The Cubs shut out the Cards in St. Louis for the first time since '97 last night. Perhaps more surprisingly, Chris Rusin was most responsible for it. 6 innings of 7 hit, 2 walk, 5 K scoreless ball? A 3.08 ERA? The regression is going to be ugly as hell, but for now, please enjoy Chris Rusin, Magician. James Russell got two outs in the 7th, striking out both and not allowing a hit. Blake Parker got the last in the 7th without issue. Pedro Strop was nasty as usual, touching 97 with his fastball, striking out one, and generally looking too good to be on this Cubs team. Reliever variance is fun. Kevin Gregg walked one, struck out one, and got the save.
On the offensive side, it was death by a thousand paper cuts, as the Cubs did not have an XBH on the night, but did draw 8 walks. The Junior Lake Show was 1-4 with a walk. Lake seems to be displaying way more pitch recognition in the early going than I was expecting out of him. It looked like he was getting busted with breaking stuff away all night, and was, for the most part, laying off of it. Who knows if it'll last, but it's been pleasantly surprising seeing Junior not totally fall off a cliff after his blazing start. Anthony Rizzo was 1-5, and once again has an average under .240 and an OBP under .330. His BABIP is still pretty crazily low out of context at .262, but in 1013 MLB PAs he's put up a .275 BABIP, so maybe this is less out of line than we might think. If it turns out he's just always going to be a relatively low BABIP guy, then it's really nice seeing his plate patience take an upswing this year, because he'll need it. Welington Castillo continues to hit well of late, going 1-2 with a walk. Starlin Castro was 1-3. Darwin Barney was 1-2 with 2 walks, which I'm pretty sure is the definition of doing it wrong if you're the Cardinals.
Lively day for the I-Cubs bats in this one, as even Mike Olt managed to get a hit, having a 1-4 day with a 2B. Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-5 with a 2B. Julio Borbon led off and was 2-4 with a walk. Nobody else matters.
Jake Arrieta had a bit of a rough day, lasting only 3+ innings and allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. He K'ed 3 as well. As he was being taken out he apparently got in a fight with the home plate umpire, and was ejected for good measure. Fiery. Casey Coleman worked the next 4 and let 2 more cross on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 4 Ks. Chang-Yong Lim worked the 8th and was fine. Brian Schlitter struck out 2 in a spotless ninth.
Some really lousy pitching in this one on both sides, with a combined 33 hits and 13 walks between the two clubs. Javier Baez got the big moment with the walkoff hit in the ninth, going 2-5 with a walk and a K on the day. Arismendy Alcantara had a day himself, going 3-6. Christian Villanueva had them both beat, though, going 3-5 with two doubles and a homer. Damn, man. Brett Jackson's Lifeless Corpse was 2-3 with 2 walks and a CS. I miss the days of him doing Brett Jackson Things. Matt Szczur was 1-3. Justin Bour was 1-4 with a walk and a bomb. John Andreoli was 2-5 with 2 SBs.
Dae-Eun Rhee had a bad day. Really, everyone had a bad day though, as only one Smokie managed to not allow a run. For Rhee's part, his line finished at 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 walks, 5 runs, 4 Ks and 2 homers. Forget about it and try again next week. Jeffry Antigua worked the next two and allowed a run on a hit and 2 Ks. Dayan Diaz allowed a run for every out he got, 2 each with a walk, a K, and 2 hits. Yeiper Castillo envied this efficiency, and thus gave up a run on a hit and a walk in getting his one out. Frank Batista blew the save in the top of the ninth, allowing a run on 3 hits and a strikeout. Hunter Cervenka managed to get an out without anybody crossing the plate, finally, but not before walking one. He struck out one. Not a good day for Smokies hurlers.
Daytona Cubs @ Clearwater Threshers
Rained out. I am shocked, shocked.
You may have seen the skunk on the field delaying the game during this one. That was a silly thing that happened.
On the pitching side, Tyler Skulina worked 2 1/3 and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on four hits, a walk, and 3 Ks. Not great, but he's new here. Al Yevoli was worse, allowing 2 more runs across in 1.2 innings on 3 hits and 1 K. Rob Zastryzny made his KC debut and acquitted himself admirably, allowing 2 hits, a walk, and fanning one in three innings of work. It's like he's a second round pick or something. Andrew McKirahan worked the next two and was excellent, striking out 4 and not allowing a baserunner. Michael Hamann took the loss in the tenth, giving up a run on 2 hits and a walk with 1 K.
Kris Bryant continues to rake, going 2-3 with a double and a walk. His Boise line now stands at .315/.381/.648/1.029, with a 1.287 OPS over his last ten. He's 14 for his last 34 and eight of those fourteen have gone for extra bases. There's rumors that he's going to get sent to Daytona soon, which seems like the worst idea to me. The guy finally has the rust shaken off from a month-plus of being away from baseball, and you're going to send him to a league where he'll get rained out 3 out of every 4 days? This is why I'm carrying the torch for sending Bryant to Tennessee. I suspect Kane County wouldn't offer much of a challenge for him either, and besides, Candelario is younger, has performed well this season, and needs consistent ABs. Daytona doesn't work because of the rainouts. And Bryant is your number two overall pick who was the best collegiate hitter over the past year. Challenge him. If he fails, send him to Daytona to start next year. If he succeeds, that's nothing but surplus value and time saved on his development plan. This will never actually happen, but it should.
James Pugliese was solid, working 4 innings and allowing 6 hits, a walk, and a run against 3 strikeouts. The guy is a ground ball machine, currently sitting with a 2.00 GB/FB rate. Zack Godley had a rough outing, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 innings, and only fanning one. Scott Frazier allowed 3 walks in 0.2 innings, but didn't let any score and struck out one. Jasvir Rakkar closed it out with 2.1 innings of 2 hit, 1 walk, 2 K scoreless ball.