First and foremost we would like to thank everyone who was able to for joining CubsChat.com and chicagostylesports.com in the inaugural viewing party where we live streamed the Cubs and Braves in our combined facebook group. We feel it was a resounding success and will only continue to improve.
If you were not able to make it then please join us today for the Cubs vs Braves at 2:20. Blackouts be damned! We will unite and watch Cubs baseball together on our digital couch.
Now on to the game.
The early innings didn’t bring too much for either squad as Lester would get started early, striking out 4 in the first 2 innings and the Cubs would be held hitless into the 5th.
The scoring got started in the 4th when Freddie Freeman took a 3-0 pitch into the bleachers to give the Braves the early 1-0 lead. Lester would settle back in after that until the 7th.
Grandpa Ross would drive in Javier Baez in the 5th to tie it up at 1.
It would stay that way until the 8th inning before the Chicago Cubs would blow it open, but it was the 7th inning that would give us our first:
#WTFMOMENT of the Game
In the 7th inning Lester would get into a little trouble. With two on and no outs, he would get a grounder back to the mound. Where we find our first ever- WTF?!?! Moment of the Game:
Seriously?! Now I LOVE Lester. He was unfairly criticized by some Cubs fans last season as he was still a top 14 pitcher in baseball even while appearing uncomfortable at times. However, Can we find the sports psychiatrist version of Robin Williams character in Good Will Hunting to work some movie magic on Lester? His mental fear of throwing to first base is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in any sport.
Fortunately, he doesn’t have the unnatural fear when throwing to the Catcher and would have pinpoint accuracy as he struck out the next 2 batters up before inducing a ground out to Rizzo to end the threat.
We would stay tied at one a piece until the 8th when the Cubs would open the floodgates.
La Stella would start the bottom of the 8th with yet another clutch hit off the bench in the form of a lead off double. Fowler tried to move him along with a bunt, but the Braves would get La Stella at 3rd on a very close play for the first out.
Heyward would walk next followed by a Zobrist single and with the bases loaded, Rizzo would come through.(what else would you expect?)
Then, Matt Szczur would come up for his first at-bat of the game and blow the door wide open with this shot.
Myself and Robert Killen have both gone out and stated on numerous occasions how moving Soler this past offseason made a ton of sense. Now, we both like Soler and believe in his enormous potential, but the acquisition of Heyward mixed with Soler’s liability on the defensive side of the ball made a ton of sense for the Cubs to utilize that potential to hedge against the potential of losing Arrieta after next season by getting a front-line cost-controlled pitcher. The surplus of corner outfielders at all levels of the minor leagues made it all the more reasonable.
We caught a lot flack.
That said, the early play of Szczur when he is in, mixed with the top-of-the-league defense when the Cubs have Baez at 3rd and Bryant in LF provides even more reason why the Cubs can afford to move Soler. The problem now is that his play may have diminished his value a bit so you hope he can get hot leading up to the deadline. Regardless of how you project Soler (and I believe he will end up being a well-above average offensive player) he is an expendable asset at this point and the Cubs front office will no doubt be looking to hedge against Arrieta’s free agency. A move involving him seems to be more of a matter of when, not if.
Hector Rondon would come on to get a 1,2,3 9th inning to close it out. So now the Cubs sit as the only team in baseball with 17 wins. They increased their run differential on the season to +79. In case you’re keeping track, that is 35 MORE THAN the next closest team and pacing for a record-destroying number of +582. Some people may tell you run differential means little; they’re wrong. It is a great way to quickly identify who the most complete teams are in baseball as more data comes in throughout the season. Obviously, a team that has an offense that is capable of scoring a ton of runs while having pitching and defense that keeps the opposition to a low total is the most complete team. If that translates in October is what will remain to be seen.
So again, we would like to thank you for joining our stream in the Live Streaming group and look forward to seeing you again today. As great as it is to be able to utilize that service to circumvent certain restrictions for viewers, the most enjoyable aspect is the ability to have the engagement going on throughout the game.
With that, please let us know some items you would like to see throughout the game. We are working on putting together some pre-game streaming and between-innings #hottakes. Additionally, each recap will be filled with a #WTFMOMENT?!?!? During the broadcast place your votes for the #WTFMOMENT of the game and see if that’s what takes the cake in the recap.
For now, we leave you with Matt Szczur’s interview following yesterday’s game that you can see here.
See you at gametime!
Also Posted on chicagostylesports.com