The Chicago Cubs took the second game of their three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 9–1. This victory puts them in sole possession of third place in the NL Central, and they now sit just 2 1/2 games behind in the division. Given how poor of a start the Cubs got off to the fact that they are this close in the division race is an encouraging sign, especially since they still have plenty of room to grow.
This particular game saw starting pitcher Yu Darvish walk a tightrope early on but settled in to give the team a quality start, and David Bote drove in over half of the team’s nine runs. The Cubs got strong contributions from their offense and their pitchers today, and if they keep building on this momentum they can continue to climb the division ladder.
Here is how it went down:
The lineup got things rolling early as they posted five runs in the third inning, and all of them came with two outs. The first run of the game came on a balk by Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley (a former Cubs draft pick who was sent to Arizona in the Miguel Montero trade). Anthony Rizzo followed that up with an RBI double that scored Kris Bryant, and two batters later David Bote launched a 469-foot home run that brought three runs across the plate.
Statcast: Bote's 469-ft. 3-run HR | 04/28/2019
Statcast measures the exit velocity, launch angle and projected HR distance on David Bote's mammoth three-run homer in…
Bote was far from finished, as he hit another home run in the fifth inning. That one was a two-run shot, and that gave him the first multi-home run game of his career. The drama was far from over as he got hit by a pitch in his following at bat, and although he was originally frustrated (and the benches and bullpens all cleared) cooler heads prevailed and everything continued on with no issues. Bote finished the day 2-for-4 with those 2 HR and 5 RBI.
The Cubs continued their theme of scoring during the odd-innings, as the last two runs they tallied came in the top of the seventh. The first of those two came on a no-doubt blast by Rizzo (who went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, 3 R, and that long bomb), and the second came on an RBI single by Jason Heyward (who reached base three times with a pair of walks on top of his base knock).
Rizzo's 5th homer of the year | 04/28/2019
Rizzo's 5th homer of the year
Rizzo's 5th homer of the yearwww.mlb.com
Overall the Cubs lineup posted 9 R, 12 H, 7 XBH, and they had four players record at least two hits. The big thing was that they received better performances from their big-name players. Rizzo had his solid day at the plate, Bryant made a lot of good contact and got a double out of it, and Kyle Schwarber hit a pair of doubles (one of which he earned with his hustle out of the box). If these guys can pick up the slack while continuing to get solid production out of the other guys, things could get even better for this crew.
Yu Darvish got the start for the Cubs in this one, and things started off in a very uninspiring fashion. He loaded up the bases in the first inning with just one out, but managed to get out of it without allowing any runs. It was a similar story in the second as he walked a pair of batters with two outs in the inning, but he finished the frame and allowed nary a run.
From that point on things got a lot better for Darvish, as he ended up posting his first quality start in a Cubs uniform since May 20 last season. This outing was also the first time that he has completed six innings of work this year, as well as the first time he threw over 100 pitches in a game since this date last year (April 27).
Darvish finished his outing with a final line of 2 H, 1 ER, 8:4 K:BB over 6 IP.
The relievers put the nail in the coffin from there, as Kyle Ryan (2 IP, 2 K) and Allen Webster (1 IP) combined to throw three perfect innings out of the ‘pen. Ryan has been especially good since joining the bullpen, as he has posted a 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a .147 batting average against in his nine appearances.
The Cubs will finish their weekend set against the Diamondbacks with a rubber match scheduled to start at 3:10 PM CT. Jose Quintana (3.21 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) will get the start for the Cubs, and he has been on fire recently. He has completed at least seven innings of work in each of his last three outings, and has allowed just one earned run and tallied a 25:3 K:BB in that span.
Arizona will give the ball to Luke Weaver (3.33 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), and he has also been pitching well as of late. He has allowed just one earned run and owns a 16:2 K:BB over his last two starts (11 1/3 IP), but he has not fared well against the Cubs in his career with a 9.00 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, and only a 1.5 K/BB rate in six career starts against them (totalling 25 IP).
After that the Cubs will have an off day on Monday, then head north to take part in a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners. The Cubs have not yet named their starters for that set, but the Mariners are scheduling Felix Hernandez (3.91 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) and Marco Gonzales (2.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) to toe the rubber in those games.