April 5: Lester Shines as Cubs Sweep Angels

Booyah. What a start to the season. 2 games 2 wins, and I am feelin’ good. Last night we got out of Jon Lester what we expect to get out of Jon Lester, and our offense did just what it was supposed to do as well.

Lester threw 7 innings of 4 hit ball, allowing only one run to score, while striking out 4 batters. Most impressive was Lester’s ability to get outs with runners in scoring position, holding the Angels to a 1-4 night with RISP. All in all, it was a great follow up performance behind Arrieta’s opener, and should give us all some confidence moving forward.

The bullpen was once again stellar, allowing no baserunners and closing the game out with ease against the very dangerous middle of the Angels order (even though Mike Trout has now slid to 0-8 on the year).

Offensively, we can’t ask for much more. It all started with a solo shot off the bat of Matt Szczur (who looks to be seeing the ball very well) in the 3rd. Next, we played a little small ball, with Ross being pushed around to score after a double, thanks to an infield hit by Fowler and Heyward grounding into a fielder’s choice. Later in the inning, with 2 away, Anthony Rizzo would send one out to tack on two more. Then, in the 7th, Dexter Fowler destroyed a pitch up in the zone, sending it over the left field wall to extend the lead again by 2. Here are some highlights from the win:

The only negatives on the evening were the 0-4s put up by Heyward, Soler, and Russell, though Heyward did drive in a run via fielder’s choice.

Soler appears to be struggling to be struggling, and with Szczur surging, there could be legitimate discussions about sending him to Iowa once Javy Baez comes off the DL. That will certainly be something to monitor over the coming days.

Defensively, everything went just fine, with the exception of an error by Kris Bryant on a pretty routine bouncer between 3rd and short. From the couch, it looked like KB was a little bit overly aggressive, and sort of got handcuffed as he charged the ball a little too quickly. There was also a strange play at 2nd as Escobar stretched a relatively shallow ball down the right field line into a double. Heyward cut the ball off quickly and made an absolutely perfect throw to Addison Russell covering 2nd, but it appeared Russell lost control of the ball and was unable to get the tag down, even though the throw had clearly beaten the runner. Escobar would go on to score the Angels only run on a single later in the inning by Gentry.

All things considered, this was another dominant performance across the board for the Cubbies. The type of performance we hope to see another 100 or so times this season.

Cubs are off today, traveling to Arizona where they start a four game set against the Diamondbacks on Thursday.

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