Chicago Cubs, Game 38: Cubs Continue to Cruise on a Chilly Night

The Chicago Cubs wrapped up their weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4–1 victory on Sunday night. This game was played in cold weather and light rain all night long, but the Cubs were able to fight through the elements and pull out a key win.

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. Photo Credit: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

This win puts the Cubs two games ahead of these Brewers for the NL Central division lead, and the St. Louis Cardinals now fall into a tie for third place with the team that beat them on Sunday — the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Here is how Sunday’s action went down:

The Offense

It took awhile for the Cubs to get a lot going on the offensive end in this one, but by the end of it they were able to put four runs on the board.

The first run came in an unimpressive, yet highly effective, fashion, as Kris Bryant scored on a ground out by Willson Contreras in the bottom of the first inning. The second run was much more exciting as Bryant came around to score on an opposite-field double by Javier Baez in the fifth, and that play proved to be the game-winning run.

Just to be safe, Bryant launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning. That bomb was his fifth in his last eight games and ever since he switched to the axe-handle bat he has been on fire, raising his numbers up to a .257 AVG and a .929 OPS on the season.

The Pitching

Jon Lester got the start for the Cubs, and he gave them everything that he had as he threw 116 pitches over 6 2/3 innings of work. He kind of had to because of their 15-inning marathon on Saturday, but he made every pitch count as he allowed just one earned run, nine hits, and a solid 6:1 K:BB en route to a quality start.

The bullpen continued to shut down the opposition on Sunday. Brandon Kintzler came in to clean up the seventh inning, and posted a scoreless frame in the eighth as he allowed just one baserunner (on a walk) while striking out one more in 1 1/3 IP. Steve Cishek came in to give the team a perfect inning in the ninth, and in doing so he earned his second save of the season.

Coming Up

The Cubs will have an off-day on Monday, and then begin a six-day road trip that will see them face the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals in a pair of three-game series. With both of those teams currently owning records under .500, this could be a good opportunity for the Cubs to keep rolling and work on building their lead in the NL Central.

Stay tuned here to see how everything plays out in the upcoming week!