Okay, so the Cubs’ 8-1 win last night in Cincinnati wasn’t quite as impressive as the 16-0 win on Thursday night that included Jake Arrieta’s second career no-hitter, but if that’s the “B” game, then this team is going to win a lot of baseball games.
At 13-4, the Cubs own the best record in baseball (Washington would tie that mark with a win today against Minnesota) and the scary part for the rest of the league is that they’re only getting better. The pitching staff has been stellar and the offense is starting to catch up. Dexter Fowler has been solid all season, leading the team with a .377 batting average and a crazy on-base percentage of .500, and Javier Baez is hitting .353 since he came off the disabled list. However, the core of the lineup has been struggling for hits, as evidenced by some of the sub-to-low-.200 batting averages. Yet, they have been showing patience at the plate and drawing plenty of walks. Only two of the key players on the roster have an OBP less than .300. However, the Cubs’ bats have gone crazy over the last couple of nights.
Collectively, the Cubs have gone 27-for-78 in this series, which amounts to a .346 average. They’ve scored 24 runs in two games on those 27 hits, including seven home runs. Kris Bryant hit two on Thursday night alone and Anthony Rizzo has gone deep in each of the last three games. The Cubs would obviously like to see some of the batting averages continue to rise and the strikeout count to fall, but things look to be moving in the right direction for the North Siders.
They’ll try to continue the momentum tonight against Dan Straily. The 27-year-old right-hander doesn’t have much experience facing this Cubs lineup, so it will be interesting to see if Chicago can get to him early and rattle his confidence.
Going for the Cubs tonight is undefeated John Lackey, who’ll be looking for the first 4-0 start of his career.
Here’s everything else you need to know about tonight’s matchup.
Chicago Cubs (13-4) at Cincinnati Reds (8-9)
Time: 6:10 PM CT
Location: Great American Ball Park
Radio: 670 The Score
Starting Pitchers: John Lackey (3-0, 3.66 ERA) vs Dan Straily (0-0, 2.70 ERA)