Raining Wins--Cubs 4 Brewers 1

The Cubs won a series where they were outscored and it couldn't have happened at a more opportune time. Jon Lester continues to prove that free agency can offer value at the top of the market. His deal seems like a bargain given the impact he has had on the organization, and outings like tonight's are subtle things that he does. The veteran southpaw pitched into the seventh inning and came one pitch away from completing seven strong innings without allowing an earned run to cross the plate. Big Jon Lester threw over 110 pitches and gave a taxed pitching staff length. Kris Bryant filled in for Rizzo at first place and did a lot of the work himself scoring three of the Cubs run including a clutch two out home run in seventh. Steve Cishek reminded everyone that he was a pretty solid closer when given the chance before, and the Cubs are now two games clear in the cut-throat Central.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Lorenzo Cain led off the game with a single, but he was erased quickly on a double play ball off the bat of Christian Yelich. Jesús Aguilar grounded out to David Bote at third to end the inning. Lester would surrender a single in each of the first three innings, but he pitched around without the runner even advancing into the scoring position. The horse was on his way to a much needed quality start.

Jason Heyward grounded out to first to start the bottom half of the first inning. Kris Bryant boucned the ball to Orlando Arcia but an error allowed Bryant to reach first base. Javier Báez ripped a single into right and the pair advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. Willson Contreras grounded out to Aguilar to drive in Bryant for the first run of the game.

Lester was cruising but the wind and rain struck to start the fourth inning. Christian Yelich hit a hard fly ball that might have been out on another night. Instead the wind grabbed the ball and it bounced in front of a circling Kyle Schwarber. More embarassing for Schwarber was his initial inability to even find the ball which alloewd Yelich to easily reach third to lead off the frame. Aguilar bounced a groundball through the left side to drive in Yelich to tie the game. Lester struck out Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas back to back, but then gave up back to back singles to Hernán Pérez and Ben Gamel. Arcia bounced out to Javier Báez to end the inning with the game still level at one.

Chacín and Lester traded zeroes heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. The fourth inning didn't produce any runs, but a play in the bottom half of fourth deserves mention. Bote reached on a single to start the frame and Daniel Descalso bounced into an odd fielder's choice. Pérez attempted to get Bote at second and Joe West correcty called him safe. Arcia fired to get Descalso at first by a country mile. It was a very close play but one that the Brewers chose not to even review. Thought it was worth noting the long time ump got a very close play right in real time since we are so quick to point out the mistakes.

Lester and Heyward struck out to start the Cubs half of the fifth as Chacín continued to largely baffle Cubs bats. Kris Bryant bounced his second single and he scored on Báez's double to take the lead again. Contreras flew out to end the inning, but the Cubs now held a 2-1 edge. That slim margin was in danger almost instantly in the top of the sixth. Aguilar pulled a double and then Grandal bounced an infield single to advance Aguilar to third with no outs. Lester punched out Moustakas for the important first out. Pérez hit a soft grounder towards short that Javy charged and fired to the plate for the second out of the inning. There are very shortstops in the game that make that play and it kept the Cubs ahead without a review. Ben Gamel hit a hard fly ball but with Albert Almora Jr. shaded the correct made a grab in full sprint to end the inning.

Chacín registered the quality start by completing a scoreless sixth inning. Lester retired the first two batters in the seventh inning. He started the inning already over a hundred pitches. Lester walked Cain on four pitches and then Yelich bounced a single back up the middle to end Lester's night. Brandon Kintzler struck out Aguilar on a beautiful sequence of changeup and fastball for a final called strike of the seventh.

Adrian Houser took over for Chacín in the seventh. ALmora singled to start the frame and Addison Russell who had entered on a double switched sacrificed him into scoring position. Heyward hit a pop fly for the second out.Kris Bryant then hit a low line drive into the basket to give the Cubs some breathing room. Brandon Kintzler pitched around a walk in the eighth inning for another inning of work. Steve Cishek than made even quicker work of the Brewers in the ninth inning. The Cubs win in front of a national audience and take their biggest lead of 2019.

Random Reference
The Cubs played 24 innings in constant state of rain and pulled off two hard fought wins. Jon Lester certainly showed up to work today, but he was far from alone in that regard. Thankfully the Cubs are vastly different than Newman.

