October Baseball 2018
The Cubs chase to the World Series

October Baseball

2018 Cubs 
Playoff Chase

October 2, 2018

A great season with a very frustrating ending.  After scoring just one run in a 3-1 loss to the Brewers the day before, the Rockies shut down the Cubs bats, allowing just one run in 13 innings to defeat the Cubs 2-1 and advance to the NLDS.  

Javier Baez drove in the only Cubs run with a single scoring Terrance Gore (who pinch ran for Anthony Rizzo and stole 2nd base in front of Baez's single) in the 8th inning to tie the game 1-1.  

Jon Lester gave up a 1st inning run, but pitched a great 6 innings.  Cubs used 2 starting pitchers in relief, Cole Hamels & Kyle Hendricks.  Hendricks gave up the winning run in the 13th inning.  


Game 163:

The Cubs and Brewers have a one game playoff to determine who wins the NL Central and who goes into the playoffs as a wild card team.  

Jose Quintana (Cubs) and Jhoulys Chacin (Brewers) both pitched very well giving up just one run each.  Anthony Rizzo homered for the Cubs only run.  

Lorenzo Cain's RBI single is the winning run in a 3-1 Cubs victory.  The Brewers won 8 straight games to end the season and steal the NL Central from the Cubs.  


September 30

Cubs got the win, but the Brewers won their 7th game in a row, and 9 out of 10 to tie the Cubs at 95-74 for the season.  The Cubs and Brewers will play Monday, 10/1 to determine who wins the NL Central and who plays a one game wild card playoff game on Tuesday, 10/2.  

September 29

One of the best pitcher's duel of the season between the Cardinals, Miles Mikolas and the Cubs, Cole Hamels ends with a 2-1 Cardinals victory.  The first 2 Cardinal hits were RBI singles to center field.  Cubs scored their only run on an error by Cardinals second baseman, Yairo Munoz.  

September 28

This game was very encouraging in many ways.  One, they really needed the win to maintain a slim 1 game lead.  Two, Kyle Hendricks kept up pitching as well as he has been all season, going 8 full innings, giving up just 2 runs.  Third, Kris Bryant, who has struggled in the 2nd half with injuries (first a shoulder, lately a wrist), hit a home run on this day to extend an early Cubs lead.  Cubs added a few more insurance runs in the 9th and held on to a 1 game lead as the Brewers continued to win, this one over Detroit.  

September 27

Jon Lester struggled some with his command, but really battled and pitched a great game.  The Cubs were facing the Pirates, Trevor Williams who has the best ERA in the 2nd half of the season.  David Bote got a big triple, driving in 2 runs with 2 outs and the Cubs win a huge game, 3-0 over the Pirates.  Steve Cishak, Carl Edwards Jr & Jesse Chavez combine with Lester on a 4-hit shutout.  

September 26

Wow, after losing 2 straight and the NL Central down to .5 games, this game was tough to watch.  Cubs looked great early, a big home run by Jason Heyward and the Cubs get out to a 6-1 lead, but the Pirates come back and score 2 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th until Albert Almora wins it for the Cubs 7-6 in 10 innings.   

September 25

Cubs face the guy they traded away years ago, Chris Archer, who pitched very well.  Rookie, Pablo Reyes hit a 3-run home run and a 6-0 Pirates victory reduces Cubs NL Central lead to just .5 games after a Brewers victory over the Cardinals.  

September 24

Cubs offense struggled again, but against a very good pitcher, Jameson Taillon, of the Pirates.  Cole Hamels pitched fairly and accounted for the only Cubs runs with a long home run to center field.  Pirates defeat Cubs 5-1 at Wrigley Field.  

September 23

Another very important win for the Cubs as Kyle Hendricks pitched great and the Cubs bats did very well early off White Sox starter, Carlos Rodon.  Kyle Schwarber homered.  

September 22

Cubs lead in NL Central is shrinking as they play the 2nd game against the White Sox.    Jon Lester struggled to get through 5 innings. 

Javy Baez homered in the 1st inning and a misplayed fly ball by Ryan LaMarre helped the Cubs score 3 runs in the 4th inning.

Cubs lead 5-3 into the 9th inning and break it open scoring 3 more runs to get an important 8-3 win over the White Sox.  Sunday's game will decide who wins this series.

September 21

Cubs travel to the south side to face the White Sox for a 3 game series.  Jose Quintana struggled against his former team and the bullpen wasn't much better as the White Sox take the first game of the series, 10-4.  

September 19

After playing 2 great games in Arizona, the Cubs had an awful game on Wednesday.  Cubs managed just one hit against Diamondbacks, Robbie Ray and Arizona relievers and Cole Hamels had his worse outing with the Cubs since joining the team this summer.  

Cubs finally get a day off (first this month) before a 3 game series vs the White Sox.  

September 18

For the 2nd straight game, the Cubs bats did well.  Javier Baez homered for the 2nd straight game. Daniel Murphy homered which was very encouraging because he had not been hitting well lately. 

Mike Montgomery gave the Cubs a solid 6 innings, giving up just one run. 

Cubs coast in this one to a 9-1 victory.  They go for the sweep on Wednesday.   


September 17

A very encouraging game for the Cubs.  Kyle Hendricks pitched great, nearly pitching a complete game before being pulled in the 9th inning.  

The Cubs offense looked good despite facing one of the best pitchers in the league, Patrick Corbin.  Javier Baez and Kris Bryant homered for the Cubs in 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Arizona.  

Current Series: Reds vs Mets at Wrigley Field

  • Fri: Cubs 3 Reds 2
  • Sat: Cubs 1 Reds 0
  • Sun: Cubs 2 Reds 1

September 16

The Cubs bats continue to struggle.  Luis Castillo is a good, young pitcher who has done well against the Cubs and he nearly finished 7 full innings and Amir Garrett and Rasiel Iglesias shut down the Cubs for the final 2 1/3 innings.  Reds scored both runs on home runs off Jose Quintana.  Joe Maddon pinch hit for Quintana early so the bullpen did their part to shut the Reds down.  

