double: Man, it’s good to see him swing the bat again. He hit that one pretty hard over the shift in right.

-Bottom 7th: Cubs 6, Pirates 1-

Cubs double play to end the inning: Ahhhh. It’s just so sexy.

-Top 8th: Cubs 6, Pirates 1-

Arrieta pinch-hit: Ha, the cute Pirates fans are booing him. That’s adorable.

-Top 9th: Cubs 6, Pirates 1-

Rizzo up, needs a triple for the cycle: C'mon, Tony. One time for the kid. 

Freese diving play to take away a hit from Rizzo: Well, it wasn't going to be a triple, but that sure is a bummer. 

Happ solo homerun: I love Ian Happ. He just crushed a ball to centerfield from the right side of the plate (all of his other homers were from the left of the plate, I believe). It's now his 6th homerun in his last 9 starts (per the telecast). Woo hoo! 

-Bottom 9th: Cubs 7, Pirates 1-

Duensing on to close out the game: Alright, no funny business. Let's win and get the hell out of Pittsburgh. 

Grounder to LaStella at third to end the game: Boom! Cubs win! Back to Chicago to play the Padres. 


Source: FanGraphs

Cubs win a series ON THE ROAD!
The road victories have been hard to come by this year. In fact they haven't won a road series since late April when they played the Pirates. That's not great. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. Let's see if they can keep this going.

When do you stop hitting Rizzo at leadoff?
I don’t think there was anyone that follows this Cubs team that thought the Rizzo-hitting-leadoff-experiment would last more than 2 games. But here we are. Before today’s game, since taking over the leadoff spot leading on June 18th, Rizzo had a slash line of .368/.478/.789. He also had 2 homeruns, 2 doubles, and 6 RBIs. Today, he added another homerun, another double, and 2 more RBIs. The man is straight raking right now. So, to answer the question of when you stop hitting him leadoff? I don’t think you do.

Heyward injury
The Cubs are calling Heyward’s injury a “left hand abrasion.” Hopefully this isn’t a serious thing. And I don’t think it will be. An abrasion is a lot better news than any structural or internal damage on the wrist. I’m sure it’s simply hard to throw a baseball with a huge scrape on your hand. I’d imagine he’s out for a game or two while it scabs up. But I’m not doctor. In fact, I’m no where close to being a doctor. You know who’s closer to being a doctor than me? Almost everyone. But my point is that you can trust me on my Heyward injury analysis.

 

Three Stars of the Game:

Third Star: John Lackey (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K)
Great outing from the Cubs starter.

Second Star: Willson Contretras (3-5, 3 RBI)
He loves Father's Day.

First Start: Anthony Rizzo (3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)
Never stop leading off.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • Back to .500. Lester pitching at home tomorrow, the first of three vs. the woeful Padres. Then four on the road in Miami. I'd like to think the Cubs could get on a mini roll.

  • Good stuff Myles. Call me crazy, but these are better when the Cubs win.

  • I have no issue with Rizzo in the one spot, just as I had no issue with Schwarber there. I wouldn't mind Bryant there either.

    Please, please, please let us kill the myth of a "leadoff" hitter. There is usually only a couple of guys in the league at any one time that consistently fit the mold of the "prototypical" leadoff man with high contact rates, OBP skills and speed. They are rarer than franchise QBs in football. Just hit your best hitters at the top of the order. Get them more ABs over the course of the season.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thank you!!!! I agree 100%.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I would even get rid of the "prototypical #2, #3, #4, #5..." As you point out, almost no team has more than 1-2 "prototypical" guys--and many have 0. Yet they compete. I am fine with having "prototypical" as an "ideal" but not to get too hung up on it.

  • They went to NY 31-31.......coming back home 34-34........it IS time boys..........it is time. Room is being made between the Cubs and Brewers and the rest of the division beginning a 2 dog race. Catch the Cheeseheads by the All-Star break and then gas on it!

  • I would like to see a lineup of:
    1B Rizzo
    CF Happ
    3B Bryant
    C Contreras
    SS Russell
    LF Schwarber
    2B Baez
    P Lester
    RF Jay

    Or, depending on who's healthy:

    1B Rizzo
    2B Happ
    3B Bryant
    C Contreras
    CF Almora
    LF Schwarber
    SS Baez
    P Lester
    RF Jay

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Russell belongs no higher than 7

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Problem with that though is we have about 6 guys that "belong no higher than 7".

