The Cubs showed once again why they are one of the best fundamental teams in the league. They used excellent base running to score seven and win the first game of a split double header against the Cardinals.
Tyler Chatwood actually got Matt Carpenter out to begin the 1st inning. He pitched around a walk to Yadier Molina to end the inning. Anthony Rizzo stayed hot with a leadoff triple against Luke Weaver. Ian Happ drew a walk, but was erased when Jason Heyward bounced into a double play that scored Rizzo. Ben Zobrist walked and Javy Baez singled, before Kyle Schwarber struck out to end the inning.
The Cardinals stranded one and the Cubs stranded two in 2nd inning. Carpenter stayed nuclear reactor hot, hitting his fifth home run of the series, a solo shot to tie the game in the 3rd. St. Louis had a golden opportunity in the 5th thanks to Chatwood's control issues. Greg Garcia walked and Weaver bunted him over, leading to an intentional pass to Carpenter. Tyler plunked Molina to load the bases with one out. Paul DeJong scalded a grounder right at the Cubs hurler, who snagged it to start a home to first twin killing.
Chicago rode that momentum into the bottom half of the inning. Heyward singled and moved to third on a Zobrist hit. Javy singled to right, scoring J-Hey and knocking Weaver from the game. Mike Mayers entered and allowed a Schwarber sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. Baez who had stolen second, moved to third and was thrown out tagging on a shallow Victor Caratini fly ball.
After a one-out Tommy Pham walk in the 6th, Chatwood was replaced by Carl Edwards who got the next two batters. Justin Wilson got the 7th inning and allowed a single to Yairo Munoz. An error by Tommy La Stella at third put men on first and second with none out. Carpenter almost went deep again, Happ ran it down in center this time however for a long out. Steve Cishek took over and allowed a run on a Molina sac fly before ending the threat.
The Cubs put the game away in the bottom of the 7th. Heyward walked and Zobrist singled him over to third again with one down. Javy did more magic, hitting a perfectly placed bloop double to left to score Jason. After an intentional walk to Schwarber, Caratini hit a sac fly to right making it 5-2. La Stella atoned for his error poking a single to second that scored two more.
Jesse Chavez made his Chicago debut and pitched well, two perfect innings to preserve the 7-2 Cubs win.
Early Season Chatwood Returns
Chatwood's start Saturday felt like his early season performances. Only allowing one hit while walking six and hitting a batter. He walked the tight rope especially in the 5th inning with the bags loaded. It appears this is the best case scenario for a Chatwood start, still not much fun to watch.
The Cubs again showed they are the best at moving first to third on a single. Counting today, they have done it 74 times in 2018, best in baseball. All three runners tagged on Caratini's sac fly to setup La Stella's big hit in the 7th. Ben Zobrist was right in the middle of it, he was perfect with four singles and a walk. Jason Heyward walked and singled while Javy also had two hits and a stolen base.
If you didn't understand the title, here is some context.
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