Well, at least the pen didn’t walk anyone?
The Cubs got a much needed win, following Jake Arrieta’s hot streak and one inning of well-placed singles and then the middle of the order acting like the middle of the order in the 5th. Carl Edwards Jr. was able to save Arrieta out of the jam he created in the 7th before Pedro Strop used up all the slack he was given. But for once, Weigh Davis had a clean 9th innings, which included skating by Josh Donaldson to end it which is not something I hope the Cubs have to do again.
Oh yeah, and Javy Baez packed a week into the last inning, because that’s just a thing he does.
-Much like his last start, Arrieta just decided to pound his sinker/fastball all day. He threw 71 of them, and just 22 of any other pitch. It touched 94-95 when he needed it but comfortably sat around 92. With Arrieta, I really only look at walks. He walked only two, because generally he doesn’t give up a lot of hits. In the first he gave up a couple bleeders which resulted in a run. Other than that, until the 7th he didn’t really face any trouble, though this Jays lineup once you get past Donaldson and Smoak really isn’t much.
-Victor Caratini had his best day in the majors, going 3-for-3, seemingly in tune with Arrieta just as he was in tune with Hendricks on Tuesday night. Caratini has a solid approach at the plate and a simple swing that I would imagine one day would see him be a very hard batter to strikeout. The Cubs aren’t particularly enamored with his catching skills yet, but I wonder if that won’t change soon.
-And then there’s Javy Baez. It’s just an amusement park in a ballplayer, including the vomit and dizziness. He homered in the bottom of the 8th to put the game at least comfortable, and then an incredible play in the top of the 9th that maybe only three other guys can make on the planet (and I don’t think one of them is Addison Russell). Of course there was also an infuriating strikeout to boot. Baez has been great the last six weeks at the plate, but I wonder if he doesn’t have to be this great to be a productive offensive player overall. He’s still below average in wRC+ and wOBA for the year. This will be a longer post soon.
-Bullpen Watch: Pedro Strop made things far more interesting than they had to be, and he was a duck snort away from having a three-up, three-down inning. Strop’s slider to day just wasn’t there, but unlike in past years he does have a fastball he can get himself out of trouble with when he needs to. It’s understandable he wanted to keep going back to his main weapon, but that’s the one Pillar and Goins hit. Hopefully this was his blip, because Strop has been really good for a while now. Let’s not lose our mud here.
-Man there were a lot of Jays fans, which sadly led to too many morons wanting to chant, “U-S-A!” As if Canada was a problem.