Arrieta shines, but Godley's godly outing decimates Cubs in shutout
|Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 11:23 PM- -|
CHICAGO – Experiencing baseball's version of a hangover, the Chicago Cubs were impotent at the plate on Wednesday, one day after piling on the runs in a drubbing of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mustering a measly three hits in the game proceeding a contest that saw them garner 17 hits and 16 runs, the Cubs were shut out by the D-backs, wasting a solid outing from starting pitcher Jake Arrieta en route to a 3-0 defeat.
Entering tonight's matchup with a 2.5-game advantage atop the National League Central, the Cubs became the first defending champions to begin August play with a divisional lead since the San Francisco Giants did it in 2011. Clearly not living up to the significant achievement, the Cubs did not play like defending World Series champs on Wednesday, as they struggled to create any offensive excitement against an unheralded Arizona pitcher.
God-like, to say the least, second-year Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley was stupendous in his appearance on the evening, giving up a mere three hits while walking two and striking out five. Proving to be Chicago's only three hits of the game, the Cubs collected a trio of singles off of Godley, including a surprising bunt single off the bat of slugger Kyle Schwarber, and advanced a runner into scoring position on just one occasion.
Arrieta was arguably just as dominant as Godley, though, as he was taken for just three hits and two walks to go with his eight strikeouts. If not for an erroneous throw from shortstop Addison Russell of the Cubs, Arrieta might have compiled a scoreless outing, but Arizona added two runs in the top of the sixth off of Arrieta that essentially sealed the deal and provided Arrieta (10-8) with a loss.
With a runner on first and one out in the sixth, Russell's throwing error on an A.J. Pollock grounder placed runners on the corners, producing Arrieta's first sticky situation of the contest. Pollock proceeded to steal second, which set the stage for All-Star third baseman Jake Lamb to drive home both runners, with the left-hander pulling a double to right field. Lamb, who went 2-4 on the night, came through in the clutch later in the game, as well, smacking a double into left off of Cubs newcomer Justin Wilson that scored outfielder David Peralta for Lamb's third RBI of the game.
D-backs closer Fernando Rodney earned his 23rd save of the season by sitting down the Cubs' batters in short order in the ninth, bringing an end to Arizona's dominant 3-0 win after the Diamondbacks outed 19 consecutive Chicago hitters to finish the game. Striking out nine times on the evening, the Cubs were hopeless with the bat, seeing Godley (5-4) cruise to a victory against a Cubs team that once drafted him and later traded him for catcher Miguel Montero, who has since been dealt by the Cubs himself. Perhaps inspired by the opportunity to prove his old club wrong, Godley exceeded expectations and, with 13 consecutive scoreless innings under his belt, is well on his way to becoming a certified stud on the hill.
As part of Godley's sweet revenge, the Diamondbacks avenged themselves after being embarrassed on Tuesday, improving to 61-46 in the process. The Cubs, on the other hand, fell to 57-49, despite the fact that Arrieta produced his fourth straight impressive start of allowing two or less earned runs. The Cubs will look to right the ship in tomorrow afternoon's rubber match at Wrigley Field, as aces Zack Greinke of Arizona and Jose Quintana of Chicago are set to do battle beginning at 1:20 PM CST.