Another great win for the Cubs, and I just don’t know what to do with myself. The win marks the Cubs’ third in a row (hooray!) and ensures their first series win of the year (HOORAY!).
Jake Arrieta returned, and was every bit as good as you could reasonably have hoped. His command improved as the game went on, his two-seamer had nice movement, and both his curveball and slider were working for him. His outing was artificially shortened because it was his debut after a shoulder issue, but, in terms of stuff, he looked like he could have gone seven or eight.
Junior Lake provided most of the offense today (plus a homer from Anthony Rizzo off of a lefty, because naturally), which was very welcomed. Hector Rondon was once again called upon to close, further indicating that he’s the closer. He gave up a solid single to Yadier Molina and then a broken bat bloop single (on a good pitch) to Jhonny Peralta to get folks nervous at the outset of the inning. Rondon then started a double-play on the very next pitch, and then struck out Mark Ellis on a naaaaaasty cutter.
The end of the bullpen lined up Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon. I like it.
Aside: I try to very rarely mention specifically missed ball/strike calls, because they happen all the time, and they happen to both teams. It’s just not something that’s worth griping about.
But this is a rare one: with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, tied 0-0, Anthony Rizzo was at the plate on a 2-0 count. Michael Wacha’s pitch was pretty solidly low and out of the strike zone, but was called for a strike. It was a badly missed call, and completely changed the complexion of the bat – 3-0 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Want. 2-1 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Still want, but much less. Rizzo ended up grounding out to first. Fortunately, it ended up not making a difference in the game, but it could have been huge.