Today, baseball saw one of its most storied rivalries renewed, as the Chicago Cubs started a three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The newest chapter of this rivalry began with a Cubs win, as they beat the Cardinals 7-0. There were many reasons why the Cubs won this game, and appeared to do so with ease.
One of the main reasons was the performance of their starting pitcher. Jake Arrieta threw seven strong innings, striking out seven batters and surrendering just two hits (both of them to Carlos Beltran). It was his second start for the Chicago Cubs since being acquired from Baltimore in the Scott Feldman deal.
Another reason why the Cubs won today was the fact that their bullpen didn’t give up any runs. No, that is not a typo. James Russell and Blake Parker combined to allow just one base runner in the last two innings on a walk by Parker. No hits, and no runs scored. Something that we haven’t seen a whole lot of from the Cubs’ bullpen this season.
The last reason why the Cubs beat the Cards today is definitely not the least – they scored runs. The offense showed up early, scoring three runs in the first inning thanks to RBI singles by Nate Schierholtz and Donnie Murphy. They scored four more runs in the game, including an RBI double by second baseman Darwin Barney in the sixth inning.
A lot of things went right for the Cubs today. They showed a lot of plate discipline in the first inning, with their first three batters of the game taking walks (two of them on full counts). They also made Jake Westbrook throw a lot of pitches, including 30 total pitches in the first. Donnie Murphy continued his hot hitting since being called up. He got two hits, drove in a run, and reached base in all four of his plate appearances.
The Cubs also got a great performance from Jake Arrieta. In seven starts at Triple-A Iowa he posted a 3.56 ERA with a K/9 ratio of 11.6, and gave up just one run in six innings of work in his first start for the Chicago Cubs back on July 30. Arrieta will have a chance to audition for next year’s starting rotation, as he will stay in the rotation for the rest of the year. He took the rotation spot of Carlos Villanueva, who has been moved back to the bullpen. Villanueva hasn’t had a win as a starter since April 18th against Texas, and his only other win came in Seattle on June 29th.