Montgomery shines as Cubs wallop Bucs
|Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:28 PM- -|
CHICAGO – Coming off a disappointing road trip against the Reds and Phillies, the Cubs needed to start off their homestand with a win. They got that win, 6-1 over the Pirates, and were carried by starting pitcher Mike Montgomery who continues to pitch well in Lester’s usual spot in the rotation.
Montgomery (5-6, 3.29 ERA) is having a great season both from the ‘pen and as a starter. His career ERA is just a bit higher at 3.48, but he has more K/9 and is throwing less pitches per inning now than he was earlier in the year. Tonight, he entered the eighth inning having only thrown 84 pitches. On his 87th pitch, he gave up a home run to Jordy Mercer, the Pirates’ lone run and was relieved for Carl Edwards Jr.
Edwards had a bit of a rough stretch a few weeks ago, but has rebounded nicely and has a 2.25 ERA since August 16th. He walked one and struck out one through one inning of work.
Montgomery also helped out with his bat; singling in the bottom of the fifth and later scoring on Anthony Rizzo’s almost-double-turned-sacrifice-fly. Statcast recorded Montgomery’s exit velocity on the single as 31.7 MPH which is about 8 MPH slower than the average pitching speed of a third grader.
The Cubs’ hitting pecked away at the Pirates staff for most of the night, but piled on in the fifth inning after two throwing errors with the bases loaded. Alex Avila hit an infield single that scored three in a bizarre round of errant throws by the Pirates’ defense.
Javier “El Mago” Baez continues to flash the glove as he made two spectacular plays tonight. His first came in the third inning when he dove into the hole between short and third base, robbing right fielder Jose Osuna of a hit. His second was an unassisted double play when he made another beautiful diving catch and then tagged Mercer after he rounded second.
Wade Davis came in for a non-save situation, and made short work of the middle of the order.
The Milwaukee Brewers were off and so drop back another half game to two and half games back of the Cubs. Chad Kuhl (6-9, 4.52 ERA) will face Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.49 ERA) tomorrow at 7:05 PM CDT.