September 15

Cubs bats continue to struggle, but the pitching has been great.  Jon Lester pitched 7 solid innings.  With Pedro Strop now out for the regular season and Brandon Morrow still a few days away from returning to the bullpen, the Cubs appear to be doing a closer by committee and Joe Maddon managed it very well today.  Justin Wilson pitched a solid 8th inning and in the 9th, Jesse Chavez got the first out, gave up a hit, but Randy Rosario came in to get Joey Votto out on a long drive to center field and Steve Cishek closed it out getting Eugenio Suarez to ground out.  

September 14

Cubs travel back to Wrigley after the game in Washington and the line-up did struggle early against the Reds, Matt Harvey. 

Cole Hamels got out of some jams and pitched well enough to leave the game giving up just 2
runs to the Reds. 

But in the 7th inning, Victor Caratini singled and David Bote reached on a bad hop fielding error by Eugenio Suarez and Ian Happ homered to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

An overworked Cubs bullpen got a big lift from new guys Dillon Maples & Jaime Garcia to get them to the 9th inning. 

With Pedro Strop injured and Brandon Morrow not yet ready to return from injury, the Cubs had Jorge Delarosa begin the 9th inning.  Curt Casali doubled with one out in the 9th and Delarosa walked Billy Hamilton, but he got Scott Schebler to fly out to center field for an important win. 

September 13

Cubs had to interrupt their home stand to fly to Washington for a make-up game.  I heard news that Anthony Rizzo actually wore his uniform on the flight to Washington, luv it!!  

This was a very good game.  The Nationals are nearly out of the playoff chase, but have been playing great lately.  

Spencer Kieboom homers for the Nationals to give them a 1-0 lead.  Javier Baez drove in a run with a double and scored on Victor Caratini's single.  Later, Baez also homered and gave the Cubs a lead in the top of the 10th with a bunt with runners on first and third.  

Hopefully, Pedro Strop is alright.  Joe Maddon let him bat in the 10th and he nearly beat out a ground ball, but was limping after crossing first base.  Randy Rosario came in to close the game out in the 10th as he gets his first career save and the Cubs get a big 4-3 win to give them a 1.5 game lead over the Brewers, who did not play on Thursday, 9/13.  


Brewers vs Cubs at Wrigley Field

Monday, September 10 to September 12

  • Mon: Brewers 3 Cubs 2
  • Tues: Cubs 3 Brewers 0
  • Wed: Brewers 5 Cubs 1

September 12

Brewers pitching did the Cubs in again on Wednesday to reduce the Cubs lead in the NL Central to just one game (3.5 over Cardinals).  The Cubs were making good contact off Chase Anderson and surprisingly, Brewers manager, Craig Counsel took him out after just 4 innings, but the bullpen again pitched very well.  

The game was very close, 2-1 into the 9th inning, but the Brewers scored 3 in the ninth to win it 5-1.  The top of the Brewers order did the damage, Curtis Granderson, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas.  

For the series, Josh Hader pitched 3 scoreless innings in relief, striking out 9 of the 10 Cubs batters he faced.  

September 11

A great game for the Cubs as they faced the possibility of the Brewers tying them for the NL Central lead.

Jose Quintana looked great, nearly completing the 7th inning.  Justin Wilson came in to help preserve the shutout for Quintana and the Cubs.

It was the 2nd inning where the Cubs were able to score off Jhoulys Chacin who has pitched very well against the Cubs all year. 

Ben Zobrist reached on an error and stole 2nd base.  Javier Baez walked and he got to 2nd base and Zobrist to third base on a infield ground out by Tommy LaStella.

Victor Caratini had a great long at bat and when Chacin made a wild pick-off throw to 2nd base, the Cubs had the first run of the game.  Caratini hit a soft line drive single that Jonathan Schoop couldn't handle and the Cubs had a 2-0 lead. 

Caratini drove in the Cubs 3rd run of the game in the 7th inning. 

Pedro Strop came in to close out the game.  Addison Russell got the first out on a great play to throw out Ryan Braun.   Strop closes it out for a 2 game Cubs lead over the Brewers.  

September 10

The Brewers got a big victory on Monday as they move to just one game behind the Cubs for the NL Central lead.  

Jon Lester was struggling early giving up runs in both the first and second innings, but Cubs did score in the first as well and tied the game in the 5th inning on a sacrifice fly by Kris Bryant with the bases loaded.  It was good that they tied the game, but it was a missed opportunity to get a big hit and score more runs.  

The Brewers put runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 6th against Lester who appeared to be in pain after a few pitches.  He left the game with a stiff back and Carl Edwards Jr first pitch relieving Lester was a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score.  

The Brewers bullpen was dominant. Josh Hader pitched the 7th and 8th innings and struck out all 6 batters that he faced.  Jeremy Jeffress got the first 2 outs in the 9th, but Willson Contreras had a good at bat and drew a walk.  Terrence Gore pinch ran for him and stole second base, but pinch-hitter Tommy LaStella struck out leaving the tying run on 2nd base.  Cubs need to, at minimum, split the final 2 games of the series to maintain their lead in the NL Central.  




Nationals vs. Cubs at Nationals Park

Thursday, September 6 to Sunday, September 9

  • Thur: Cubs 6 Nationals 4, 10 innings
  • Fri: Rained out
  • Sat: Nationals 10 Cubs 3, Nationals 6 Cubs 5
  • Sun: Rained out

September 8

An awful development for the Cubs as a Thursday night rain out takes Jon Lester's spot out of the rotation and the Cubs let Jaime Garcia make his first start with the Cubs against Max Scherzer.  I don't think the Cubs expected Garcia to pitch many innings in the game, but he couldn't get out of the first inning and the Nationals scoring 3 early runs on their way to a route of the Cubs 10-3.  

