Three Observations from Cubs’ series win over the Red Sox at ‘Stock Standard’ Wrigley Field
The Cubs won their third straight series, taking 2 of 3 from the Red Sox at Wrigley Field. Here’s three observations after the finale against Boston where the Cubs fell 4-2 in 11 innings.
1. Wrigley proves to be anything but “stock standard”
Red Sox pitcher Josh Winckowski — who started Saturday night’s game — ruffled some feathers with Cubs fans Saturday night after the loss. He told reporters that the atmosphere at Wrigley Field was “a little underwhelming.” Winckowski called the historic place “very stock standard”. The ambiance at Wrigley Field this weekend was anything but “stock standard”. Over 115,000 fans packed the Friendly Confines for the 3-game series, with Saturday and Sunday each having a crowd over 40,000. Saturday was one of those classic, summer nights at Wrigley with beautiful weather, an action-packed game and a Cubs win that was capped off with most of the 40,298-faithful singing “Go Cubs Go” after the final out and clapping along to the rhythmic tune that’s become synonymous with a victory for the home team. Sunday was just as electric, with the Cubs mounting an 8th inning rally, putting the winning run on base in the 9th with two outs and the crowd on their feet hoping to spur the Cubs on towards a win.
So how does it compare to the other historic park Winckowski calls home?
“My experience in both ballparks is pretty amazing,” Ross, who has played in both, said on Sunday. “I don’t know his life experiences, but I appreciate this place a lot. I’ve got a lot of history here and this is one of the best I’ve ever been around.”
Josh Winckowski on Wrigley Field:— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 3, 2022
“A little underwhelming. Fenway has a presence to it. I really didn’t get that here, to be honest. I said to my mom last night, this place is very stock standard.”
2. Adrian Sampson and Mark Leiter Jr. turned in pivotal outings for Cubs pitching staff
Heading into the weekend series, the Cubs had their rotation lined up as Sampson, Alec Mills and Keegan Thompson. If you had told David Ross how the first two starts would begin, he probably would have been a bit worried about the outcomes of the game. Sampson allowed a home run on the first pitch of the game and then surrendered 3 runs in the 2nd inning. But, boy, did he settle in after that, pitching 5.1 innings and striking out 4. The Cubs rallied to win the game and Sampson’s ability to go deep into the game after a rocky start was key as it allowed the Cubs to stay in the game and allowed Ross to turn over to his high-leverage arms at the end to seal the win.
Mills’ outing lasted just 7 pitches and 0.1 innings when he suffered back pain that would eventually land him on the IL. Leiter Jr. turned in a gem in relief, pitching 5.1 innings, striking out 8 and allowing just 1 run as the Cubs won their second straight game over the Red Sox. Leiter, too, saved the bullpen, going deep into the game before turning it over to Mychal Givens and David Robertson to seal the win.
3. The Cubs showed their balance on offense
The Cubs showed some small ball in the second game of the series. Against Winckowski — a contact-first pitcher — the Cubs knew there weren’t going to be too many scoring opportunities or chances for home runs with little to no wind at the Friendly Confines. So, when Patrick Wisdom singled to lead off the 2nd inning, Ross had Nico Hoerner lay down a bunt to advance Wisdom. Hoerner reached on the bunt and Wisdom scored when Winckowski threw the ball out of play, missing his first baseman Franchy Cordero. Hoerner came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Narciso Crook.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 8th inning, the Cubs again showed some small ball. Willson Contreras singled and Ross turned to Nelson Velázquez to pinch run. Velázquez stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Wisdom hit a screaming single to left field that drove in Velázquez and gave the Cubs some cushion.
They showed they could score with the long ball, too. Wisdom tied the game at 2 on Sunday with a 450-foot, no-doubt home run to left-center field.
The Cubs showed they can generate offense and not always have to rely on the big knock to win a ball game.