Another one-run Cubs-Cardinals game that came down to the 9th inning. Just the way you like it, right? When the Cubs win, at least …
Jake Arrieta was fantastic in this one, and I can’t wait to dig in further on the performance tomorrow. His command of all of his pitches was excellent, and so many innings were reminiscent of that second half of 2015 stretch where it just seemed like no hitter was ever going to be able to touch him. Sure, he battled a little bit here and there, but all in all, that was one of the best Arrieta starts we’ve seen in a while.
The Cubs got their runs via a Jason Heyward blooper to left, and a Javy Baez safety squeeze bunt, as they’ve not shown a whole lot of power yet through these first two games (Willson Contreras’s homer on Sunday being the obvious exception). Sometimes, you’ve just gotta get the runs how you can, and then you hope the pitching and defense are enough to carry the day.
So it was for the Cubs, who not only got the tremendous outing from Arrieta, but then saw Koji Uehara, Pedro Strop, and Wade Davis finish things off.
Davis looked shaky in his Cubs debut, unable to command his breaking pitches, but he finished things out with some help at second base by Javy Baez on a typically excellent Baez play. Baez had to slide to his left and then spin to get Kolten Wong at first base. It required a review because it was so close, but the call on the field stood.
The Cardinals got their only run after one of the craziest sequences you’ll ever see, and that’s hardly an exaggeration: Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch to reach base. He then took second on a wild pitch, and was hit by Willson Contreras’s throw on the slide. Then, a dribbler to no man’s land led to Piscotty trying to score, where he was hit in the head by a throw to the plate by Javy Baez. Piscotty, who then had to leave the game, was hit three times by the baseball in one trip around the bases. Just crazy.
The Cardinals would have had another run if not for Albert Almora doing Albert Almora things at the wall in center field.
They did not get more than that one run, however, and the hold-your-breath 2-1 lead stood.