Well, we hit a bump in the road there in the middle innings, when a couple of a Reds homers cut the Cubs lead from four runs to one, but Ian Happ’s absolute baseball destruction cleaned that mess up nice and fast. He really does love hitting in Cincinnati. We may need to get an Obvious Shirt in the works on that one.
Happ finished the night 2-3 with a homer, a double, and a walk, and that was all AFTER he was robbed of extra bases in his first at-bat of the game. Happ has his OBP up to .399 for the season, which is the sixth highest mark in MLB. Dude’s just having a great year.
But he wasn’t the only offensive star tonight. Seiya Suzuki reached base three times (a double and two walks) for the first time since April 23. And, of course, Patrick Wisdom notched his fourth straight game with a homer. He’ll look to tie the Cubs franchise record tomorrow against Tyler Mahle.
On the pitching side, Drew Smyly’s night was a lot better than it looks, and it doesn’t look all that bad: 5.2 IP, 4H, 3ER, 2BB, 5Ks. He allowed a couple of hard hit balls early, but then he was absolutely locked in, netting an impressive 15 whiffs on the evening. He even threw 101 pitches, and was just one strike away from getting out of it allowing just 1 earned run.
As an aside, I’ve been happy to see more Cubs starters working up over 90 pitchers lately. Obviously, David Ross has been granted that luxury thanks to some individually stronger performances (and pitchers finally getting fully stretched out), but I just love seeing a starting pitcher battle for 6.0 innings. Call me old fashioned.
Daniel Norris (2 walks) and Chris Martin (3Ks, but also a solo HR) weren’t perfect in relief, but David Robertson shut the door with a stress-free ninth and the Cubs got the job done. One win down in Cincinnati, three more to go.