Swarmer continues to impress this season (Matt Marton - USA Today Sports)
Swarmer continues to impress this season (Matt Marton - USA Today Sports)

Swarmer dazzles as Cubs take down Cards


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - Don't look now, but these Chicago Cubs (23-30) are starting to look more like the Chicago/Iowa Cubs. You can see why when you consider the injuries, the loaded schedule this week, and the constant roster crunch and shuffling.

Maybe it is a good thing to have more of these Iowa players come up to big league club because they have continued to produce. Matt Swarmer is one of those guys as he was making his second start. After allowing one earned run against the Brewers in his first start, Swarmer was back at it again on Saturday as he held the St. Louis Cardinals (30-23) to just two hits across six innings and allowed one run for the second straight outing.

Should he continue to perform this way, it would be nearly impossible for the Cubs to send him back as his strong in Iowa has carried over to the MLB side. Opposing Swarmer was Johan Oviedo, who gave the Cardinals five ok innings allowing three runs on five hits. When you have a guy in Swarmer throwing as good as he threw, runs were hard to come by as the Cubs took game one of the double header 6-1.

Looking to continue their trend of scoring early, the Cubs let an opportunity get away in the first after putting a few runners on base via base on balls. Oviedo struggled with his command in the second hitting Nico Hoerner to lead things off before walking Rafael Ortega shortly after.

A Clint Frazier single loaded the bases as Christopher Morel put the Cubs in front for good 1-0 with an RBI groundout. That score continued to hold up through four-plus innings as Swarmer was making quick work of the Cardinals, while the Cubs offense had no trouble putting guys on base against Oviedo.

Their problem was getting guys home, and you had to think that those types of situations would come back to bite them later on. Frank Schwindel did his part to push a run home as he drove in himself with a solo shot to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Still batting in the fifth and with two outs, Hoerner extended the inning with a single and then raced around the bases to score on an Ortega double as the Cubs led 3-0.

Although not a huge lead, when you consider Swarmer's pitching up to this point, the 3-0 may have well been 10-0. However, this is the Cardinals, and you had to think it was only a matter of time before they cashed in. That time was in the top of the sixth as Tommy Edman took Swarmer deep to end the shutout, but the Cubs still led 3-1 as it was now becoming a battle of the bullpens.

Jake Woodford was the first and the only pitcher, the Cardinals, called on for relief as Oliver Marmol wanted to save his pen for game two. This season, Woodford has been solid most of the time, but he was not at his best in the sixth.

Nick Madrigal led things off by reaching base via a base on balls and then advanced to third off the Morel double. Madrigal would eventually be gunned down at home on a fielders choice, but the Cubs didn't come away empty-handed as Ian Happ delivered a sacrifice fly while Schwindel picked up an RBI single to make things 5-1.

After struggling for most of the season, Schwindel is starting to like the 2021 version of himself as he has combined with Happ and Patrick Wisdom to deliver 25 home runs and more than 80 RBIs. With Swarmer out of the game, David Ross called on Brandon Hughes in the seventh, who ran into trouble by allowing two singles.

Scott Effross relieved Hughes at that point and was able to keep the Cardinals off the board with the Cubs still leading 5-1. The Cubs managed to bring home another run in the bottom half of the eighth as Madrigal and Morel singled to lead things off before Happ brought home Morel to make things 6-1.

That would be all the Cubs offense would need as Rowan Wick entered in the eighth inning and finished off the Cardinals as he allowed one hit and struck out three across his outing. Morel continues his fantastic run atop the Cubs order as he collected three more hits.

He was joined by Schwindel and his three-hit, two RBI day as he is now hitting close to .250. The Cubs also received multi-hit efforts from Hoerner and Madrigal as they continue to play well in recent weeks.

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