A Tip of the Recap — 08/23 (Cubs 5, Padres 3)

Cubs record: 80-45, 1st NL Central, (13.5 games up)

W: Jake Arrieta

L: Christian Friedrich

MVP: Jake Arrieta

Save: Aroldis Chapman (8)

EIGHTY WINS! On August 24! When the Cubs are firing on all cylinders, as was the case Tuesday night, it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Jake Arrieta took the ball and dominated from the get-go, looking like himself and shutting out the Padres in spectacular fashion over eight innings.

The defense was something else this game. From Baez barehanding a shovel pass from Russell to start a double play in the second inning, to Rizzo digging one out on another twin-killing, the infield gloves continued to show flashes of brilliance.

When it comes to the plate, Addison Russell is hot. Like, the sun plus the Greek underworld of Hades and a wood-burning pizza oven combined hot. However you describe it, it’s incredibly fun to watch a guy ride a streak like this at the plate. After going 2-5 with a double and a two-run homer to push the score to 4-0, he became the first in a long time to accomplish something special:

Every Russell plate appearance is must-see TV. Speaking of, the front-runner for NL MVP hit a solo shot when Kris Bryant smacked one in the top of the 3rd.

The wheels almost fell off the bus in the bottom of the 9th inning, but other than that t was a great game by the Cubs.

The good

JaKKKKKKe Arrieta pitched a gem at PetCo Park, hurling eight innings of two-hit, three-walk ball with six strikeouts and a ridiculous 0.63 WHIP to lower his ERA to 2.62 on the season. With Willson Contreras behind the plate, it was good to see Jake cut down his walks from the seven he issued in his previous start with the rookie catching him.

This is another step toward Arrieta being the pitcher we all know and love. It’d be great to see a return to the pinpoint control of 2015, when he walked three or more men only seven times in 33 starts, but expecting him to be that guy isn’t realistic (history doesn’t repeat itself, something, something). If this is the alternative, then bring it on. Great game by Jake.

The bad

Felix Pena came in to start the bottom of the 9th in lieu of Arrieta, but he just didn’t have it and was eventually charged with three runs. After leaving the game with one run in, two on and one out, Maddon went to Aroldis Chapman in a save situation with the tying run on deck. Chapman couldn’t strand the two baserunners, but he did get out of the inning with the save when it was all said and done.

The ugly

Nothing ugly in this game.

Coming attractions


Hendricks closes out the series against the Padres as he takes on Paul Clemens at 2:40 CST in San Diego. The NL ERA leader (wow) looks to keep it going in the best season of his career. Despite his success, the Cubs have only gone 4-4 in his last eight starts (earned runs allowed in those losses: 0, 3, 2, 1) and will look to kick this trend to the curb by busting out the brooms and finishing the sweep in style.

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