The Cubs had just gone down 2-0 against the Pirates yesterday on the back of some well-time hits against Jake Arrieta, and it’s possible you were thinking about getting down. Despite the blowout win the day before, those thoughts about the Padres series started creeping into your head.
Almost immediately, though, the Cubs’ bats showed up to swat those thoughts away and give the Cubs the win.
With two on in the very next half-inning, Anthony Rizzo did this:
With temperatures depressed and a strong cross-wind, the ball was not carrying very well yesterday, so that Rizzo homer is still impressive, even if it did go, directionally, where the wind was blowing. Still, it’s worth noting that, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, that ball would have left no other ballparks except Wrigley – gotta love those short power alleys.
That was Rizzo’s 11th homer of the year already (the weather isn’t even warm yet!), and he’s up to a .279/.419/.620 slash line (169 wRC+). Depending on what happens with the way teams approach Bryce Harper going forward, there’s a real chance Rizzo will be in the MVP conversation (more than he already has been in recent years) when all is said and done.
Rizzo’s homer wasn’t the Cubs’ only blast of the day, though, as Addison Russell kept up his blazing hot ways with this two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth, his second homer in as many days. Despite that one going straight into the teeth of that strong wind, Russell knew immediately that it was gone. Russell, who has been killing it this year in important ways, is now up to .263/.375/.447 on the year (115 wRC+), and his strikeout rate is under 20%!
About that two-run inning for the Pirates. It was the only blip on an otherwise near-perfect start for Jake Arrieta (seriously, it may have been his best of the season), and it could have been a whole lot worse if not for this crazy double play:
We can’t know what would have happened if that balls gets by Arrieta cleanly – it’s possible the middle infield is in position to turn two anyway – but that was great concentration and quick movement from Zobrist to get to the ball and get it to Addison Russell with enough time to try and turn it, saving a run in the process. Great play. Also great luck that the ball didn’t carom into right field, which could have wound up scoring two runs, and left the Pirates with another runner on second base, with still just one out.