The Chicago Cubs took a trip over to Cincinnati this week and walked away winning two of three games against arguably the NL Central favorite. In this season where every game and series carries heightened importance, Cubs fans will gladly take this result every single series.
- Monday, July 27th: Cubs 8, Reds 7
- Tuesday, July 28th: Cubs 8, Reds 5
- Wednesday, July 29th: Reds 12, Cubs 7
- Thursday, July 30th: Postponed
That being said, here at On Tap Sports Net, we plan on providing a recap after each and every Cubs series from here on out. The goal of this series is to provide a little bit of analysis but a lot of what we are seeing with our own eyes watching the Chicago Cubs every day.
This unit will be carrying the Cubs this season. Let me tell you, folks, these bats are electric. Here at On Tap Sports Net, we are BIG fans of the DH in the National League. When the Cubs play their best nine, there are virtually zero holes in the lineup. There were some big questions going into the season — who will step up to play centerfield and can Nico Hoerner handle a full-time gig at second base? After two series, the Cubs have found their answer to both of those questions.
Nico Hoerner was built in a lab to play baseball. Not to mention, he is someone who I would be proud to one day give permission to marry my daughter. He finished the series with four hits, four RBIs and two runs. He should be starting at second base every single day.
The same can be said about Ian Happ. That man deserves a permanent spot in centerfield. While his stats from this trip may not show it, Ian Happ is putting the barrel on the baseball. In 2020, he has an exit velocity of 95.6 MPH and a hard hit rate of 66.7%. To put that in perspective, his career average for both of those stats is 89.5 MPH and 40.2%, respectively. The hits are going to come for Mr. Happ.
Other than those two, it was the usual suspects doing their damage. Javy had himself a two-home run game while sporting an even bigger chain than usual.
The Captain, Anthony Rizzo, helped himself to a home run to add to his team lead.
David Bote went bananas with five hits, two home runs, and a series-leading five RBIs for the Cubs.
On a more somber note, the 2016 NL MVP continues to struggle. Kris Bryant went 1-8 this series with four strikeouts. It is encouraging to see the Cubs offense continue to flourish even without contributions from their best player, but Cubs fans would prefer if KB turned it around sooner rather than later.
How about the southpaw?! Big Jon Lester came out slinging with a five-inning, no-hit start to kick off his 15th MLB season. It's always good to see the veteran continuing to grind as the media awaits his steep decline.
Alec Mills also came out and proved worthy of a starting role. He pitched six innings of two-hit baseball while earning a win in Cincy. If he can continue to be a viable starter, Jose Quintana can help the reeling bullpen when he rejoins the Cubs.
Speaking of the reeling bullpen, what a joke. I am not even going to look into the statistics of the bullpen, just know it was horrendous. Dillon Maples has already been sent down and he should stay there indefinitely. It is nice to have nasty stuff but it literally means nothing if you can't get it over the plate. Craig Kimbrel has looked absolutely terrible, so who knows how he will be used moving forward. It is tough to see a once-dominant closer also have no idea where the ball is going when it comes out of his hand.
The bullpen should be a revolving door until some dependable arms settle in. This should be no surprise to the front office, as this was a weak spot on this team that was not addressed whatsoever during the extended offseason. It is on Theo and Company to continue to figure out what works or else this season will eventually be blown by this cast of characters.
From a Reds perspective, Sonny Gray is unbelievable. He outdueled Kyle Hendricks and completely silenced the powerful Cubs' offense. The Cubs were set to face Luis Castillo in the series finale but thankfully mother nature had other ideas. The fewer at-bats against Castillo the better for the Chicago Cubs.
Nicholas Castellanos is no longer on the Chicago Cubs and for that reason we are sad. That is all that will be said on that topic.
This is a battle I will continue to fight until justice is served. During the first homestand, it was near 100 degrees in Chicago and Len and JD were forced to wear suits during the broadcast. I figured it was the Opening Series and maybe Marquee wanted to look dapper for their first regular-season broadcasts. Nope, Len and JD were forced to wear suits while remotely calling the Cincinnati series!
Join us in this fight, every time you watch the Cubs on Marquee this season please tweet #FreeLenAndJD. These two living legends have worked too hard to be forced to put on a suit like a banker at your local Chase branch.
This weekend, the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates head to the Friendly Confines. The Cubs will have Yu Darvish on the bump tonight in hopes that he has a much more successful start than his 2020 MLB debut. Hopefully the Cubs can continue this series winning streak and take the NL Central by storm.
- Friday, July 31st - 7:15 PM CDT: Trevor Williams vs. Yu Darvish
- Saturday, August 1st - 7:15 PM CDT: Mitch Keller vs. Tyler Chatwood
- Sunday, August 2nd - 1:20 PM CDT: TBD vs. Jon Lester
For postgame reactions, be sure to tune in to the Cubs On Tap podcast on all major platforms.