I hate to start with Zach Davies, but let’s get that part out of the way first. Davies wasn’t actually that bad tonight, surrendering 3 earned runs over 5.0 IP, with a TON of grounders (I counted 10) and just one walk. But the same old storylines persist: He’s not striking anybody out and he’s walking on eggshells as soon as he faces an opponent for a third time.
He did put down two successful sac bunts (both of which led to runs), but the fifth inning ended with a ton of hard contact and the sixth inning began with even more (a 109.3 MPH Starlin Castro homer and a 103.8 MPH single).
And, again, that was after this:
The three hardest hit balls of the game have come this half-inning. pic.twitter.com/ooX0WoEVOg
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) May 19, 2021
BUT his dirty 6th inning led to arguably the best part of the night: Keegan Thompson.
The Cubs 2017 3rd round pick came in and recorded two swinging strikeouts after getting a line drive out to Javy Baez, ultimately extending his scoreless streak to 11.2 IP to begin his career. And more than that, Thompson just looked really good overall, with great bite on his cutter, plenty of velocity, and a huge power curve that nearly reached 3,000 RPM.
Thompson started the 7th inning, but was ultimately relieved by another Cubs homegrown pitcher, Justin Steele, who struck out Kyle Schwarber swinging and athletically threw Starlin Castro out at first base on a grounder back to the mound.
Beyond that, Willson Contreras (2-5), Kris Bryant (2-3, BB), David Bote (2-4, HR) and Nico Hoerner (3-4) all had multiple hits tonight, while Ian Happ (1-3, BB, HR) homered and walked. The Cubs have 25 hits in the series already, and have guaranteed themselves at least a series split.
(Not sure where else to put this, but in case you missed it Anthony Rizzo left tonight’s game with lower back tightness. Full details right here, more coming tomorrow, I’m sure.)