The Chicago Cubs continued their quick road trip in Miami on Tuesday, beating the Marlins 4–0.
This game featured a lot of what the Cubs have been doing recently; improved performance by the starting pitcher (which was Jose Quintana in this one), timely hitting and key production from the offense, and scoreless outings by the relievers to shut the game down. Tuesday’s victory was a great win for the Cubs, and hopefully they can continue to produce results like these in the coming games and series.
Here is how it went down:
Jose Quintana posted his second dominant start in a row as he logged seven shutout innings of work once again, and this outing marks the first time that a Cubs starter has gone into the eighth inning this season. This time he allowed 6 H, 0 BB, and recorded 7 K in just over 7 IP (he allowed a single to Rosell Herrera to start the bottom of the eighth before being pulled), and he continued to do an excellent job of hitting his spots all night long.
Quintana has really turned things on since his dud-outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 5, when he allowed 8 ER on 8 H over just 3 innings. Since then, he has not allowed any runs (earned or unearned) over his last two starts — spanning 14 IP — and he has dropped his ERA from 10.80 after his Milwaukee start to a much more appealing 3.43. Q has been on fire his last two times on the mound, and hopefully he can carry that feeling for as long as he can.
The first man to come in after Quintana was Brandon Kintzler. He got the first batter he faced to ground into a double play, but things got a little hairy when he allowed the next two men to reach base, with the tying run at the plate. Jorge Alfaro hit a deep drive into center field, but Albert Almora caught the ball on the warning track (two steps shy of the wall) to end the inning and keep the shutout intact.
Pedro Strop came in for the ninth inning in a non-save situation (after the Cubs scored an insurance run in the top half of the frame), and pitched a 1–2–3 outing.
Tuesday night’s game continues a recent strong stretch by the bullpen, and if the rest of the starting rotation can rise to that level of performance, then this team could be positioned to make a big run very soon.
The Cubs were unable to bunch up their scoring opportunities in this one, as each of the four runs they scored came in separate innings. The first run came in the third on a RBI single by Daniel Descalso, allowing David Bote to score from second base, after he led the inning off with a deep fly ball to right field that resulted in a double.
They were able to string several quality at-bats together in the top of the fourth inning, as they sent seven batters to the plate. Although, they had a pair of plate appearances with the bases loaded, they were only able to push one run across on an infield ground out by Bote.
Baez's solo home run | 04/17/2019
Javier Baez launches a solo home run over the right-center-field wall, increasing the Cubs' lead to 3-0 in the top of…
The last two runs came in each of the last two innings, starting with a solo home run by Javier Baez in the eighth and ending with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist in the ninth.
Baez (3-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI) continues his own recent hot streak, as he picked up three hits for the third game in a row. The Cubs also saw strong performances from Bote (2-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB), Descalso (2-for-3, 2 BB, 1 RBI), and Jason Heyward (2-for-4) — who is having a great season for himself so far with a .362 AVG and 1.096 OPS.
Although the Cubs didn’t score a bunch of runs Tuesday night, they benefited from receiving a great outing from Quintana that allowed them to not have to score a lot in order to win. The 2–0 lead they had in the middle innings felt like a five-run lead, and once Baez hit his solo home run in the top of the eighth it felt like the lead had expanded to an eight-run mark instead. If the pitching staff can continue to perform as well as they have the last few times out, that could help lessen the burden on the offense and allow them to settle in a little more.
The Cubs will finish this quick road trip against the Marlins on Wednesday with another night game (7:10 ET/6:10 PM CT scheduled start time). Veteran southpaw Cole Hamels (3.79 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) will take the mound for Chicago, and young right-hander Sandy Alcantara (4.24 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) will toe the rubber for Miami.
After their series finale, the Cubs will have Thursday off for travel before picking up a week-long home stand that features a pair of three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.