Well that was a nail biter. Last night the Cubs beat the Cardinals 6-5 and as Starlin Castro breathed a sigh of relief at the final out, every fan in Cubs nation let out their breaths as well.
The good news in all of this is first, the Cubs claw their way closer to the Cardinals in the standings and Jon Lester collected his second win in a row as management breathed a sigh.
“He keeps making positive strides and steps, and that’s good for us,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Positive strides indeed. The Cubs put the brakes on a four game losing skid while halting the Cardinals eight game winning streak. The two teams do battle in an afternoon game today at 1:45 eastern.
Another great positive has been the lead by example play of Anthony Rizzo, who crushed a solo home run adding to his total of five on the season.
“He’s just really good right now,” Maddon said of Rizzo. “I think he’s one of the top five best at-bats in all of baseball, if you want to look at it that way. At-bat per at-bat, this guy is engaged in every pitch, every pitch. He doesn’t give anything away at any time.
It’s tough for pitchers to get to him because of his size and he crowds the plate and that’s no fault of his own.
“It’s something where you want to put the ball in play and good things happen with two strikes,” Rizzo said. “That’s what I try to do, not do too much”
It’s those little things that are paying big dividends. The heart of the Cubs order is a scary one. There has to be a nickname for Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Addison Russell and we’ll throw Starlin Castro in there too.
“The Wild Bunch” I don’t know, if anyone has an idea, let me know and chime in.
As for the rivalry? This year, it’s back in order.
“Any time you go on the road, I don’t think there’s any level of comfort,” Jon Lester said. “It’s a beautiful stadium. It’s one of my favorites, as far as the ones I like to go to. But no, I don’t think any time you go into somebody else’s environment it’s a comfortable situation. You just try to keep the crowd out of it as best you can, because that’s what the Cardinals feed off of.”