Well, the Cubs didn’t get their first lead of the game today until the bottom of the 7th inning – Jason Heyward’s one-out single (off a lefty!) and excellent base running allowed him to score on Anthony Rizzo’s infield grounder – but it was enough for them to hold onto the win as Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop (where was Brandon Morrow? We’ll have to check in later on, but your hope is that Joe Maddon was just looking to get him a little extra rest after throwing 19 pitches and 1.1 innings on Sunday)* closed out the 8th and 9th innings, respectively.
Joe Maddon says Cubs simply planned to give closer Brandon Morrow an extra day off.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) July 3, 2018
As for the offense … for the first time in almost a full week, the Cubs didn’t manage to score more than 10 runs, but they did have enough hits (11) and walks (4) to get things done. Jason Heyward, in particular, deserves some praise as he delivered yet another multi-hit performance (his 11th since May 29th), going 2-4 with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI. He also had a triple-saving sliding catch early on that helped Kyle Hendricks avoid some early trouble.
But speaking of Hendricks, his final line isn’t really all that great on the surface (5.0 IP, 7H, 3ER, 1BB, 2Ks), but I’m not sure he was pitching all that poorly. The most important thing may be that he walked only 1 batter all afternoon, but even beyond that he really was getting a ton of weak contact, including a number of infield pop-ups and plenty of ground balls. Again, it wasn’t the dominating performance we’ve grown accustom to seeing from him, but given the way things have gone lately, I think it actually went really well.
That was the Cubs fifth win in a row (tied for season high) which means they are now 13 games over .500 (also tied for a season high). The Brewers are playing the Twins right now, but if they lose, the Cubs will be tied for first. All the ties!