Hammel, Cubs Shine Bright in Win Over Rangers

Jason Hammel (8-5, 3.34 ERA) hadn’t won a game since June 4 and you can bet he was itching to change that. He pitched a masterful game today for the Chicago Cubs (55-35) as they completely shut down the Texas Rangers (54-38) by the score of 3-1 (Box Score).

For his part, Hammel has rarely looked better than he did today, pitching six strong innings, allowing one run on three hits. The only run he allowed was due to a wacky series of plays in the second inning that saw Addison Russell throw wide to first, followed by Anthony Rizzo’s airmail throw home (allowing a runner to score), followed by Miguel Montero’s laser to get the runner out at second base. Personally, I thought the throw by Rizzo would’ve been ruled an error but it wasn’t.

On the offensive side, the Cubs only had four hits but also drew six walks. They showed exceptional plate discipline today. That’s something they weren’t as good at coming into the all-star break so it’s very good to see them persevering.

Anthony Rizzo drove in the Cubs first two runs in the bottom of the third inning off a sharply hit ball that careened off the right field wall, settling in the corner. That play was a result of a lead-off *walk* by Montero and a single by Tommy La Stella.

Matt Szczur, pinch hitting for Hammel, singled in an insurance run the bottom of the sixth inning. That run was a result of a single by Willson Contreras and a two-out *walk* by Miguel Montero. Another walk that led to a run in a tight game.

Stats that mattered

  • Hammel looked nearly un-hittable today –  6.0IP, 1R, 3H, 1BB, 7Ks
  • Hats off to the Bullpen who were sensational – 3.0IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB, 2Ks
  • Miguel Montero had 2 big walks that directly contributed to all three runs

Bottom line

The Cubs can get the sweep tomorrow over the Rangers and kick the second half off with a big morale boost – not to mention a big boost in the standings too. The boys have come back from the break as if it were the magic elixir they so badly needed. They look focused, patient and ready to make a run in the second half.

Next up

The Cubs close out the series tomorrow at 1:20 PM CDT against the Rangers. John Lackey (7-5, 3.70 ERA), a Texas boy himself, will take the hill as the Cubs go for the sweep.

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