The 2nd game of the doubleheader looked great early as Victor Caratini got the first Cubs hit in the 4th inning, but it was a grand slam.  Cole Hamels couldn't get out of the 6th inning and Bryce Harper's 7th inning, 2-run home run gave the Nats a 6-5 win and sweep of the Cubs.  

September 6

If you ask the question, who has been the most pleasant surprise on the 2018 Cubs, without a doubt, you would hear David Bote a whole lot.  Bote has been involved with multiple walk-off victories at Wrigley Field, but this time, it was his RBI double in the top of the 10th inning that helped the Cubs get a 6-4 victory.  

Kyle Hendricks struggled, giving up 4 runs, although only one was an earned run through 5 innings.  The bullpen had another great game for the Cubs, especially Justin Wilson who really saved the game getting 2 outs with runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 8th inning.  \

Offensively, this was a very balanced attack as many players, including those coming off the bench played very well.  The sixth run was driven in by Taylor Davis, a catcher that was called up from AAA after the rosters expanded in September.  


Brewers vs Cubs at Miller Park (Milwaukee)

Monday, September 3 to Wednesday, September 5

  • Mon: Brewers 4 Cubs 3
  • Tue: Brewers 11 Cubs 1
  • Wed: Cubs 6 Brewers 4

September 5

Cubs get an important victory and avoid a Brewers sweep.  So, 3 games off the schedule and a 5 game lead over the Brewers goes down to 4 games is overall a very good result.  

September 4

Cubs have been playing so well lately that you had to figure that a really bad game was coming soon.  It certainly was that on this Tuesday evening in Milwaukee after Labor Day.  

The game was in reach until an awful 6th inning when Addison Russell made an error, Victor Caratini couldn't handle one of Russell's throws to first base and Javy Baez got caught out of position to let a weak pop up drop into short right field while he was standing at second base waiting for a throw.  Dillon Maples really struggled with his command and the inning ended with a 6-1 Brewers lead.  The Brewers continued to pound the Cubs relief pitching, in a rare poor performance by the Cubs bullpen.  

An important game on Wednesday to avoid a Brewers sweep in Milwaukee.  

Anthony Rizzo left this game after fouling a ball off his foot.  He was in the lineup the next day.  


September 3

A tough loss for the Cubs.  Cole Hamels pitched well enough to get a win, pitching 6 innings and giving up 2 runs in the 5th inning.  

It looked good in the 8th inning when Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run home run off Josh Hader, the first lefthander to homer off the Brewers lefty reliever.  

But Carl Edwards had a difficult time both with the strike zone and how the umpire was calling balls and strikes.  I watched this game and I don't recall another game where more batters were frustrated with the umpire.  At one point, Joe Maddon came out of the dugout when it looked like Kyle Schwarber was going to get thrown out of the the game and at least 2 Brewers batters were complaining as well.  Edwards did give up the lead in the 8th inning.  

More command troubles in the 9th inning, this time it was Steve Cishek who walked and hit a batter.  When Christian Yelich grounded to Kris Bryant at third base with the bases loaded, Bryant had a tough decision, throw home to cut down the winning run or try to tag third and throw to first for an inning ending double play.  Yelich barely beat Victor Caratini's throw to first base as the Brewers were a walk-off winner in the first game of the series.  



 Phillies vs Cubs at Citizen's Bank Park (Philadelphia)

Friday, August 31 to Sunday, September 2

  • Fri: Phillies 2 Cubs 1
  • Sat:Cubs 7 Phillies 1
  • Sun: Cubs 8 Phillies 1

September 2

Another great game for the Cubs, facing Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola, the Cubs were able to hit 3 home runs off Nola (Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rizzo & Javier Baez).  

Jon Lester looked a little shaky early, but he was able to shut down the Phillies not allowing a run.  The bullpen was once again very good, only giving up a meaningless run in the 9th inning.  


September 1

Cubs are hitting their stride at a good time.  On this night, Kyle Hendricks was pitching well, the bats got started early and continued to put the pressure on their way to a 7-1 win.  The bullpen again did a great job.

Some more bright spots were seeing the return of both Kris Bryant & Addison Russell.  Bryant started the game and had 2 hits.  I saw an interview with Joe Maddon that indicated Russell would be eased back into the line-up since he did not get rehab time in the minors like Bryant did.  Russell did pinch-hit in the game and came in to play defense.  

The winner of Sunday's game take the series as both the Phils and Cubs have each won one game thus far.  

August 31

A great start for Jose Quintana on a rainy night in Philly.  Nick Pivetta pitched very well for the Phillies as Cubs could only score on a Javy Baez home run. 

Justin Wilson & Jorge Delarosa pitched well in relief, but in the 10th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera's solo home run in the 10th inning off Steve Cishek for a 2-1 Phillies win.  


Braves vs Cubs at Sun Trust Park, Atlanta

Thursday, August 30 (make-up game)

Thur: Cubs 5 Braves 4

August 30

Another great win for the Cubs.  Cubs had to travel to Atlanta for one game to make up for a May rained out game with Mike Montgomery pitching his first game after coming off the disabled list and facing one of the best pitchers in the NL, Mike Foltynewicz.

The Cubs got off to an early lead on a few hits and an error on a throw to home plate.  

Mike Montgomery was pitching well until the Braves took the lead in the 5th inning scoring 3 runs.  

But the Cubs come right back with Tommy LaStella hit a pinch-hit 2-run home run off Foltynewicz.  

Again, the bullpen did a great job, pitching 4 2/3 scoreless relief innings to let the Cubs hold on to a 5-4 victory.  



  Mets vs Cubs at Wrigley Field:

Monday, August 27th to Wednesday, August 29th

  • Monday:  Cubs 7 Mets 4
  • Tuesday:  Cubs 2 Mets 1, 11 innings (completed on 8/29)
  • Wednesday: Mets 10 Cubs 3

August 29

It started out bad and got worse for the Cubs on this day as Todd Frazier hit a grand slam in the first inning off Alec Mills.  Mills pitched well after this, but the bullpen struggled and the Mets ended up with a 10-3 win.  The Cubs 7 game winning streak ends, but they win the Mets series 2 games to 1 before heading on a long road trip.  

