For the second straight game, the Cubs found themselves in an early hole against the Brewers. And just like Thursday, they found a way to rebound and secure a road win in Milwaukee — their third consecutive victory and fourth in five games.
- At first glance, Starlin Castro’s 1-for-4 game isn’t impressive. But his two-strike single in the second put the Cubs on the board after Ryan Braun’s two-out, full count homer opened scoring in the bottom of the first. Castro also plated a run with a RBI fielder’s choice on another two-strike count. The constant in those two particular instances was Castro’s ability to put the ball in play with a man in scoring position. No Cub has had more at-bats in runner on third, less than two out situations than Castro and he was more than due to make the most of that kind of situation.
- The Cubs bullpen threw 3.1 innings of near flawless ball, as Justin Grimm, Jason Motte, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined to allow only one hit and one walk. Cub relievers are tied for seventh with 126 walks issued, so it was nice to see that unit collectively keep runners of the bases.
- Two-hit rookies: Jorge Soler and Addison Russell each picked up two-hit games in the win. Russell, sporting a new stance, has put together a constant string of quality plate appearances since the All-Star Break and has a .313/.365/.417/.782 slash line in his last 14 games to show for it. Soler picked up his second two-hit game in three games and has six hits in his last 20 at-bats.
- Hitless rookies: Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant combined to go 0-for-7. Bryant walked and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run on Castro’s RBI fielder’s choice, but he also left the bases loaded and has seen his batting average drop to .246 as he is in the midst of an 0-for-11 slump.
- Ryan Braun continues to torture Cubs pitchers, even if its in the most minimal of ways. His solo homer was all the offense the Brewers could muster on Friday. If it feels as if Braun is always on base against the Cubs, it’s because he has a .400 OBP thanks in part to a 17.1 percent walk rate against them this year. His .655 slugging percentage against the Cubs is the fifth best showing among Cubs opponents with a minimum of 20 at-bats.
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME
- If watching Starlin Castro’s RBI single was an emotional hurdle to clear for Cubs fans after the trade deadline, imagine how it felt for Castro himself.
DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME
- Chris Coghlan’s diving catch to rob Jonathan Lucroy of a hit with one on and one out in the third.
THE PLAY WE’RE ALL TALKING ABOUT TODAY
- Anthony Rizzo’s homer in the seventh inning gave the Cubs a three-run lead and was the most impressive swing of the night. It was his fourth home run against a lefty pitcher this year.
Friday’s full box: Here.
Saturday’s scene setter: The Cubs can earn a series victory against the Brewers with a win in a matchup that pits former Rangers farmhand Kyle Hendricks against former Rangers trade deadline rental Matt Garza in a rematch of the Cubs’ Mother’s Day loss in extras.
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