Relief--Cubs 3 Nationals 2

Oh it came so close to being such a terrible 72 hours in Cubdom. Kyle Hendricks proved that Jason Hammel-itis is incurable. This time he decided to mix it up though in avoiding the customary gopher ball. Trea Turner singled to right with one out, and he moved into scoring position when Anthony Rendon was plunked. Bryce Harper hit a twisting pop fly that Bote managed to snag for the second out. Juan Soto hit a soft humpback liner into center to drive in Turner. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to end the frame.

Anthony Rizzo drew a leadoff walk from Jeremy Hellickson, and then Hellickson retired the next 17 Cubs he faced. There is nothing more frustrating than watching an above average lineup put five consecutive zeroes on the board against Hellickson. It could have been worse as the veteran righty was just a single out away from making it six shutout innings.

In the mean time, the frustration level continued to increase. Daniel Murphy hit a groundball single to the left side to start the second. Spencer Kieboom struck out for the first out. Hellickson sacrificed Murphy into scoring position and then Eaton squirted a groundball single to through the right side to extend the Nationals lead. Hendricks struck out Turner to end the second inning.

Hendricks managed to pitch only a single clean frame, but managed to get through six frames with only surrendering the pair of runs. The Cubs finally chased Hellickson in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rizzo became the second Cub to reach base when he drew his second walk of the game. Javier Báez and Ben Zobrist each drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Sammy Solis entered the game and Jason Heyward delivered in the clutch once more this year. His single tied the game at two. David Bote was unable to extend the rally as he struck out to end the sixth.

Justin Wilson was the first Cubs reliever. Matt Adams flew out to start the seventh inning. Eaton bunted to reach with one out. Steve Cishek retired Turner and Rendon to end the inning. Schwarber singled to start the Cubs half of the inning against Solis. Greg Holland entered the game next. Contreras bunted and was called out for running inside the basepaths. The call was correct, but Maddon drew an ejection arguing the contrary. Ian Happ and Addison Russell singled back up the middle to load the bases. Rizzo drew his third walk of the game to put the Cubs ahead 3-2. Báez hit a grounder back to new Nationals pitcher Koda Glover. The Nats reliever fired home for the second out and then retired Ben Zobrist to end the seventh.

Brandon Kintzler started the eighth inning. He walked Harper and Soto to start the inning and end his afternoon. Willson Contreras picked off Soto from first base. Carl Edwards Jr. retired the next two batters to keep the Nationals off the board. Pedro Strop was given the ninth with just the single run advantage. There was little drama, and what drama was of Strop's creation. Eaton reached with two outs on Strop's error, but Strop struck out Turner swinging to end the game.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
Spencer Kieboom is a fun name. And there wasn't a lot of fun throughout the game for the Cubs. At the end of the day though the Cubs put the kibosh on their one game losing streak.

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  • Great victory by the Cubs today to keep calm and pull it off with only 4 hits. Bullpen wasn't perfect, but they shut the door on the Nats every time it was necessary. The Cubs now how to play this game under great pressure. That's one thing the Brewers have not proven at all. Further about the Brewers, in August their bullpen has an ERA over 8.00 and have given up 10 HRs. They are tired and overworked. It's not just one or two guys. Too bad their GM didn't provide any support for their pitching staff at the deadline. This all won't bode well going into their 3 game series on the road against the Braves (where they're already losing 3-0), followed by 2 at Wrigley and then 3 in St. Louis. I think we will find out who the Brewers really are in this next week. Cubs just gotta keep taking 2 of 3. It would be nice to sweep that short 2-game series agains the BrewCrew and further remind them who they are.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    This was the kind of win that true contenders get. The down the stretch, buckle up for a bumpy ride kind of win. The Nationals are the type of team so many of our fan base think the Cubs are, but guess what? They’re wrong. Let’s get ‘em again tomorrow. Oh and can Greg come by and prognosticate again? He’s a good luck charm.

  • The bats started slow and there were a few goofs on the bases, but all is well. We out-grinded, out-leathered, and out-bullpened the Nats in a really good game. Another day off the calendar and a satisfying W.

    Thank you, may I have another?

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    Yes you may!!

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    I said before that in past years if Willson would have been called out and Schwarber sent back to 1st the Cubs would have had their confidence evaporated, and gone to lose that game. This team is talented and weathered and knows how to win and did just that.This could be a very pivotal game.
    Right now the Brew Crew losing to Atlanta 10-1 going to the bottom of the 7th. Never assume, but I think they might lose.

  • Quick rules question. Can someone explain why Schwarber was placed back at 1st? If the throw was good and not interfered with that was where he'd have ended up. Doesn't make sense to move him back.

