Tip of the Recap – 5/8 (Cubs 4, Nationals 3)

Cubs Record: 24-6 (1st in NL Central; 7.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh)

W: Wood (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)

L: Treinen (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)

MVP: Trevor Cahill

Javier Baez drove a 88 mph slider from Blake Treinen into the left field bleachers to walk it off in the bottom of the 13th inning against the Nationals after Cubs pitching took the bat out of Bryce Harper’s hands, putting him on base 7 times (6 via the walk, 1 via a hit by pitch). This completed a 4-game sweep, and a 7-game sweep of both the Pirates and Nationals to continue this impressive run they’ve been on since the season started. The Cubs are the first team since the 1984 Tigers to win at least 24 of its first 30 games and they have now won 13 out of their last 14 games.

The Good

Trevor Cahill led off the bottom of the 8th to hit for himself and smoked an Oliver Perez (yeah, he’s still pitching in the majors) offering back up the middle to get on base and start the sequence of events that tied the game up. Oh, he also pitched 3 innings of shutout ball in relief of Jake Arrieta. No biggie. His mother would be proud.

Adam Warren, Justin Grimm, and Travis Wood also held the Nationals scoreless. Their innings weren’t without some drama, though. Both Warren and Grimm intentionally walked Bryce Harper to load the bases with 2 outs, and both times Ryan Zimmerman came up short.

Kris “Sparkles” Bryant came up big in the 7th to drive in Trevor Cahill and Jason Heyward to tie the game up and almost won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run dinger. Unfortunately, he flied out to the warning track.

The Bad

Jake Arrieta was not on top of his stuff today. He had issues controlling his pitches, and it showed as he labored through his 5 innings of work. I’m not overly concerned about the start because it’s unrealistic to expect Arrieta to be damn near inhuman with his pitching every time he takes the bump for the Cubs.

The Ugly

Not only was the defense in the field ugly, but the work behind the plate was also atrocious. Kris Bryant missed a bouncing ball that allowed Harper to score from first. There was some spin on the ball, so it wasn’t as though it was a routine play, but it seemed like Bryant just didn’t open his glove up all the way. Arrieta made an error while attempting to field a Roark grounder with men on first and third and no outs. Zobrist had a chance to start a double play on a ball hit right to him so Arrieta could get out of the 4th unscathed, but it ate him up and he had to settle for one out, which allowed the Wilson Ramos to score from third. Tim Fedorowicz wasn’t great behind the plate, but that can be attributed to him being a fourth string catcher and having never caught Jake Arrieta. He had some trouble keeping balls in front of him.

I’m not sure if the umpire was inconsistent with what he called strikes or the Pitch Trax was off, but it sure seemed like the umpire consistently missed pitches that were in the strike zone. It was difficult to tell what was a strike and what was not, even without having Pitch Trax available.

Coming Attractions

Jon Lester (3-1, 1.58 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) and Cesar Vargas (0-1, 1.10 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) will square off at Wrigley Field tomorrow as the Cubs play the Padres for the first time this season. They split the season series last year, with the Cubs going 1-2 against the priests from San Diego at Wrigley. First pitch is at 7:05 PM local time.

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