Cubs Sweep Tribe, Return Home for Key Series
The Chicago Cubs made easy work of the Cleveland Indians yet again on Wednesday night, as they were able to claim the series sweep following a 7-2 win.
Kyle Hendricks threw six innings of one-run ball, allowing a total of 7 H, 0 BB, and 5 SO to earn his third win of the season. While Indians starter, Carlos Carrasco showed flashes, his night was ultimately ended short in the middle of the fifth inning, and would finish with a line of 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, and 7 SO.
The series was everything rookie manager David Ross could have hoped for in his return to Progressive Field with the Cubs. Given how [Ross’s] team had been playing, and the Indians entering this series never allowing more than 4 runs in a game, there was a feeling around the ballpark closely resembling the 2016 fall classic which saw the Cubs end a 108-year World Series drought. The Cubs could not have dominated this series more than they did. The Cubs became the first team all season to surpass the 4 run mark against Cleveland, and managed to hang a 7 on the Indians in back-to-back days. Ross had nothing but praise for his guys following their victory Wednesday night, when he told ESPN, “… I’ve got a good team. That’s what it is. We’ve got good players… There is nothing to complain about because the talent’s there, the character’s there, the commitment, the focus, the energy, the work. It’s not easy, especially in the environment we’re dealing with now. I’ve got really good players, man. I just put them in the lineup and I start trying to cheerlead them on. They’re really good.”
Those players showed up once again in big fashion. Anthony Rizzo started the night off for the Cubs in the third inning, with a line drive to the outfield corner that managed to sneak its way over the wall, and net Rizzo his fourth home run of the season. Later on in the fifth, Jason Heyward would stay hot in the form of a bases loaded sac-fly to right field which would bring Rizzo home, and the following at-bat David Bote would manage a sharp line drive up the gap to right field to score both Javier Baez and Ian Happ; increasing the Cubs lead to 4-0. In the bottom of the inning, Jose Ramirez would get his own bases loaded sac-fly RBI opportunity for the Indians that would allow Tyler Naquin to score the only run charged to Hendricks all night.
In the sixth, Kris Bryant would launch his second home run of the season to center field, before the Indians narrowed Chicago’s lead once again in the seventh behind the bat of Francisco Lindor, which would allow Cesar Hernandez to score from second base. The Cubs would do the rest of the scoring from there, as Jason Kipnis’s eighth inning ground rule double allowed Jason Heyward to reach home safely from second, and then Heyward would hit a double of his own in the top of the 9th to plate Ian Happ. Fans should keep their eyes on Jason Heyward, who arguably just had his best series in a Cubs uniform. In the short two games in Cleveland, Heyward went 4-for-6 with 6 RBI, 2 BB, and 0 SO. That’s a great line to see from a guy who has had issues getting on base and bringing home runs in his Cubs tenure.
The Cubs (12-3) now boast a .800 win%, while no other team in the league is even over .700. The Cubs will return home to Wrigley Field tonight for a 7-game home stand featuring four games with the Milwaukee Brewers, and three games with the St. Louis Cardinals, who have not played a game since late July. This home stand could be a huge opportunity for the Cubs to put even more distance between themselves and the rest of the NL Central. The Cubs currently sit in first place, 5.5 games ahead of the second place Cincinnati Reds (8-10). The Reds will play the Pirates and Royals in that same time span.