The 2021 Chicago Cubs took their second series victory this week, as they welcomed the streaking New York Mets to Wrigley Field, and then swept them out of Wrigley Field. Although their offense has been abysmal before this week, the bats exploded for 16 runs on Wednesday night. Following series losses to the Pirates, Brewers, and Braves, the 2021 Chicago Cubs pulled off their first series sweep of the season.
2021 Chicago Cubs Sweep the Mets: Game 1
In game one on Tuesday night, the Cubs took an early lead on a J.D. Davis throwing error in the bottom of the third, then added another run in the fourth. Entering the series, the Cubs" 2-3-4 hitters, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant had all been heating up, but they went a combined 1-10 on Tuesday.
The bottom of the order produced well, with Eric Sogard going 2-for-3 with two runs, a walk, and an RBI out of the 8 spot. Taijuan Walker looked look a tough matchup on paper, due to his increased fastball velocity, but he struggled to find the zone, walking six batters in just 3.2 innings.
Jake Arrieta started game one, and he went five innings while surrendering just one earned run on three hits, and three walks. Arrieta threw 88 pitches, 53 for strikes, and struck out four, while earning his third victory of the season. Arrieta said he had a tough time locating his curveball, so he used more changeups (13) than he had in his previous three starts (7).
He threw mostly sinkers, generating five whiffs with his primary pitch. He finished the night with a respectable 32% CSW% (called strike + whiff %). In relief, Rex Brothers, Brandon Workman, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel all worked scoreless outings, while Kimbrel recorded his fourth save of the season.
2021 Chicago Cubs Sweep the Mets: Game 2
Game two saw the 2021 Chicago Cubs" biggest offensive outburst of year and their biggest since September 13th and September 15th, 2019 against the Pirates when they scored 17 and 16 runs respectively. Despite falling behind 1-0 early on Francisco Lindor‘s first home run as a Met, the Cubs stormed back with a seven-run frame in the fourth, and never looked back. There was only one home run hit by Chicago, who had been relying on the home run at a historical rate up to that point.
Each starting position player got at least one hit, led by Matt Duffy‘s 3-for-4 night and Javier Baez‘s massive grand slam to break the game open in the bottom of the 6th. Ironically, all six of the highest exit velocities were hit by New York, but the Cubs came out with 16 runs and a victory.
On the pitching side, Zach Davies got the nod to start, and he struggled to find his control as he was hit hard by the Mets. Lindor"s homer was the first given up to a LHH on his change-up since August 2, 2020. Davies finished the night with 4.0 innings pitched, five hits, two earned runs, and just two strikeouts. Davies threw primarily sinkers and change-ups, as he normally does. He generated just four total whiffs on the night, with a mere 15% whiff%, and 24% CSW% (per Baseball Savant).
Davies may have only given up two runs, but his start was unimpressive, as were his previous two. Alec Mills was great in relief, throwing three shutout innings and recording the win. Although Mills also only had an 18% whiff%, he had a 30% CSW%, and only gave up an average exit velocity of 85.5 MPH.
2021 Chicago Cubs Sweep the Mets: Game 3
In game three, the Cubs scored three early runs on a Willson Contreras RBI single and a two-run Kris Bryant double that *barely* stayed in the yard. The Cubs would then be held scoreless until the 10th inning, when Jason Heyward, pinch-hitting for Dan Winkler, hit a scorching walk-off single with the bases loaded that made its way through the hole between Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
Ian Happ, once again, hit the ball hard (100.3 and 104.0 MPH EVs), but both resulted in outs. In the bottom of the 8th, Jake Marisnick hit a leadoff triple, but the Cubs weren"t able to knock him in. Nico Hoerner made his debut for the 2021 Chicago Cubs, who lost Joc Pederson to an injury as he was placed on the IL.
Trevor Williams took the mound in the series finale, pitching 5 innings of two run ball while striking out six. He left in line for the win, but Ryan Tepera blew the save in the 7th on a J.D. Davis double that also barely stayed in the park. Pete Alonso hit his 2nd two-run homer in as many days, but the Cubs were able to limit the damage despite giving up a lot of hard contact. Williams generated 14 whiffs and had a 29% CSW%, but he gave up an average exit velocity of 96.9 MPH.
Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel were absolutely terrific in relief, and although Dan Winkler had control issues, he was able to force a double play from Dominic Smith to remain tied in the top of the 10th. He would be credited with the win, as the 2021 Chicago Cubs would sweep a team for the first time this season.
2021 Chicago Cubs: Looking Forward
Kyle Hendricks takes the mound tomorrow, against Brett Anderson at 1:20 PM CST at Wrigley Field. Adbert Alzolay is expected to be called back up and make a start on Saturday, and Jake Arrieta is the probable starter for Sunday"s series finale for the 2021 Chicago Cubs.
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