August 28

Cole Hamels continued looking like Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 as he is able to match Jacob Degrom and the Mets.  The game goes into extra innings tied 1-1 and is suspended and completed the next day.  Ben Zobrist wins it for the Cubs with a bases-loaded RBI single in the 11th for a 2-1 Cubs win.

August 27

A marquee pitching match as Jon Lester & Noah Syndergaard face off on a hot, steamy night with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. 

Each pitcher did struggle early as Lester gave up a run in the first and the Cubs scored after getting 4 hits off Syndergaard in the first. 

Kevin Plawecki tied the game in the 7th inning 4-4 when he homered off Steve Cishek. 

Anthony Rizzo & Ben Zobrist had back to back doubles in the 7th to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Cubs add another run in the inning and take a 6-4 lead into the 8th inning.  Rizzo's 8th inning home run gave the Cubs a 7-4 lead. 

After Pedro Strop gave up a hit and a walk, Joe Maddon pulled him.  After Jay Bruce singled, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out.    Jessie Chavez struck out Amed Rosario & ex-Cub, Austin Jackson for the Cubs sixth straight win.  



Cubs vs Reds at Wrigley Field

Thursday, August 23 to Sunday, August 26

  • Thur: Cubs 7 Reds 1
  • Fri:     Cubs 3 Reds 2, 10 innings
  • Sat:    Cubs 10 Reds 6
  • Sun:   Cubs 9 Reds 0


August 26

Another very complete game for the Cubs as they sweep the Reds at Wrigley Field.  Kyle Hendricks looked great, the bullpen was great and the offense scored early and often.  

The home runs for the Cubs on this day were by David Bote & Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward, who had been struggling recently had 4 hits, 3 runs scored & 2 RBI.  



August 25

A very solid game both pitching, hitting and defense for the Cubs as they guarantee a series win versus the Reds taking the third game in a row 10-6.  

One of the very encouraging parts of this game was Jose Quintana.  There have been many games this year where Quintana was pitching well until one inning where things sort of blow up for him.  He had one of these "blow-up" type innings in the 4th, but came back to pitch well in the 5th.  It seems like most games this year, he ended up getting pulled during these types of innings.  

The last time I saw Daniel Murphy hit back to back home runs, it was when he tormenting the Cubs in the 2015 NLDS.  Watching him go deep for the 2nd day in a row at Wrigley was much better this time around.  Javy Baez & Kyle Schwarber also homered and it was  a very balanced attack with others being part of the offense as well.  

Cubs go for the sweep Sunday at Wrigley against the Reds.  



August 24

One of the best  games of the year for the Cubs.  Alec Mills was brought up from AAA to start the game due to very few days off in the schedule and injuries.  But Mills pitched very well, giving up just one run in 5 innings.  The bullpen continued to pitch well and it looked like the Cubs would get a win on Daniel Murphy's first home run as a Cub in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.  But Eugenio Suarez tied it 2-2 in the 9th with a home run.  In the 10th inning, David Bote continued his amazing streak of late game heroics with a walk-off home run off Rasiel Iglesias in the 10th inning.  

August 23

The Cubs come back to Wrigley Field and really put everything together on this Thursday night.  Cole Hamels continued his great success since joining the team, pitching the Cubs first complete game of the year in a 7-1 Cubs victory.  

Hamels complete game is even more important considering that Alec Mills is making his first ever start with the Cubs on Friday with both Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood now on the disabled list.  

For the offense, Javier Baez hit a long home run and Anthony Rizzo stayed hot with an early home run as well.  


  Cubs vs Tigers in Detroit

Tuesday, August 21 to Wednesday, August 22

  • Tue:  Tigers 2 Cubs 1
  • Wed: Cubs 8 Tigers 2

August 22

The Cubs bats continued to struggle early in the game against Francisco Liriano of the Tigers,  but David Bote's 2-run home run in the 5th inning got the Cubs off to an early lead.

Jon Lester pitched very well for his 2nd straight game (after struggling after all-star break) and the Cubs bullpen continued pitching very well as the Cubs earned a split of the quick 2 game series with an 8-2 win over the Tigers in Detroit.  

August 21

For the 5th straight game, the Cubs score 1 run and each game the one run scored on a home run.  In this game, it was Anthony Rizzo who accounted for the only Cubs run.  

The Cubs did add a great hitter to their line-up today, making a trade with the Nationals to pick up Daniel Murphy.  It'll be interesting to see how Cubs fans react to him after his great success against the Cubs in the 2015 playoffs while he was with the Mets.  Murphy homered in all 4 games of a 4-0 series sweep for the Mets over the Cubs.  




Cubs vs Pirates in Pittsburgh

Thursday, August 16 to Sunday, August 19

  • Thur: Cubs 1 Pirates 0
  • Fri:     Cubs 1 Pirates 0
  • Sat:     Pirates 3 Cubs 1
  • Sun:   Pirates 2 Cubs 1, 11 innings  

August 19

Well, the Pirates split the 4 game series with an 11th inning win over the Cubs.  Adam Frazier who hit the big double on Saturday in the 3 run Pirates rally that won that game, hits the walk-off home run for a 2-1 victory. 

the good news: The Cubs pitching staff was great this series.  4 solid starts and great relief pitching allowed the Pirates to score just 5 runs in 4 games. 

the bad news:  Each game, the Cubs scored just one run, and each game it was on a solo home run. 

The Cubs get a day off on Monday, 8/20 to travel to Detroit to face the Tigers in a 2 game series to finish this road trip.  They will travel back to Chicago on Thursday, 8/23 to face the Reds. 

