What Happened: Man, I hate the Pirates. I've always disliked them, but this year I REALLY hate them. They're a lineup of one awesome outfield and a bunch of scrubs on the infield, and yet somehow they're in the top 3 of nearly every offensive category because they're hitting way over their heads. I keep telling myself that the BABIP Gods will eventually regress them into the ground, but waiting for that to happen is frustrating. Every time Jordy Mercer gets a base hit, I die a little on the inside.
That's why last night's win was such a satisfying one. The Cubs came into last night's game with the best record in baseball, but they really hadn't had too many tests so far. Even the Cardinals are showing definite signs of concern. So going on the road and laying the smackdown to the Pirates against their ace was immensely satisfying. As the broken record of the 2016 Cubs always says, we did it by making their starter throw 100+ pitches in only 5 innings of work and feasted on the sweet, sweet underbelly of the Pirates bullpen.
Game MVP: This is a tough one. On one hand, Jason Hammel held one of the more productive lineups in baseball to just 2 runs in 5 innings of work. He might have been able to go longer, but Joe wanted to go to the bullpen and everything worked out beautifully, with the pen delivering 4 innings of shutout ball. Also, Dexter Fowler added 72 more hits to his total for the year. So let's split the game MVP between all of them. It's like the '3 Stars' thing in hockey.
Game LVP: I have no doubts that Gerrit Cole is a good pitcher, but man, you gotta step up in these big games dude. With Arrieta going tonight and Lester tomorrow, last night's game was probably the best chance at a win that the Pirates had on paper. That makes 2 Pretty Important Games in a row that Cole has pitched against the Cubs and not gotten the job done. If the Cubs could set up shop inside his head and just stay there for the rest of the time that Cole is a Pirate, that would be just fine by me.
But none of that matters because...
HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS WE'RE BACK WITH ANOTHER THUNDERWATCH!
YES!!!! For the first time in almost a decade, the Cubs are on RED (get it?) ALERT because a stormfront of THUNDER may be making its way to Chicago.
That's right...THUNDER MATT MAY BE ON HIS WAY BACK!
WOOOOOO!Matt Murton maybe just got called up?? At the I-Cubs game & he left w/ bats & a team rep. Didn't look hurt #Cubs #iowacubs #mattmurton— Jonathan Martz (@jbmartz13) May 3, 2016
If Murton is on his way up, I would think that means that Szczur may be a bit more banged up than first thought. If he's going to need 3-4 days off, it makes sense to bring up an OF for depth. And the bullpen is so rested that we could afford to send down a RP to make space until Szczur is well enough to play again.
This was going to be a really tough week regardless, with 3 games against the Pirates and 4 against the Nationals coming up, but having the Ginger Thunder around the clubhouse can only help matters.
"YOU ARE NEXT" (brought to you by TMS Correspondent Chong Li):
Game two against the Pirates kicks off at 6:05 CST with NL Pitcher of the Month Jake Arrieta squaring off with Jon Niese. Expect Anthony Rizzo to homer.