Extra Innings: April Catch-Up

Catcher Willson Contreras waits to high five third baseman David Bote in the Cubs 2–1 win over the Diamond backs on April 21. Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

We’re back! Missed us? We hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday last weekend. We have a lot to get to between the last two weeks, so we’re going to try to keep this short and sweet.

Standings

  • The Chicago Cubs are now second in the Central and are just two and a half games back.
  • Milwaukee lost on Sunday, April 28, to the Mets, allowing the Cubs to secure the second spot.

On a Roll

The Cubs climbed above .500 with their 7–2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, April 23. Jose Quintana led the charge from the mound, going seven innings and striking out seven. The offense had Kenta Maeda’s number from the beginning, forcing the starter out of the game by the 4th inning.

Three’s company

In the second game of the series on Wednesday, April 24, the Cubs deflated the Dodgers with not one, but two 3-run home runs in the 6th inning. Cole Hamels allowed three runs in just 5 1/3 innings pitched, but that seemed to be what the Cubs needed to light the fire in their bellies. After some late nail-bitter innings, the Cubs finished on top 7–6.

Sweep avoided

It’s as if they felt sorry for the the two 3-run homers the night before? Who knows. Regardless, the Cubs gave up a series sweep, losing to the Dodgers 2–1 on Thursday, April 25. Jon Lester made his first start since the Cub’s home opener on April 8th. The veteran pitcher went four innings before Maddon pulled him. Offensively, the Cubs fell silent, boasting just seven hits and three walks in nine innings of work.

D-backs Get the Best

The club packed their bags and headed out West to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The desert did not offer a warm welcome, as the Cubs fell to the D-backs 3–8 in the series opener on Friday, April 26. Kyle Hendricks, who has been struggling a bit this season, gave up three runs in the first and only made it five innings before being pulled. The Cubs attempted a comeback in the second and third, but failed to score the rest of the game.

Yu Delivers

Yu Darvish posted his best start of the season on Saturday, April 27, going six solid innings with just one earned run. He struck out eight batters in the process. David Bote proved to us, yet again, why he deserves his starting spot. The third baseman continued to give the D-backs problems after his walk-off grand slam on Easter Sunday (more on that later). Bote was key in the Cubs 9–1 win on Saturday, having his first career multi-homer game.

Sunday Funday

The Cubs played their first extra-innings game this season in the series finale on Sunday, April 28. The contest was the longest between the two ball clubs, lasting 15 innings. The game was tied up in the 6th inning and remained that way until Ben Zobrist came off the bench in a time of need to help the Cubs secure the win in the top of the 15th inning.


Easter Week

The week leading up to Easter weekend saw the Cubs sweep the Marlins in Miami and then go 2–1 in a weekend series at home against the D-backs (I know! Crazy that we’d play the D-backs so close together).

Reel’em In

Between all three games in Miami, the Cubs gave up just two runs, both of which came in the contest on Monday, April 15. The Cubs defeated the Fish 7–2, keeping Darvish in the good graces of Cubs fans everywhere.

Shoutouts

In the next two games of the series, the Cubs shutout the Marlins 4–0 (April 16) and 6–0 (April 17), respectively. Quintana logged seven shutout innings and for the first time this season, went into the eighth inning in Tuesday’s 4–0 win. Hamels followed Q’s performance with with seven scoreless innings of his own in the clubs 6–0 win on Wednesday.

Welcome, D-backs

On the Friday, April 19, the Cubs welcomed the D-backs to Wrigley field with a stunning performance from Hendricks. The right-hander had the best start yet this season with a stunning 11K, 3H, 7IP outing.

Blustery Day

The Cubs struggled in Easter eve’s contest, facing a windy day that proved too much … or maybe it was the D-backs’ Zack Greinke that was too much. Either way, the Cubs were shut out 0–6 and could not put that one behind them fast enough.

Easter Sunday

If going to a baseball game is your kind of church, then this was probably the best Easter Sunday you’ve had thus far. The Cubs didn’t let the Saturday night loss effect them much, keeping the D-backs in check with a 2–1 Easter win. But it wasn’t the win that had everyone talking. Bote’s quick exit after his walk-off single had everyone’s attention. But it’s not what you’d think…

Congrats to Bote and his wife on the arrival of Sullivan Bote!

More Cubs News

Manager Joe Maddon became the league’s third-fastest manager to reach 400 regular season wins. The beloved manager reached the milestone after the Cubs 9–1 victory over the D-backs on April 27.

El Mago

We all know how great Javier Baez is defensively, with all of his moves and el mago tricks that have helped the Cubs out of a lot jams. But how good is he offensively? We’re glad you asked. Baez currently leads the Cubs batting order in the following:

  • Batting average — .333
  • Runs scored — 23
  • Home Runs — 9
  • RBIs — 22

Jason Heyward owns stolen bases with four.

A Look Ahead

The Cubs will have an off day on Monday, April 29, to travel out to Seattle for a quick two-game series. They will follow that with another off day on Thursday, May 2, before beginning a long stretch at home.

  • Tue, 4/30 Chicago Cubs @ Seattle Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET
  • Wed, 5/1 Chicago Cubs @ Seattle Mariners, 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Fri, 5/3 Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 2:20 p.m. ET
  • Sat, 5/4 Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Sun, 5/5 Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 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.