August 18

This series continues to be very well pitched by both the Cubs and the Pirates.  Tyler Chatwood gave up 3 early runs, but he was pitching on short notice after Mike Montgomery went to the disabled list this week.  He struggled with walking batters again so Joe Maddon pulled him after he led off the 3rd inning with a walk.  The bullpen pitched 7 scoreless innings of relief.  But Joe Musgrove and the Pirates bullpen were even better.  For the 3rd straight game, the Cubs get one run on a solo home run.  Thursday it was Ian Happ, Friday it was Kyle Schwarber and on this Saturday, it was Ben Zobrist.  

August 17

For the 2nd straight night, the Cubs shut out the Pirates and score their only run with a solo home run.  Thursday, it was Ian Happ and on this Friday it was Kyle Schwarber.  

It is the first time in 45 years that the Cubs win back to back 1-0 games.  In 1973, on April 17th, Fergie Jenkins and the Cubs defeated the Mets and Tom Seaver 1-0.  On April 18th, Ray Burris, Larry Gura & Jack Aker shut out the Mets 1-0.  

Another piece of Cubs and MLB history, the Cubs tied an MLB record with an amazing 7 double plays in this game.  


August 16

With the Cubs rotation struggling, it was great to see Jon Lester return to great form against the Pirates.  Ivan Nova also shut down the Cubs, but one run was enough to give the Cubs a win in the first game of a 4 game series.  





Cubs vs Brewers at Wrigley Field

Tuesday, August 14 to Wednesday August 15

Tue: Brewers 7 Cubs 0

Wed: Cubs 8 Brewers 4

August 15

Cubs bats came alive to split the series with the Brewers.  Kyle Hendricks pitched well and the bullpen helped hold on to an early Cubs lead.  Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in 3 runs.  Albert Almora homered and Jason Heyward had 3 hits.  

August 14

The Brewers bats were on display early and often when Lorenzo Cain led off the game with a home run off the Cubs, Jose Quintana and Ryan Braun gave the Brewers an early 3-0 lead with a 2-run home run.  Braun will hit another home run later in the game (that looked like a reply of the first).  

Quintana gave up 5 runs in 5 innings and the Cubs bats had no answer for Jhoulys Chacin who gave up just 3 hits over 7 strong innings.  

Cubs will try to split the series with the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon with Kyle Hendricks pitching.  



 Cubs versus Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field

Friday, August 11 to Sunday, August 13

  • Fri:  Cubs 3 Nationals 2
  • Sat: Nationals 9 Cubs 4
  • Sunday: Cubs 4 Nationals 3

One of the best games in 2018 for the Cubs was not at all great early on.  Max Scherzer was great for the Nationals, but Cole Hamels was great as well. 

When the Nationals scored 2 runs in the top of the 9th to take a 3-0 lead it looked like the Cubs were heading to defeat. 

But after the first 2 outs were recorded in the 9th, Jason Heyward reached on an error by Wilmer Difo, both Albert Almore & Willson Contreras were hit by pitches by Ryan Madsen.   That set the stage for David Bote who hit a walk-off grand slam for a 4-3 Cubs victory.






August 11

A very frustrating game for the Cubs on Saturday against the Nationals.  Jon Lester had a great first half, but has really struggled in the 2nd half and he had a very poor outing against the Nationals, giving up 2 home runs to Ryan Zimmerman, 9 runs (8 earned) and 10 hits in just 3 2/3 innings.  

The Cubs pitching staff is the team's biggest concern right now.  They face a very difficult chore in winning this series facing Cy Young candidate, Max Scherzer Sunday night with Cole Hamels pitching for the Cubs.  It is an ESPN game.  


August 10

Cubs hitting has not been that great lately.  They were shut out in the final game of the Royals series and only scored 8 runs in those 3 games.

On Friday, the Nationals Jeremy Hellickson had a no-hitter against the Cubs with 2 outs in the 6th inning.  Anthony Rizzo than had a great at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch in a 13 pitch at bat that ended in a walk.  Hellickson than walked Javier Baez & Ben Zobrist. 

Even with a no-hitter going, Dave Martinez took Hellickson out of the game to let Sammy Solis face Jason Heyward.  Heyward got the Cubs first hit of the game, driving in 2 runs to tie the game and break up the no-hitter. 

In the 7th, the Cubs were able to string 3 hits together (Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ & Addison Russell) and Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead when he walked for the third time in the game. 

The Cubs bullpen has been great more often than not lately and 5 Cubs relievers shut down the Nationals for the final 3 innings to preserve a 3-2 victory. 

Kyle Hendricks struggled a little early in the game, giving up single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings, but he went 6 innings and didn't walk a batter for his 2nd straight game to keep the Cubs within striking distance of the Nationals. 



Cubs travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals

Monday, August 6 to Wednesday August 8

  • Mon: Cubs 3 Royals 1
  • Tue:   Cubs 5 Royals 0
  • Wed: Royals 9 Cubs 0

August 8

Jose Quintana was pitching well as the game went into the 7th inning with the Royals leading 2-0.  Adalberto's 3-run home run in the 7th gave the Royals a 5-0 lead and Tyler Chatwood struggled in the 8th, giving up an additional 4 runs in the 8th inning. 

Cubs win the series 2 games to 1. 

Cubs have a travel day on Thursday as the return home for a 6 game home stand against the Nationals and the 2nd place, Milwaukee Brewers. 

August 7

For the 2nd straight game, the Cubs pitching does a great job in Kansas City
against the Royals.  On Tuesday, it was Mike Montgomery going 6 scoreless innings and the bullpen finished it off with 3 scoreless innings. On offense, David Bote tripled and had 3 RBI. 

Cubs go for the sweep on Wednesday against the Royals. 

August 6

Cole Hamels had his 2nd consecutive solid start with the Cubs.  Javier Baez had a home run, double & 2 RBI and Ben Zobrist, returning to Kansas City for the 1st time since he helped them win the World Series in 2015 got a nice standing ovation in his first at bat and tripled and scored the first run for the Cubs.  



