Cubs sweep Reds behind Baez's grand slam
|Thursday, May 18, 2017, 5:52 PM- -|
CHICAGO – Everyone was worried about the Cubs, but it turns out that a series with the Reds would help right the ship. A massive grand slam from Javier Baez in the first inning gave the Cubs the lead which they kept, narrowly, on their way to a 9-5 win. After being shutout through the first six innings, the Reds put some pressure on the Cubs by scoring four in the seventh inning and loading the bases in the ninth, but Koji Uehara came in to shut them down and earn his first save of the year. The win gives the Cubs their first series sweep of the year. Kris Bryant also had crushed a solo homer to center field early in the game.
Jon Lester (2-2, 3.57 ERA) earned the win with a solid performance marred by a couple of runs charged to him after he had left the mound. There were a couple of defensive errors from the Cubs position players notably one by Baez who was obstructed by the second base umpire. The ground ball kicked left after striking the lip of the infield grass and bounced passed him. Lester was able to pitch around it, though, and the Cubs left the inning unscathed. The veteran pitcher also had a RBI sac fly in the game that almost went for a homer.
Cubs rookie Ian Happ continued to rake as he is now batting .353 with a .500 OBP in just five games. Jason Heyward is slated to be back from the disabled list soon and begs the question if Happ will stay in the majors. Skipper Joe Maddon will have to make a decision soon on his crowded outfield situation.
On a lighter subject, Addison Russell leads the league in bat throws per plate appearance. In one at-bat today, Russell let go of the bat during a swing twice in a row nearly hitting Baez in the on-deck circle both times. After the second sling, Baez stepped back inside the dugout for the rest of the at-bat fearing for his well-being.
Tomorrow the Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers for the first contest of a three-game set. Eddie Butler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start against Paolo Espino (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who is making his first ever start in the MLB. Start time is scheduled for 1:20 CDT.