  • In reply to jimbullinger:

    Because he advanced to 3rd off the throwing error, but contreras was out of the base path so the play was basically nullified.

    Contreras was declared out so schwarber can't advance on the play.

  • Dave martinez didn't check the data, heyward hits better vs lefties than righties this season, especially with risp and 2 outs. He has a higher on base %,babip and average vs lefties almost 1/3 of heywards rbi's are vs lefties in 2018. I would of went with a righty over solis

    Rizzo's ab was great, hellickson wanted no parts of baez (thankfully he didn't swing at any of the 4 balls) and you knew zobrist would draw a walk or wait to get a good pitch to hit.

    The nationals bullpen already lost dolittle and herrera to injuries,cut greene and traded kintzler so when holland came in I knew it was over.Braves are currently up 10-1 vs the brewers

  • In reply to bolla:

    Good information on Heyward. I'm glad Martinez missed that.

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    In reply to bolla:

    I am surprised Heyward is doing that well against LHP. I guess I didn't look it up, obviously. Good info, bolla.

    I am curious what the sample size is for RISP with 2 outs. Could you fill me in. I am too lazy to look it up tonight.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The part about risp vs lefties with 2 outs was incorrect. I read it wrong, it was 2 outs with risp in general. But heywards babip,woba,ba,on base%,wrc+ are all higher vs lefties this season. His slugging vs lefties is .2 hundredths lower than vs righties.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Except Maddon was Davey's mentor, and Joe always plays the matchup.

  • The Crew has a real tough schedule the last 2 weeks of the month too.....

  • Brew Crew got smoked 10-1 by the Braves and are now 3 games back. We have 8 games remaining head-to-head so we control everything. Take care of business and it's all smooth sailing.

    On a much more somber note, are old friend Leonys Martin is in a battle off the field. He fell ill Tuesday night and was hospitalized and placed on the DL Wednesday. He is at the Cleveland Clinic, surrounded by family who are requesting privacy. The Indians' organization is respecting that wish, with Terry Francona's only comment being that fans should offer their prayers.

    Good luck and get well, Mr. Martin.

  • America's Most Famous House Guest (Kato Kaelin) has become a must-follow on Twitter. He's a die-easy Brewers fan who makes even the most pessimistic Cubs-fan ledge-jumpers look sane. He fired off several more profanity-laced tirades during the Crew's beat-down tonight and quit Twitter (again) and renounced his fandom (again) as he does during and after every Brewers loss. I look forward the the head-spinning venom he'll spew for the next one, and the next one, ...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I wonder what he'll do the day the Brewers get eliminated before season's end?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Kaelin is the patron saint of meatballs everywhere. Definitely a must follow.

  • Looks like a dog fight until the end.

  • Yes, it is not exactly "Norway time," but the first elimination of the season occurred last night as the Orioles can not win the AL East, even if they win out their final 46 games. Their E# for the postseason is 14. OTOH, Cubs Magic Number for the division is 43. No one in the NL can relax. With a pair of ties in the other two divisions, as it stands today the loser of a tiebreaker in the NL West wouldn't even make it as the second wildcard. Every game counts.

  • For sure, some wins are sweeter than others and some loses are more bitter than others. The Cubs have more loses since the break than most fans would like, but we have more and some of the sweetest wins mixed in. Yesterday was another of those.

  • Historic perspective within this Cubs' era. Yesterday with their 67 victory (August 10th) they passed by their 2013 total victories, back on August 1st they passed their Epstein era low point with their 62nd victory (at least for fans who take winning seriously as the reply's above illustrate). They are on the cusp of reaching 20 games over .500 today and beginning to blow by that benchmark if they can notch consecutive victories this weekend. Last year it was not until September 25th (88-68) they finished 92-69. 2016 it was May 29th when they started 34-14 at the Memorial Day mark. They finished 103-58. In the year 2015 it was August 23rd, 71-51, which many of us know the club finished 3rd in the NLC with a 97-65. The only reference point not mention is 2014 when the Cubs finished a 73-89 so eclipsing that benchmark is probably 10 games away (around August 22nd based on the current trend line) and in line with their 2015 finish, by going 30-17 here on out.

    One needs to look back and appreciate this era a lot of winning, games like yesterday where small things eventually notched another victory while a leaving a competitor feeling disappointed and trying to hold water in their hands. Bote made a nice play that saved a run and forced an out but it was Rizzo and Contreras in the clutch with that pick off play. Cubs are now 16-17 in one run games, my guess is that this will stretch in Cubs way as the last 47 games.

    Now onto the weekend, Lester and Hamels vs the Nats, winning one of two is standard but sweeping puts them in command.

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