Cubs vs Padres at Wrigley Field

Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5


  • Thur: Padres 6 Cubs 1
  • Fri:     Cubs 5 Padres 4
  • Sat:    Cubs 5 Padres 4
  • Sun:   Padres 10 Cubs 6

August 5

Jon Lester struggled early, giving up home runs to Freddy Galvis in the 2nd inning and Franmil Reyes in the 4th inning.  He went 5 innings and gave up 5 runs.  

The Cubs offense was able to come back and tie the game in the 7th inning.  The offense was led by Javier Baez & Anthony Rizzo had the game-tying RBI single as a pinch-hitter, but the bullpen struggled after being used quite a bit in this series.

Cubs starters have struggled to get past the 5th and 6th innings since the All-Star break.  Today it showed as Carl Edwards gave up a run in the 8th inning to let the Padres take back the lead and Randy Rosario walked 2 and gave up 4 hits and 4 runs to the Padres in the 9th.  Ben Zobrist 9th inning home run came up short as Padres split the 4 game series (2-2) with a 10-6 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  


August 4

This game started out great, the Padres had a last minute change to the starting rotation and Walker Lockett started just his 2nd MLB game on short notice.  The Cubs got to him right away, scoring 5 runs in the 2nd, highlighted by home runs by Kyle Schwarber & Anthony Rizzo.  But Lockett really came back well and shut out the Cubs until the 5th inning.

For Kyle Hendricks, he looked very good early until the Padres 3 runs in the 4th.  Hendricks gave up another run in the 6th before exiting the game.  The bullpen, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler & Pedro Strop were excellent. They did not give up either a hit or a walk and struck out 5 in 3 1/3 innings. 

The Brewers defeated the Rockies to stay within 1 game of the Cubs lead in the
NL Central. 

August 3

Cubs got a good start from Jose Quintana, who gave up 4 hits and a run in 6 innings.  Pedro Strop struggled in the 9th inning, giving up 2 runs, but he was able to hold on to a 3 run lead to preserve a Cubs victory.

Anthony Rizzo & Javier Baez continued their hot hitting as both hit homers, Rizzo had 3 hits and Baez added an important triple in the 8th inning that added an important insurance run.  

Cubs had a great chance to extend the NL Central lead to 2 games with the Brewers trailing against the Rockies, but former Cubs closer Wade Davis walked 2 batters in the ninth and gave up a walk-off 3-run home run to Eric Thames.  

August 2

Padres 6 Cubs 1 at Wrigley Field

Cubs struggled against the Padres in the first of a 4 game series at home versus the Padres.  Mike Montgomery did a good job getting out of some early jams, but left the game in the 6th inning when Jesse Chavez, who has been great out of the bullpen since the Cubs picked him up recently, gave up a 3-run home run to Austin Hedges. 

For the bullpen, Justin Wilson & Brian Duensing also gave up runs as well in
the 7th and 8th innings. 

Padres pitching completely shut down the Cubs offense.  Cubs scored one run
to take a 1-0 lead in the 5th inning, but only managed 3 hits the entire game.
Robbie Erlin got the win for the Cubs and 4 Padres relief pitchers combined
for 4 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 4 strikeouts and no walks. 

It'll be Tyson Ross for the Padres pitching against Jose Quintana on Friday
afternoon at Wrigley Field.  

August 1

A very big win for the Cubs against the Pirates.  It was nice to see a very
balanced offensive attack without much benefit from home runs (Willson Contreras extended the Cubs lead to 9-1 with the first home run of the game). 

And Cubs fans got a good look at the new Cubs pitching staff as Cole Hamels looked as good as he did when he was a top pitcher for the Phillies in his Cubs debut. 

Brandon Kintzler also pitched well in his Cubs debut.  And Tyler Chatwood made his first relief appearance as a Cub.  He did walk another batter (his big
problem all year), but closed the game out when he got a double play grounder.


July 31

After a much needed day off, the Cubs begin a 2 game series in Pittsburgh
against the Pirates. 

Jon Lester gave up 3 runs to the Pirates on a David Freese double followed
by a home run by Francisco Cervelli. 

The Cubs come back and tie the game when Javier Baez hits his 22nd home run
of the season and the 3 RBI give him an NL leading 82 RBI. 

Freese gives the Pirates the lead back with another double in the fifth inning.

Lester was only able to complete 5 innings, and the bullpen does well until
Gregory Polanco hits a home run in the 8th inning for a 5-3 Pirates lead.

That run was important as the Cubs did score in the 9th on an Addison Russell RBI double.  The ninth rally fell one run short and the Cubs take the loss.

The Cubs will try to split the quick series on Wednesday evening in Pittsburgh
as Cole Hamels makes his Cubs debut against Nick Kingham. 




Cubs and Pirates series

Tuesday, July 31 to Wednesday, August 1

Tue:  Jon Lester vs Jameson Taillon  

Wed:  Cole Hamels vs Nick Kingham


Who's hot for the Cubs?

7 day stats for Cubs players (Fangraphs):

  • Ben Zobrist, 8 for 17, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, and a walk
  • David Bote, 4 for 11, 2B, HR, 2 RBI and a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo, 8 for 30, 3 HR's, 5 RBI, 4 Runs, and a walk

Who's hot for the Pirates?

7 day stats for Pirates players:

  • Corey Dickerson, 3 for 6, double, triple, 2 RBI, 3 runs and a walk
  • Adam Frazier, 6 for 15 with 4 doubles
  • Gregory Polanco, 10 for 27, 2 double, a triple, a home run, 4 RBI, 5 runs and 2 walks
  • Jordy Mercer, 7 for 22, 2 doubles
  • Josh Harrison, 5 for 16, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 5 runs scored
  • Starling Marte 5 for 16, home run, 5 RBI and 3 runs scored
  • David Freese, 6 for 20, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, 4 walks and 4 runs scored


Nick Kingham vs Cubs

  • 5/29/2018 5 2/3 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks
  • 6/9/2018  6 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

Who has hit Kingman well?

  • Ben Zobrist, 2 for 6, HR and 3 RBI
  • Jason Heyward, 3 for 6, two doubles
  • Jon Lester, 2 for 5, RBI

Who's struggled against Kingham?

