After starting the second half with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs came into Friday’s matchup on a four-game winning streak. Today’s match-up included the left-handed Jon Lester, against rookie Jack Flaherty.
Chicago’s ace Jon Lester, has been phenomenal this season. In 19 games, Lester had a record of 12-2 and an ERA of 2.58. Lester’s record at Wrigley is even more amazing, 5-1 and an ERA of just 1.98. As for the Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty, he was sporting a 3-4 record and an ERA of 3.24.
In the top of the first, Matt Carpenter took Lester deep off the right field video board, which came after a missed strike three call from the home plate umpire.
The Cardinals’ would tack on two more runs off Lester in the second inning. A double into the left field corner from former Cub, Dexter Fowler allowed Jedd Gyorko to score. Fowler would go on to score from a single up the middle from Tommy Pham. To add insult to injury, Carpenter got to bat again, and yes, he homered AGAIN. Giving the Cardinals a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
As it turned out this unusual start from Lester was far from over and only continued to get worse. In the bottom half of the second inning, Willson Contreras continued his home run surge with a solo shot to left field, making it a 5-1 game.
The Cardinals’ continued their beat-down on the Cubs in the fourth inning. Carpenter continued to thrive against Lester, leading off the inning with a double. Lester then would go on to walk Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong. With the bases loaded, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon decided Lester’s day was done.
Maddon went to Anthony Bass, who has been great out of the bullpen this season when called upon. The first batter he faced, Marcell Ozuna, singled to left scoring Carpenter. He proceeded to give up a walk to Gyorko, scoring Molina, and then walked Kolten Wong to score DeJong.
Maddon decided to go to the bullpen again, with rookie James Norwood. Norwood was finally able to get an out in the inning with a sacrifice fly from Fowler. He struck out Flaherty and allowed Pham to single, scoring two. Carpenter doubled again to bring in Pham, making it a 12-1 game.
This blowout was very unexpected and happened very quickly. The Cardinals’ took advantage of Lester’s loss of command in the first couple of innings and got to the Cubs’ bullpen early.
Brian Duensing pitched the sixth inning and allowed three runs. Can you guess who hit a three run shot? I’ll give you a hint, he already had two in the game. That’s right, Matt Carpenter hit a three-run shot into the right field basket to extend the lead to 15-1.
Tommy La Stella was brought into the bottom of the sixth, to pitch and get the final out. As crazy as it sounds, La Stella was the best Cubs pitcher they had today. La Stella’s breaking ball broke the plane at a whopping 54 MPH.
Lester went three innings, gave up seven hits, eight runs, five walks and struck out only one batter. Something was definitely off in his mechanics today. It was very strange to watch Lester have such a terrible start, since he’s usually stellar otherwise.
Flaherty’s day was done after going five innings, only allowing two hits, one run, four walks and nine strikeouts. He pitched the way Lester should have pitched today, maybe it was opposite day, I don’t know.
Matt Carpenter did not skip a single beat today, going 5-5, with seven RBI, becoming the first player in MLB history with five extra base hits in the first six innings of the game.
The Cubs tacked on four runs, and the Cardinals tacked on three more making it an 18-5 game.
The Cubs could not complete the comeback and lost, 18-5. In Saturday’s double-header, the Cubs will send Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery to the mound. Chatwood has a record of 3-5, with an ERA of 5.04. Montgomery is 3-3, with an ERA of 3.91.
The Cardinals will have Luke Weaver on the mound in game one and John Gant for game two. Weaver is sporting a 5-8 record, with an ERA of 4.72. As for Gant, he’s got a 3-3 record and an ERA of 3.49. The first game tomorrow will start at 12:05 p.m. CT, and the second game will start at 6:15 p.m. CT.
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