    Addison has actually looked much better since his forced one day off. Loved the home run to right. Loved the home run to left.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    It is not so much the lineup it is finding AB's for hot and performing hitters. Rizzo is hot, Contreras is beginning to heat up, Heyward actually has been the most consistent hard hitting batter. Montero in spot starts has a strong bat and Baez is beginning to show consistent force. It is putting together the puzzle. What is more overarching are the plethora of injuries which has to be managed within the game and season. Fortunately the Cubs have a lot of available flexibility, bet we see Bryant in the OF until what might appear to be a strawberry on Heyward's palm as he slid on the dirt.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I was wondering why Almora pinch hit for Montero on Saturday when Contreras was going to replace Montero defensively? Almora put some good contact on his pitch, it just went straight to the defender; but why not have Contreras bat in that situation? Let alone why not have him start the game in the first place? It goes back to a consistent theme this year of a given player (Contreras in this instance) playing a great game, and then sitting out the next game; it's kinda hard for the players to develop any continuity. By trying to mix in 12 - 13 position players, even switching​things up when someone has a good game, no one is really able to establish a rhythm.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    At that point in the game, Joe knew he was bringing in both so it boiled down to who has better numbers in a pinch hitting role. Almora has really good PH numbers so he batted. Then he brought in Contreras in the pitchers spot so that he would bat the next inning, putting the pitcher in Almora's slot. If he had ph Contreras, then Almora would have batted the next inning in the pitchers spot. Also, By doing it the way he did, the relief pitcher could have pitched more than one inning if we had tied it up.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Very nice analysis for those of us who didn't catch the game. Context makes all the difference.

    It was very encouraging to see Contreras heating up with the bat. I thought he (Happ and Almora, too) would have some valleys this year since it's his first full one against major league pitching. It's time to hit one of the peaks, though. With him, Rizzo, JHey, and Jay we have 4 hitters who are "seeing the ball well" now. Add in the dangerous Happ, Javy''s incremental improvement year-by-year, and Russell starting to come around, I like the offense's outlook right now. And I didn't even mention KB!

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    In reply to rnemanich:

    The Cubs are starting to pile-up injuries. But they have depth...and even that is being tested. I have been saying for a while now that all these "blocked" players will get their PAs if they are on the roster. Even if they do have a really good guy ahead of them the fact is that there will be injuries, cold stretches, etc. And having a quality guy to send out there in the meantime can be a HUGE advantage.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Actually, I wouldn't mind to see Contreras out there every now and then when Miggy catches. He can handle it.

  • I love the live reactions recaps!

  • Anything notable about Lackey performance today, outside of obviously improved results? Velocity ? Sequencing? For whatever reason, only parts of game I caught were when Cubs were hitting.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Seemed to me that he used more slower breaking balls as opposed to the hard slider. I think the thing that really motivated him and got him going was getting out of the inning where Javy booted the sure doubleplay ball. That put runners on first and second with nobody out and the meat coming up and he was able to put it behind him with some quality pitches. Set the tone for the whole day.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't rizzomlead off in a spring training game last year late in Spring as a joke, and the Cubs won something like 15-1? Then rolled out of spring training and into the regular season? Keep Rizz leading off!

  • Cubs have seventeen games before the ASB, 11-6 would be grand and provide them a momentum to build on for the second half where they hopefully get some players fully healthy and others on track for a push to Labor Day.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    It's 20 games actually with only 5 (4 against Washington and 1 make up game against Milwaukee) against teams with winning records. I think 13-7 is a reasonable goal. !5-5 puts them 10 games over at the break. The offense has really come around in the last 14 games slashing .253/.333/.476, a wOBA of .343 and have hit 23 HR in that stretch, scoring almost 5 runs/game. The pitching worries me but this is the time of the year where your offense can carry you for awhile. I think they're going to make a push.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    Man, when TC starts worrying about pitching it is time for the rest of us to panic! LOL

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I was surprised by that as well. He's usually so sanguine about the rotation. Hee, hee.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    sanguine was a catcher, it's their job to worry about the pitcher (blue font)

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I remember Manny Sanquine!

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Worrying about pitching is deep in my DNA but hey, I was being pretty optimistic! I honestly think they could go 15-5 in this stretch, but the 13-7 number is certainly more realistic.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    I agree with your assessment. I was just needling you because I know you are perpetually worried about pitching.

  • Correction Myles, Cubs won a DIVISION series on the road. Yardbirds got swept in Baltimore, now its on to the Brew Crew. We owe the Compadres one already.

  • This was the funniest live recap yet! I can imagine Maddon doing a Donald Duck impersonation saying "Beautiful Runs! Beautiful Runs! Beautiful Runs!" with great ecstasy.

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