Extra Innings

Happy Memorial Day, Cubs fans! We thank those who have served and have given their lives to our country!

Standings

Despite dropping the series with the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs remain at the top of the NL Central by 1.5 games. It’s been an eventful week, so let’s dive right into it.

Jake Arrieta Returns

But not how you’d hope. Instead, the ex-Cub visited Wrigley Field with his new squad, the Philadelphia Phillies. Arrieta made his first career-start (ever) against the Cubs on Monday, May 20, and received many head nods and hat tips from his old teammates at home plate. He even earned a standing ovation from the fans before his first AB. Despite the 5–4 loss in extra innings, Yu Darvish went into the sixth before struggling on the mound. In the end, the Cubs offense couldn’t hang on and the Phillies walked away with the win.

Another walk-off finish

In the mid-series matchup on May 21, Jose Quintana squared off against Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin. In pure Cubs fashion, it came down to the wire, and as fate would have it, the Cubs won with a walk-off homer from Javier Báez. Kris Bryant had another stellar performance, going 3-for-4 with one walk and one run scored. Final: 3–2, Cubs.

Home Run Derby in May?

If you tuned into the game on May 22, you would have thought that the league moved up the home run derby. Every run scored by the Cubs in their 8–4 win over the Phillies came from a home run. The club was able to work around a poor outing by Cole Hamels with a trio of long balls, including a blast by Anthony Rizzo that damaged the Budweiser sign. Homers by Albert Almora, Jr. and Báez were the final nails in the Phillies’ coffin and the Cubs walked away with the W.

Split Series

Did we forget to mention that the Phillies were in town for four days? Our bad. Jon Lester pitched in the final game and it proved to be a pretty rough day for the ace. At the start of the seventh, the Cubs found themselves down 8–3. Rally attempts by David Bote, Kyle Schwarber and Rizzo put the northern bears within two, but it wouldn’t be enough and the Cubs lost 9–7, splitting the series with the Phillies, 2–2.

Déjá vu

If you were having a little bit of it, so were we. The Cubs welcomed the Reds to the north side of Chicago on May 24, for a three-game weekend series. The two teams had faced off just eight days prior and the results were kind of similar. The game began with such promise as the Cubs scored three homers in the first three innings. But what began so hot suddenly fizzled out and the Cubs scored just one more run in the remaining six innings, dropping the first game of the series 6–5.

Bote to the Rescue

Bote stepped up in the eighth to help give the Cubs a much needed rally late in the mid-series game on May 25. When Maddon called his name, Bote delivered with a go-ahead double, helping secure the runs needed for the win. With the wind blowing out, the victorious Cubs defeated the Reds, 8–6. A total of six homers complimented a seven-inning performance from Darvish, which ended with a 97 mph pitch to strike out Yasiel Puig.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Photo Credit: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Maddon goes into Save-the-Bullpen mode

We’re not sure what happened on May 26, but the Cubs dropped a 10–2 loss so bad that manage Joe Maddon resorted to sending catcher Victor Caratini to the mound to pitch the final three outs. The afternoon ballgame also saw:

  • A collision between KB and Jason Heyward in the outfield
  • Darvish go seven innings (again)
  • A rough day for Daniel Descalso

We’re just glad it’s behind us and the Cubs are now looking ahead to a road trip to Houston.

A joke turns into a check

Remember how we mentioned that Rizzo’s homer damaged the Budweiser sign on May 22? Well, we couldn’t leave it at that. As a joke, the Cubs created a fake invoice to send to Rizzo for the damage totaling $10,473. The invoice caught the attention of Budweiser and the company matched that exact amount as a donation to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation during the organization’s seventh annual Cook-off for Cancer event on May 23. Pretty neat, huh?!

More on the Cook-off for Cancer

Held every year, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation event features delicious food prepared by some of Chicago’s reputable chef’s. Cubs players and staff then serve the food to the event’s guests throughout the night. Part of the proceeds are raised through the collection of tips to the Cubs’ servers. Guests are encouraged to tip the servers of their favorite dishes throughout the night. This year’s event raised $1.8 million for cancer patients and their families.

Julianna Zobrist

While the Cubs still have no word on when Ben Zobrist plans to return to baseball, his soon to be ex-wife, Julianna, broke her silence on social media (classic). In a series of Instagram posts over the weekend, the singer/actress let fans know that she feels their love and support. On the other side, Ben fans seem to be getting anxious and are demanding answers from the Cubs on when the star will return. It seems this may take more time than fans are willing to allow.

KB and Heyward update

When Bryant and Heyward collided in the outfield in Sunday’s game, KB left the game immediately, while Heyward played until the seventh. Both stars are out of the lineup ahead of the Memorial Day game in Houston. Heyward has a sore hip, but we’re unclear about Bryant’s condition at this time…although he’s being evaluated under the concussion protocol.

A Look Ahead

The Cubs head back out on the road this next week, starting with a Memorial Day game in Houston against the Atros.

  • Mon, 5/27 Chicago Cubs @ Houston Astros, 2:10 p.m. ET
  • Tue, 5/28 Chicago Cubs @ Houston Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
  • Wed, 5/29 Chicago Cubs @ Houston Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
  • Thur, 5/30 OFF DAY
  • Fri, 5/31 Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Sat, 6/1 Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. ET
  • Sun, 6/2 Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals, 2:15 p.m. ET

Jennifer Brugh is a freelance writer, content creator and social media specialist with a Masters in sports journalism. Born and raised in northern Indiana, Jennifer enjoys following the Chicago Cubs through all the ups and downs. She low-key wants to live in a van and travel South America. You can follow her on Twitter here.