  • Willson Contreras, 0 for 4, strikeout and walk
  • Addison Russell, 1 for 6, strikeout

Jameson Taillon has not pitched against the Cubs in 2018

Who has hit Taillon well?  (Career stats)

  • Anthony Rizzo, 8 for 13, 2 HR's, one double, 5 RBI, walk
  • Javier Baez, 6 for 10, 3 doubles, HR, 2 RBI
  • Willson Contreras, 2 for 6, 2 doubles, 3 RBI

Who's struggled against Taillon?

  • Kris Bryant, 2 for 12, double, HR
  • Addison Russell, 0 for 7, 5 strikeouts




Pirate hitters against Jon Lester (career)
Good

  • Jordy Mercer, 8 for 30, 4 doubles, HR, 4 RBI
  • Austin Meadows, 3 for 6, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI
  • Josh Bell, 5 for 14, HR, 4 RBI, 2 walks
  • Elias Diaz, 2 for 7, 2B, HR, RBI

Bad:

  • Jordan Luplow, 0-3, 3 strikeouts
  • Gregory Polanco, 1 for 11, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

Lester 2018 vs Pirates (2-0)

  • 4/11/2018 5 IP, 7 Hits, 4 Earned Runs, 3 Strikeouts, 3 walks
  • 5/29/2018 6 IP, 8 Hits, 4 Earned Runs, 6 Strikeouts, 0 Walks
  • 6/9/2018 7IP, 1 Hit, 0 Earned runs, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

Sean Rodriguez 3-run home run off Lester  (4/11)
Austin Meadows double and homer off Lester (5/29)

Hamels, 3-3  in 10 career appearances vs Pirates 2.93 ERA
Cole Hamels hasn't faced the Pirates since 2016

Pirate hitters (career) against Cole Hamels 

Good

  • Starling Marte: 6 for 15, double, HR
  • David Freese: 5 for 16, 2 Doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
  • Corey Dickerson: 1 for 1, 1 walk

Bad:

  • Jordy Mercer: 1 for 9
  • Gregory Polanco:  0 for 3


July 29

It didn't look good early for the Cubs and Kyle Hendricks, but Hendricks really came back to pitch a great game to salvage the final game of the Cardinals series and avoid a sweep.  

The Cubs get a day off on Monday, 7/30 and travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates for 2 games.  


July 28

The Cardinals jumped on the Cubs, Jose Quintana early scoring 6 runs in the 1st inning, the big hit being a grand slam by Marcel Ozuna.  For the 2nd straight day, the Cubs hitting only manages scoring runs via the home run.  Cubs score just 2 runs on Javier Baez's 2-run home run.  

The bullpen was great for the Cubs.  New acquisition, Jesse Chavez pitched 3 scoreless innings after Quintana only finished 3 innings.  Steve Cishek & Corey Mazzoni also pitched scoreless innings.  

The Cardinals have won this series and go for the sweep on Sunday night baseball.  Hopefully, the national audience will help the Cubs performance tonight.  Kyle Hendricks pitches for the Cubs against the Cardinals, John Gant.  

More news: Yu Darvish has been throwing bullpen sessions both at Wrigley Field and in St. Louis.  Cubs will get some help in the starting rotation this week when newly acquired Cole Hamels pitches his first game for the Cubs Wednesday against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  


July 27

Luke Weaver had struggled in 3 starts versus the Cubs this year, but he pitched much better in this outing.  He went six innings, did not walk a batter and gave up 8 hits with the only two runs coming on solo home runs by Anthony Rizzo & Javier Baez.    

Mike Montgomery had a similar problem with having a lot of guys on base and getting out of jams early until the Cardinals scored 2 in the 3rd inning and 3 in the 4th inning to take the lead.  Montgomery gave up 12 hits in just 5 innings.  

The Cubs bullpen had another good outing as Randy Rosario pitched a scoreless inning with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks and Alec Mills made his Cubs debut and pitched 2 hitless innings to keep the game within reach, but the Cardinals relievers were just as good as they shut out the Cubs without a hit in the final 3 innings as well.  


Next Series;  Cubs versus Cardinals in St. Louis 

Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29

The Cubs and Diamondbacks have a 4 game series that certainly resembled postseason baseball.  Cubs had a tough time with the Dbacks, who pitched very well in the series and the Cubs needed a dramatic walk-off win on Thursday to split the series 2 games to 2.  

The Cubs have now played 9 games in 8 days and do not get a break as they travel to St. Louis for a 3 game series versus the Cardinals.  The season series with the Cardinals is very close as the Cardinals have won 7 games to the Cubs 6.  The Cubs did just win the Cardinals series at Wrigley last weekend 3 games to 2.  

Friday Night:  Mike Montgomery pitching for the Cubs

Montgomery has faced the Cardinals 3 times in 2018.  

  • May 5:  I IP, 0 runs, 0 hits (relief pitcher)
  • May 6: 3 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits (relief pitcher)
  • July 21 (game 2): 6 IP, 1 run, 5 hits (starting pitcher)

Luke Weaver pitching for Cardinals (Friday, 7/27)

Weaver versus the Cubs in 2018

  • April 19: 4 IP, 6 runs, 9 hits
  • May 5: 4 IP, 4 runs, 6 hits
  • July 21 (game 1): 4 IP, 3 runs, 7 hits



Who's hot for the Cubs & Cardinals (stats from Fangraphs for 7 day period ending on Thur, 7/26).  Slash line is average, obp & slugging %

Cardinals:

  • Matt Carpenter: .423/.516/1.115, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 8 Runs scored
  • Yadier Molina:  .304/.414/.478, HR & SB
  • Yairo Munoz: .350/.409/.650, HR, 6 RBI, 2 Runs scored
  • Dexter Fowler: .286/.407/.524, HR, 4 RBI, 6 Runs scored
  • Tommy Pham: .304/.407/.391, 5 RBI, 5 Runs scored

Cubs:

  • Anthony Rizzo: .407/.543/.593, HR, 5 RBI, 2 Runs scored
  • Ben Zobrist: .429/.500/.429, 3 Runs scored, 1 RBI
  • Willson Contreras: .273/.385/.409, 1 HR, 1 SB, 3 RBI, 3 Runs scored
  • Kyle Schwarber: .238/.370/.429, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 Runs scored


July 23

Cubs had a difficult situation with 6 games in 5 days coming out of the All-Star break.  Joe Maddon's decision was to either come back with Kyle Hendricks on 3 days rest or use a starting pitcher from the bullpen or the minor leagues.  His decision was to pitch Luke Farrell, who has started in the minor leagues this year, but with the Cubs has primarily pitched out of the bullpen.  

