Let’s not over-think it: that game had every single thing we needed today.
A good performance from the starting pitcher? Check. Jose Quintana went 6.0 innings, allowed just 2 earned runs, walked exactly zero batters, and struck out 5.
A good performance from the bullpen *used in the correct order*? Check. Joe Maddon allowed Quintana to give the 7th a shot, but when it was clear it wasn’t working, he handed the ball to Wick (you better not send him down tomorrow, when Cole Hamels returns), who did allow one of his inherited runners to score, but only on an extremely weak infield grounder that still resulted in an out. His final line: 1.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 0K.
After Wick, Maddon turned it over to Brandon Kintzler, who not only threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts, but also managed to help end Christian Yelich’s 19-game hitting streak (while making us all very confused about his glove).
In the ninth, I enjoyed Joe Maddon’s use of Kyle Ryan, who pushed Yasmani Grandal to his (historically) weaker side, and had otherwise not allowed a hit or an earned run in his last 6.1 IP. With a four-run lead, it was nice to otherwise save Craig Kimbrel for two more big games coming up. Ryan gave up a leadoff walk, but immediately dialed up a double-play, before locking it down completely two batters later.
And then there’s the offense. The beautiful, run scoring (6), walk-taking (5), extra-base smashing (5), hit-racking (12), finally-present offense.
Their return to Wrigley Field started off with a bang, when Jason Heyward launched an opposite-field lead-off home run and continued on throughout the game, with almost everybody contributing – including the new guy, Nick Castellanos, who looks absolutely locked-in at the plate right now, even against righties. He went only 1-5 with a double, but could’ve easily had 3 hits in this one. Javy Baez had an extremely good game, going 3-5, with two 2Bs, a homer, 3 RBI, and a stolen base. All in all, it was a really wonderful win and exactly what I needed to kick the weekend off.
*Technical difficulties prevent me from uploading the EBS image at the moment … so just imagine the box score with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz repeating “There’s no place like home!” until I get it working. Go Cubs.*
Best I can do, for now:
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 2, 2019