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  • Jon Lester is the greatest FA signing in Cubs history. Is this even debatable?

    I came into this weekend in a weakened state. I had made a prediction after a few drinks that even I wasn't confident in. I, we, the Cubs, needed this weekend. I was ready to do the walk of shame, with my head held high.But we did it, and I'm much more confident now. Sing it loud, and sing it proud!

    I love Meatloaf!:

    "C'mon hold on tight.
    Oh c'mon hold on tight.
    Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night..."

    You'll respect me in the morning? No worries, tomorrow's an off day. You'll lose my number by Tuesday, or I'll "forget" to call you back.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And to those saying the Brewers are anywhere near as good a team as our Cubs, I say you can't evaluate talent.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That's what people told me last year Barley. Most thought it was outrageous that I thought the brewers would beat out the cardinals when Stl. was red hot last August. much less stay in the running with a 95 win cubs team. They did nearly go to the WS they're a good team even if the cubs end up outracing them. Lets keep in mind this a really accomplished cubs group and the cubs being elite doesn't diminish the talent within the division. If the cubs play to their potential then I think they've proven that they're the most talented and accomplished team in the division. But it's baseball and they're still gonna need good health like everyone else, they'll still need to show the same focus and consistency that we've seen these past 3-4 weeks in addition to 2016. This is baseball not basketball and the cubs aren't the GS warriors where they can afford to coast for the 1st 2/3 of the regular season. Last year showed that sometimes great players have poor years that's baseball, and the cubs players still need to sustain their production and day to day focus. I believe they will I think this is clearly a cubs team that's in better overall form vs. the 2018 season. In contrast I think the brewers are worse than 2018 with Travis Shaw, Nelson Aguilar, and Lorenzo Cain's early decline from last seasons production. Like you I felt that everything went wrong for the cubs (42 games in 43 days at the end) and a lot went right for Milwaukee last season. I hope you all are right and that the cubs win the division in a landslide and I think they're the clear favorites IN 2019. But I still think this is the most competitive division in the NL cubs need to keep their foot on the gas.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I'm just now getting back to this. I took a couple swipes at you, kk. I was feeling the effects of a Cubs/Brewers meatloaf in the Cubs' favor, the temporary extension of my prediction that the Cubs will not relinquish their divisional lead, and a few adult beverages while celebrating Mother's Day. I am sorry.

    You know the Brewers, and have explained the reasons why. I appreciate your insight. But I think their surge last season was an anomaly, and we are a superior team. We have all season to continue this discussion, and I look forward to it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    All good barley I didn’t take your post with any I’ll intent. I don’t necessarily think they’re a fluke playoff team I think they’re a legit playoff contender at least last season especially with 96 wins. But I do think last year even despite winning 95 games that the cubs had a bit of a fluke “bad” season by their standards. But after watching a number of Milwaukee’s positional players regress early like Aguilar, Cain after their absurdly strong seasons last year, I’m feeling good about our chances. I’m not really one to ever forecast that my teams gonna run away with the division that just isn’t me this early in the season. With the improved form this cubs team has shown thus far I definitely predict and expect them to win this division. But I also still think the central is the best division in baseball. My brewers defense isn’t me saying they’re by any means as good as the cubs, especially given what I’ve seen THIS season. It’s Moreso my personality not to get overly cocky over 162 games when my team has success. I always respect how unpredictable baseball can be after watching Jason Heyward and darvish bust after signing 9 figure deals, and after watching Contreras and Bryant not perform to expectations. While I think the cubs are now the prohibitive favorite, I think only the dodgers play in a poor enough division where I can mostly write off the competition. I have very little confidence in the dbacks chances despite their hot start. But again let me reiterate that I definitely view the cubs as the team to beat in the NL, and I think the cubs and dodgers are on a collision course for yet another postseason

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Best division in the NL, the AL east of course gives the central a run for its money

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Lasy year was last year, written and recorded, this year is this year and to be written. Brewers are a good team but weak in two areas, pitching and defense. Tell us what that gets you,

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    I rarely predict but I did hope the Cubs would win 8-0. 4-1 isn't too far off.
    This is a damn good team and we just beat our closest rivals 7 out of 8 games. They must be looking at us and saying "Can't they ever lose?"

