Jason Hammel was excellent in his first start since being pulled aggressively early over the weekend against the Dodgers. He ran into a spot of trouble in the 5th inning, but mostly worked his way around any serious damage.
Offensively, the Cubs got an early homer from Kris Bryant, multiple RBI from Addison Russell (and a stupidly ridiculous catch), another nice offensive game from Jason Heyward, and tacked on just enough runs to keep the game mostly comfortable until the 9th. A bases-loaded jam in the 7th – the one Russell’s catch ended – kept things exciting, though.
And for what feels like the 5th or so time in the last three weeks, a 4+ run lead shrank to a save situation after Travis Wood struggled to pull off the full-inning role to which he simply hasn’t been suited this year. Once again, the bullpen had a whole bunch of guys who weren’t available tonight, so I get trying to squeeze a full inning out of Wood, but it wasn’t to be. That forced Aroldis Chapman into the game for the third day in a row (and 10th time in the last 15 games … give the guy a day off! or three!), which you really didn’t want to see. A couple hits and some wild pitches netted the Pirates another run, but Chapman eventually finished things off (31 pitches later … seriously: don’t pitch him again for a while).
But it’s a win, and it’s the third win of the three-game series … hey, that’s a sweep!