This decision didn't pay off as Farrell faced 9 Diamondback hitters in the first inning, giving up 5 runs as the Diamondbacks cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley.  Joe Maddon, as he did against the Cardinals, wanted to save the Cubs bullpen and brought position player, Victor Caratini in to pitch in the 8th inning.  I'm glad I stayed up just late enough to watch him bring in Anthony Rizzo to get the final batter out in the top of the 9th.  





July24

The Diamondbacks take the 2nd game of the series in another well pitched game.  This one was by veteran Clay Buchholz.  Kyle Hendricks lasted 5 innings, getting out of some early inning trouble until giving up 3 runs in the 5th.  Cubs had a chance in the 7th inning when they loaded the bases, but Archie Bradley got out of it without giving up a run. 

Cubs will try to split the series with 2 day games on Wednesday & Thursday.

July 25

Jon Lester (Cubs) & Robby Ray (Diamondbacks) were both pitching very well as Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the 7th inning when AJ Pollock hit a home run off Lester, driving him out of the game and tying the game 1-1.  

In the 8th inning, the Cubs benefitted by 2 Dbacks errors, the first on a throwing error on a ball hit out in front of the plate by Javier Baez.  Baez was pinch-hitting, sitting out with a knee injury, which was noticeable as he was running to first and to second after the ball was thrown past first base.  The 2nd error was with runners on 1st and 3rd and 1 out when Jason Heyward (also pinch-hitting) hit a soft grounder to second base and shortstop Nick Ahmed bare handed the toss to 2nd base and threw wildly to first allowing Baez to score the winning run in a 2-1 Cubs victory.  

Carl Edwards pitched 2 hitless innings with 2 strikeouts and Pedro Strop gave up just one hit (a flyball that Jason Heyward lost in the sun) to finish off the Diamondbacks and earn the save.  

After losing the first two games of this series, this was an important victory.  And while the Cubs were winning against the Dbacks, the Brewers were losing to the Nationals to take their NL Central lead back to 2.5 games.  



July 26

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting games of the 2018 season for the Cubs.  Cubs starting pitcher, Tyler Chatwood walked 6 batters and was pulled in the 5th inning with runners on base and Brian Duensing gave up a grand slam to Nick Ahmed.  Diamondbacks appeared to be heading foran easy victory with 6-1 lead, but the Cubs came back slowly at first, scoring 2 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th inning.  In the 9th inning, Ben Zobrist walks to lead off the inning, Javier Baez lines out to centerfield and than David Bote ties the game with a 2-run home run off Dbacks closer, Brad Boxberger.  After Bote's dramatic HR to tie the game, Anthony Rizzo, playing in his 1,000 career game and having not homered in the month of July hits a long walk-off home run to right field. 

There are several news reports also indicating that the Cubs have acquired Cole Hamels from the Rangers to help the Cubs starting pitching rotation.







Cubs begin the 2nd half of the season with an important 5 game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals.  So far in 2018, the Cardinals have won 5 of the 8 games against the Cubs.  

A few Cubs who have done well against the Cardinals:

  • Anthony Rizzo is 10 for 38  (.323/.421/.452), a double and a homer
  • Javier Baez is 11 for 31 (.393/.452/.821), a double, triple and 3 home runs
  • Albert Almora is 8 for 20 (.400/.385/.450) with a double.

Cubs vs Cardinals:

5 game series from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday July 22:

July 19: A familiar game for the 2018 Cubs.  Starting pitcher, Kyle Hendricks struggled, throwing over 100 pitches in just 4 2/3 innings, but the bullpen pitched well enough for the bats to win the game 9-6.  A very balanced effort with solid contributions from Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo,  Victor Caratini & Ian Happ

July 20: Ouch, Cardinals jump on Jon Lester early and the Cardinals cruise to an 18-5 victory.  Matt Carpenter has an amazing day with 3 home runs, 2 doubles and 7 RBI.  

A friend of mine and I call Joe Maddon "Uncle Joe" for some of the crazy things he will do.  Uncle Joe took over on this Friday as Maddon let 3 position players (Tommy LaStella, Victor Caratini & Ian Happ) pitch to save the Cubs bullpen.  

July 21: Cubs split a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

In game 1, Tyler Chatwood went 5 1/3 innings, walked 6 but only gave up one hit and one run.   The bullpen allowed the Cubs hitting to take a 7-2 win. 

In game 2, Mike Montgomery pitched well, but this time the Cubs bullpen could not hold an early lead, allowing the Cardinals to score in the 7th, tie the game 3-3 in the 8th and the Cardinals scored 3 in the 9th to get the lead.  Matt Carpenter hit another home run.  He has hit 6 home runs in this series (4 games) and has now set a team record by homering in 6 consecutive games. 

Both teams have won 2 games in the series so Sunday's result will determine who wins the series. 

July 22: Cubs got a good starting pitching performance from Jose Quintana.  Milos Mikolas was pitching well for the Cardinals, but Cardinals manager, Mike Schildt pulled him early for a pinch-hitter and the Cubs hit well against the Cardinals bullpen.  Kyle Schwarber homered, Willson Contreras drove in 2 runs and Anthony Rizzo continued to bat leadoff and do well (a walk, 2 hits and an RBI.