That’s Chatty–Cubs 4 Pirates 3
Saturday at 10:30 pm
The story of the game was Tyler Chatwood on the mound. Adam Frazier led off the game with a double and then Chatwood proceeded to retire the next three batters to end the inning. He walked Bryan Reynolds before Chatwood set down the Buccos in order for the next five innings. Chatwood mixed in every pitch as he struck out 10 over six shutout innings to start the game.
Kevin Newman hit an infield single for the Pirates second hit of the game to lead off the seventh inning. Chatwood retired the next two batters while adding his eleventh punchout. But Bryan Reynolds’ two out hit put runners on the corners. Chatwood walked Gregory Polanco to load the bases and David Ross responded by getting his good starter. He brought Jeremy Jeffress in to put out the fire, and was rewarded with the most consistent arm in the pen currently with an inning ending groundout as the rain began to fall. A bit of stress in the ending to Chatty’s evening, but another quality start results in another victory.
The lineup put up three runs or more once again. Tonight’s effort was powered by homers but it doesn’t matter much when the starters put in the work they have. Unfortunately the bullpen yielded some runs late to make it closer, but the Cubs have now won six out of their first eight games.
The Cubs offense ripped a double to start the first two innings, and despite additional traffic were not able to break through against Mitch Keller. Ian Happ and Javier Báez hit back to back home runs into the wind. Báez absolutely crushed it to dead center to put the Cubs up 2-0. Keller managed to escape the third with no more damage, but he had to leave the game with left side discomfort.
Chris Stratton pitched a clean fourth inning. JT Brubaker took over in the fifth and retired the first five Cubs he faced. Things were going so quiet that the last name reminded me of the Aramis Ramírez-Kenny Lofton trade. The pitcher I was thinking of was Matt Bruback. That isn’t terrible close to Brubaker, but he was so good there was little else to occupy my time.
That is until Brubaker plunked Willson Contreras with two outs in the sixth inning. Jason Heyward smacked a single back up the middle to put runners on the corners. Nico Hoerner showed impressive plate discipline drawing a bases loaded walk on a full count with two outs. David Bote was Kris Bryant’s replacement this evening, as the star dealt with stomach issues. Bote hit an easy fly out to end the threat. Brubaker went right back out there after Jeffress key stop in the top of the seventh and made quick work of the Cubs hitters as the rain intensified.
Jeremy Jeffress has been a very pleasant addition to the bullpen. He has become the Cubs pitcher to call upon in high leverage spots, and he quickly retired the Pirates in the top of the eighth inning. Anthony Rizzo made a nice stop for the second out, but the Pirates could not do anything against the Cubs reliever.
Michael Feliz walked Javier Báez to start the bottom half of the frame. Kyle Schwarber then deposited the ball into the left field stands to double the Cubs lead in the slow rain. Willson Contreras followed that up with a single and Feliz was pulled from the game for an injury as well. Miguel Del Pozo set down the next three Cubs to send it into the ninth inning.
The extra cushion might have changed the plan, but Kyle Ryan was given the ninth inning. Ryan made a pattern with allowing a two run bomb to let the Pirates back into the ballgame. Bryan Reynolds doubled with one out to bring the tying run to the plate and Rowan Wick into the ballgame. The Cubs allowed Reynolds to take third and he scored on a fielder’s choice Rowan Wick was happy to make with Gregory Polanco at the plate. Phillip Evans drew a walk on a full count pitch to extend the game. José Osuna was the Pirates final trump card but Wick neutralized him with a groundout to preserve the W.
Ian Happ was inserted into the leadoff spot after Bryant’s late scratch. Happ hit a ground rule double to start the Cubs night and put the Cubs on the board with a one out homer in the third inning. That put me a bit on cycle watch even though it was very premature with Happ failing to reach again. The Cubs of course have gone 17 years since their last cycle, and it is feeling like it is as difficult of feat as this trick.