PITTSBURGH – The Cubs returned to action today following yesterday’s thwarting of the Pirates, looking to continue their hot-hitting. Today’s game featured a great pitching matchup between Cy Young runners up Kyle Hendricks (1-1) and Gerrit Cole (1-2).
After a drama-less first inning, a rarity in recent games, the Cubs struck first in the top of the second inning. Addison Russell doubled to deep right-center and then scored on a throwing error by Alen Hanson. Jason Heyward was credited with the RBI and the pirates picked up their 20th error on the year.
From the second inning on, the game was a complete pitching duel. Hendricks seemed to return to form, only allowing 4 hits through sixth innings. Cole seemed sharper, only allowing 2 hits through six innings, with the only run coming on an error. Fan withdrawals seem to be a real thing, considering how much offense has been displayed in the past few games. Hendricks was replaced by Koji Uehara; his final stats are as follows: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0R/0ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Uehara immediately gave up lead off double to John Jaso. Jaso advanced to third on a fly ball out, bringing the infield in with one out in the inning. Uehara forced pinch hitter Jose Osuna to fly out to center field, preserving the lead.
In the eighth, Juan Nicasio relieved Cole of pitching duties. Cole’s line was equally impressive as Hendricks’, if not better: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1R/0ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Okay, Cole was more impressive. Hector Rondon took over the eighth for the Cubs, replacing Uehara. Rondon, like Uehara, pitched a scoreless frame, keeping the lead at 1-0.
Felipe Rivero worked the ninth for the Bucs, keeping the game within striking distance. Wade Davis, the most reliable reliever in the pen, came on in the ninth looking to pick up his fifth save on the year. Davis made quick work of the Bucs and gave the Cubs the 1-0 win.
Addison Russell: 1-3, 2B, R
Kyle Hendricks: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0R/0ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Gerrit Cole: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1R/0ER, 0 BB, 8 K
Kyle Hendricks looked great today; a much needed win considering how his previous starts went. Hendricks only allowed four hits through his six innings of quality work. The bullpen also was lights out when called upon, besides a Jaso double given up by Uehara. A pitching duel seemed imminent after the high amount of runs scored by the Cubs in this series and the previous. Hopefully the Cubs can leave Pittsburgh tomorrow with a series sweep. Also, here’s a little saber metric for you all at home. The last time the Cubs won without recording an RBI?… July 15, 2011 (2-1 vs. Marlins). Remember those days? I don’t want to either.
There aren’t many things that I can say today that are necessarily bad. The Cubs have been playing well as of late, especially their bullpen and offense. Winning a game 1-0 without even recording an RBI is extremely unlikely, but also a very good sign.
The Cubs return to action tomorrow to finish off their series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Tomorrow’s pitching matchup looks a little something like this: Jon Lester (0-0) vs. Tyler Glasnow (0-1).
First Pitch: 6:05 PM (ET)
Radio: 670 The Score