The Cubs won again! That’s six in a row, and three straight over the Royals.
Through three games, it’s clear that the Royals’ aggressiveness at the plate factors into the way the Cubs’ starters have approached these games. It means a lot of balls in play, and potentially a lot of early contact. That’s how Yu Darvish was able to go 7.0 innings tonight at only 93 pitches (and only four strikeouts). It’s also why he threw only 30 fastballs out of his 93 pitches – that’s not a typical mix for him. And like Alec Mills and Kyle Hendricks before him, Darvish limited the Royals to hardly any decent contact on the night. I know it’s not a strong lineup, but it’s still very nice to see three nights in a row.
Also nice to see in a row? SIX quality starts in a row for the Cubs. In the first two weeks of a season where there was limited re-ramp-up time. It’s incredible what the Cubs have done.
Also nice to see? Jeremy Jeffress perfect in the 8th, and then Colin Rea getting the 9th (five-run lead) … throwing 95 mph with a solid breaker. He’s been a starter (he was the PCL pitcher of the year last year), but that’s a pretty interesting velo bump in relief.
The Cubs got their first run on a blooped Javy Báez single down the right field line, though most of the focus was on Báez not running out of the box on what should’ve been an easy double. Fine. Yes. Of course. But, a couple things: (1) it wasn’t Báez being lazy – he was clearly just really confused about where the ball was off the bat; and (2) if Báez had been on second with Rizzo on third, it’s possible the infield comes in, and it’s possible that Willson Contreras’s subsequent grounder right at the shortstop turns into an out at home. Just sayin’ you can’t always assume what happens!
Also, it was Báez who drove in the Cubs’ third run in the 8th inning, so I’m not interested in riding him much. That run, which was followed by another on a Willson Contreras single, came entirely by way of a two-out rally. In the 9th, the Cubs added another couple runs with two outs. Love seeing that. I guess I love seeing lots of things I saw in that game.