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I meant 6 of 7. My numbers really off tonight.

  • Series W again. That was awesome. The pitching was great again. And Bryant was being Bryant with a little help from Javy. I think Bryant is the best base runner but Javy might be the more exciting base runner.

  • Observations on a Brewers weekend of Cubs baseball.

    The bullpen of the Cubs is better than we give it credit for. Cishek, Kinzeler and Chatwood are all potential quasi-closers as well as Strop and Maples eventually.
    Defense is a Cubs advantage over Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Cubs have better athletes at virtually every position than either of them.
    In Baez and Rizzo and Lester the Cubs have character and leadership that is the strongest in the National League. Two cancer survivors and Baez who lost his sister who struggled with spina bifida are an unusual group of young leaders.
    Madden outmanaged Mike Shildt and Craig Counsel. Counsel only used Hader for one inning in the series. He is delicately integrating Addison Russell and so far the Cubs have not really missed Ben Zobrist. The cubs decision to unload Tommy LaStella has weakened the Bench but the Cubs have still gotten by.
    Madden has Dodged a bullet by taking what he gets from Yu Darvish hoping for better things from him eventually.

    This is a really good Cubs team. The equal of 2016 before the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman. If the Cubs acquire Craig Kimbrel in early June, they will get to the World Series even if Morrow does not pitch this year.

  • My bad lungs prevented me from walking to the neighborhood bar to watch the Cubs game. Followed it on my phone, as usual. Great win! My new Cubs hat must be lucky. Hey whoever wrote that Algorithm PECOTA, might want to re-figure out what this team is made of. Every beat reporter from ESPN Tribune, Sporting News all pegged the Cubs for 3rd place. I know the season's young yet. Let's keep the cleats on their jugulars!

  • I laugh at Greg Simmons and the others who come here to tell us the DirtyBirds and Crew are as good as us. That's cute. You are funny.

    I survived my walk of shame. We beat them, so it's not necessary. I don't have to pretend anymore. I don't like Meatloaf.

    I want to celebrate this series victory, and my own self-respect, in a more appropriate way. The way I used to do it banging my head in the early 80's, baked out of my mind, and loving it. This is epic.

    I remember this girl named Charlotte. We sang a couple different songs about her. That's a reference for those in the know. Thanks Cubpack for the inspiration:

    "If you're waiting for a long time.
    For the rest to do thier piece.
    You can tell her that you know me.
    You might even get it free."

    https://youtu.be/5zyUG0KHlKk

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Great stuff BP
    I know you & I can relate to this. As all of us Cubs fans should
    “So understand
    Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years
    Face up, make your stand
    And realize you're living in the golden years”

  • Ian Happ for Will Smith if you please.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    I’d like to pry Ken Giles out of Toronto

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    In reply to TC154:

    TC, what would you give up for him?

  • I would love to see what the market for Schwarber could net in BP help. The guy would make for a great DH/LF. Just glad his last 2 little league misplays have not cost the Cubs a victory. Funny both times Lester was on the bump. Hopefully, Spring arrives in Chicago soon. Brutal conditions for Baseball in the midwest so far.

  • Let's see- KB heating up big time right before a series in Cincy......He has done some remarkable things in that park already in his young career. Weather for the series looks like it is warming up with three days of sun starting up at 68 degrees on Tuesday and up to 77 on Thursday. I will go out on a limb and say KB has a GREAT America Park series again. And look for Schwarbs to bust out of it near home as well.

  • I may be wrong here but I seem to remember that the ‘84 Cubs began 25-15. This team now seems extremely similiar.....great production from C, 1B, 3B and an otherworldly middle infielder. No Sutcliff (yet) but Lester sure is trying.....but the SP now is even better. They wound up winning 96.

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    May 24 1984 record: 25-15. FWIW, they won the next game to go 26-15 and then lost 3 straight to CIN.

    God Bless Baseball-reference.com

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Wow! As Russo would say, “That’s a Good Job”! Hahhaahha.....thanks Joel ^^^^^^^^^5

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