After splitting a four-game series with the San Diego Padres, the Chicago Cubs headed to Kauffman Stadium to take on the Kansas City Royals. Monday night started a three-game set.
With the Royals coming in with a four-game losing streak, the Cubs looked to get back in the win column. On the mound for Kansas City was Jakob Junis. Not having the best year, he came in sporting a 6-11 record, with an ERA of 5.12. As for the North Siders’ they had Cole Hamels, making his second appearance as a Cub. Hamels came into the game with a 6-9 record, and a 4.53 ERA.
The Cubs would not get to Junis until the top of the 4th. With a leadoff triple from Ben Zobrist, Junis bailed the Cubs offense out with a wild pitch, tying the game. Just as the Cubs were able to tie the game up, the rain began to come down in buckets, a rain delay was now in session.
After about a 20-minute rain delay, the game was resumed.
Both teams struggled with runners in scoring position all night, as it strongly showed in the fifth inning. In the top of the 5th, the Cubs loaded the bases with only one out and came out of that inning with no runs to show for it. As for the bottom half, the Royals had bases loaded, and didn’t get anything out of it.
Where would the Chicago Cubs be without Javier Baez this season? I’ve wondered this a lot. Baez has single handily saved the team many times this season, he’s easily been the MVP of the 2018 Cubs. With NL MVP Kris Bryant back and forth on the DL and Captain Anthony Rizzo‘s inconsistency, Baez has been the only consistent hitter. Without Baez, the Cubs might not even be battling for first place, let alone thinking about October baseball.
In the top of the 6th, he mashed his 25th home run of the year, breaking the tie, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Junis’ night was over after going 5 innings, allowing 5 hits & one run. He did have the Cubs hitters looking silly at times as he struck out 8 and only allowed 1 walk. As for Hamels, he went 6 innings and allowed 7 hits. He did allow 1 run & only struck out two. Hamels in two starts with the Cubs now holds a 0.82 ERA.
Baez would continue to keep his foot on the gas pedal, as he doubled in the top of the 8th, extending the lead to 3-1, and picking up his second RBI of the night.
The Cubs would use a total of four pitchers in this game including Hamels. Cishek & Kintzler shut down the Royals lineup, going a combined two innings pitched & only allowing one hit. Pedro Strop was called upon in the bottom of the 9th to secure the victory in game one & he did just that.
The Cubs were able to pull away with this game, thanks to Javier Baez and the pitching staff tonight. Mike Montgomery will take the mound tomorrow night. Montgomery is sporting a 3-4 record with an ERA of 3.90. For the Royals, they have Brad Keller on the mound. Keller has a 4-4 record and a 3.39 ERA.
Follow Tianna on Twitter: @TiannaFarias –Feature Photo Credit: John Sleezer/TNS