GUARANTEED RATE FIELD- The Cubs must be Lucas Giolito's kryptonite. This season he's 11-1 versus the rest of the league and 0-2 against his northside foes. In his outing at Wrigley Field on June 19th, he went 4.1 innings giving up 7 hits & 6 runs while walking 3 as the Cubs won 7-3. Last night he went 4 innings giving up 4 hits and 6 runs while walking 5 as the Cubs put a 5 piece spicy on the board in the top of the 5th leading to a 6-3 win and a 2-1 lead in the 2019 Crosstown Seriess, but most importantly a 1/2 game lead in the wild NL Central.
The game was tied at 1 in the top of the 5th & that 5 piece started with three consecutive walks by Giolito to Robel Garcia, #NewMoney (David Bote) (who had 8 K's in his previous 10 at bats) and #Addie (Addison Russell). Back-to-back doubles from #BamBam(Kyle Schwarber) & #ELMago(Javier Baez) & a single from #BigFolks(Anthony Rizzo) gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
Giolito's counterpart #TheACE (Jon Lester) will go into the All-Star break with an 8-6 record after picking up the W. Lester threw 107 pitches going 6.1 innings and giving up 6 hits & 3 runs. He hears the chatter and knows coming out of the break strong is a must. "Take the break, use it and come out ready to go. We come out with 3 tough opponents in the division. Worry about ourselves and about playing day by day. The outside noise of the panic won't affect us."
Heading into the break, 3 straight wins is exactly what the Cubs need as they've played their worst stretch of baseball this season going 9-15 in their last 24 before yesterday.
There's been a lot of chatter about Cubs manager on the hot seat but President Theo Epstein said he doesn't put the blame for this rough stretch of baseball on manager Joe Maddon at all. "I'm not gonna put this on Joe because he's been remarkably consistent. It's my job to put him in the best position possible to succeed. By the nature of the standings, these next few weeks are extremely important for us."
Epstein also said the Cubs expect Ben Zobrist to return to the team this season. He said he recently reached out to his teammates. "We do miss Ben but i'm not gonna put it (the recent struggles) all on that. We do expect him back later in the year. We'd all love to see him back here and he would love to be back."
Jon Lester echoed Epstein's sentiments. "Anytime you get a veteran presence like Zo back it's a good thing. When he does come back and help us out we can talk about it then but for now we've gotta focus on ourselves."
FINAL- Cubs 6 Sox 3
Summary- The Cubs jumped ahead 1-0 in the top of 1 on an RBI single from #TheNatural Kris Bryant. The Sox tied the game at 1 in the bottom of 3 as Yoan Moncada scored on a Jose Abreu single. The Sox threatened in the bottom of 4 with runners on 1st & 2nd with 1 out but a 6-4-3 twin killing got the Cubs out of the inning unscathed. The Cubs opened it up scoring 5 runs in the top of 5 on a bases loaded 2 RBI double from Schwarber, a 2 RBI double from Baez & an RBI single from Rizzo giving them a 6-1 lead. The Sox got 2 back in the bottom of 7 on a Yoan Moncada double & a Jose Abreu ground out to make it 6-3.
Player(s) of the game- Schwarber & Baez coming through in the clutch with 2 RBI doubles in the top of 5
Play of the game- Craig Kimbrel striking out the side (notably Jose Abreu to end the game with runners on 1st & 2nd) to notch his 2nd save of the season
Quote of the game- "We needed a break. We've been going for a long time. We'll get it going back in the right direction...it's been difficult." - Maddon on turning the tide in the 2nd half
Next game- vs CWS 7/7/19
#PoetryInMotion Kyle Hendricks (7-6 3.45 ERA) v Ivan Nova (3-7 5.92 ER)
After today's game, the Cubs will have played 52 games is 55 days dating back to May 14th. They will have as many off days (3) in a 12 day stretch from July 18-29 as they did from May 14th-July 7th.